Chamisa, bashing Zec is self-defeating

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Letters to the editor

YOUR story in yesterday’s edition of NewsDay headlined Zec dares Chamisa refers.

While I support Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa, I am afraid such claims are self-defeating.

Why is it that when the opposition wins in towns it does not claim vote rigging?

Yes, I am very aware of the 2008 case, but for the opposition to always blame the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) even for its failure will only discourage people from registering to vote and voting.

I have heard many people saying it is useless to vote in Zimbabwe because elections are always stolen.

The people who discredit Zec are opposition members themselves, but they go about asking people to vote which doesn’t make sense.

If they have issues with Zec they must engage the electoral management body professionally not at political rallies.

Most opposition supporters are not registered voters.

Those who are registered do not turn up to vote on the election day.

Should we blame Zec for that? No!

The opposition must mobilise it supporters to go and register to vote and cast their ballot on the election day. This is where elections are won or lost – Mark Beach

More needs to be done to achieve gender equality

INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated annually on  March 8 offers an opportunity to reflect on progress made with regards to gender equality,  call for change and  celebrate acts of courage and determination by women who have played extraordinary roles in the history and development of their countries and communities.

Veritas joins all those who have chosen to contribute and lead the charge on climate change, adaption, mitigation and respond to building a more sustainable future for all under the theme #Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.  The day has been celebrated for over 100 years now in different countries and in 1975, the United Nations officially marked it as IWD.

Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow

This year’s theme advances gender equality in the context of climate crisis and disaster reduction in the 21st century. The theme highlights that girls and women are effective and powerful leaders and change makers for climate adaption and mitigation who are involved in sustainability initiatives around the globe.

Gender equality and climate change

Zimbabwe committed itself to gender and climate justice through ratification of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (2015) and the African Union Agenda 2063 which among other goals seeks to achieve enjoyment of equal opportunity between men and women as well as respond to the growing threats of climate change while ensuring the burden and gains are equitably shared.

Zimbabwean women face challenges due to lack of comprehensive gender-responsive budgeting that addresses basic needs of climate change. Food security, access to clean water and shelter from extreme weather changes remain pertinent challenges of climate change.

About 70% of the world’s poor are women. Restricted land rights, lack of access to financial resources, training and technology, and limited access to political decision-making spheres often prevent them from playing a full role in tackling climate change and other environmental challenges.

Financing climate justice must be gender-responsive due to its ability to promote climate justice efforts while promoting gender equality. According to the UNDP (2014) only 0,01% of global funding supports climate justice and women’s rights.

Gender-responsive financing for climate justice ensures that the needs of both men and women are equitably addressed and efficiency can be derived from ensuring that clear policies, monitoring and reporting mechanisms are in place so as to track the efficiency of the financing strategies.

Current legal position in Zimbabwe

The government signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 and over the years has made efforts to domesticate this convention notwithstanding the absence of a specific law on climate change. The inclusion of environmental rights in the 2013 Constitution set the foundation for crafting laws addressing climate change.

Citizens are rightfully exercising this right and the court has also ruled that what is important to highlight is that the Constitution gives every Zimbabwean the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations.

The constitutional inclusion not only ensures protection, but it places environmental issues at the same level of concern as other human rights. Currently, the main climate change legislation in Zimbabwe includes the Constitution, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority Act [Chapter 13:23], the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27], the Electricity Act [Chapter 13:19] and the Forest Act [Chapter 19:05].

Conclusion

Advancing gender equality in the context of climate crisis and disaster reduction is one of the greatest challenges of 13:19 century. The issues of climate change and sustainability have and will continue to have severe impacts on women and girls. –Veritas

Our hands are clean: Team Pachedu

WE would like to put it on record that Team Pachedu has, indeed, submitted our concerns to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and it has not responded.

We have also personally sent it requests for various information which it has ignored. (We had asked for a full list of candidates from the January 26 nomination court, as well as a full list of accredited observers for the March 26 by-elections). Zec has not responded to our request.

Team Pachedu has taken care to censor as much information identifying voters as possible in tweets to protect the identities of voters.

This also puts us in a difficult position where the general public cannot verify some of our claims for themselves on the Zec BVR site because we block names and ID numbers as much as possible, while still trying to prove our point.

For the commission to say we are publishing our findings without seeking clarification is false. As stated above, we have written to Zec and it did not respond.

Zec chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana is trying to deceive the public when he says: “The commission has a duty to protect voters’ information which they supplied in confidence”.

There is no such provision in the Electoral Act and voters should be aware that any detail supplied to Zec is available in the public domain since the voters roll is a public document that anyone is entitled to access and inspect.

Zec’s claim that it is only accountable to Parliament is also false. The Electoral Act requires Zec to keep voters and the general public informed.

One such way to do that is to gazette any changes it makes to the voters roll which have not expressly been requested by the voter.

Zec has never gazetted a list of the changes it made.

It is also regrettable that Zec continues to disown its own voters roll. All the anomalies we are picking in what Zec claims to be a fake, tampered with roll, are reflected on its own BVR inspection site. Does that mean it is also using a fake voters roll on its
website?

We would also like to correct an error which you have made in your articles when quoting the 170 000 addresses which have been edited.

By “edited”, we mean that the address has been changed in some way — sometimes a suburb which was missing has been added, sometimes a spelling error was corrected. Some of these edits are genuine corrections, while others are not. –Team Pachedu