Authorities should ensure safe electoral environment

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ELECTION monitoring and observation are not the magic bullets for all electoral integrity challenges, but are, however, very important tools because they instill public trust and confidence in the electoral process.

There are deficits in the legal and administrative frameworks for election observation.

Election monitoring was always a common methodology in Zimbabwe before 2000, and this shifted to observation after 2000.

This resulted in changes with observers now having to be invited, and other legislation that brought about restrictions which interfered with the election observation processes.

Over the years, Zimbabwe has progressed in terms of laws, but the practice remains problematic.

Inasmuch as election observation impacts on the integrity of the elections, the integrity of electoral management bodies (EMBs) is usually the main source of electoral problems.

There is need to enhance the integrity of the commissions. Among other things, there is need to change the procedure for the appointment of commissioners.

However, many of the EMBs in the Sadc region have fared quite well, whereby integrity of the electoral process reduces conflict in elections because of the trust that is built in the commissions.

That being said, Zimbabwe has a tendency of slow acceptance of election observer missions reports and recommendations, which has resulted in piecemeal electoral reforms over the years, which  undermines the effectiveness of election observation efforts.

There is need for Zimbabwe to ensure the alignment of the legal framework to the Constitution, to strengthen the legal framework as a way of reducing electoral conflict.

Stakeholders such as the police and other security officials need to be independent and professional in their duties.

Electoral stakeholders have been found wanting by failing to uphold the fundamentals of electoral integrity by not performing their duties transparently and efficiently.

The production of reports is a crucial element of the work of observers and, as such, observer missions should pay particular attention to ensuring that all information is accurate, objective and substantiated with concrete evidence.

There is need for equal participation of all political actors in electoral processes and the need to ensure that all important institutions such as the EMB and the Judiciary are not captured by the State.

Also, authorities should ensure the security of observers, who should be treated like any other human rights defenders because their work is that of defending democracy.

There is need for a close collaboration between international observers and local observer groups since the two interface and share vital information.

There is also need for solidarity among countries across Africa on issues of electoral integrity.

Stakeholders should ensure an environment that is safe and conducive for local and international observers and monitors.

Lack of effective implementation of laws and regulations that protect observers and monitors, throughout the region, are a setback, which leads to the need to build confidence in electoral institutions.Zesn

Dialogue key to tourism sector development

THERE is need for dialogue among key players in the tourism sector if they are to resolve challenges they face in the industry.

Tourism can only see a positive turnaround if parties involved are given an opportunity to make recommendations on the best practices the sector could adopt.

Together, we can resolve challenges around conservation and management of tourism resources.

Posterity will judge us harshly if we fail to conserve the very resource that sustains tourism.

The forthcoming African Union mid-year summit should present a chance for countries to showcase its unique capabilities.

Governments should be keen to enter into partnerships with the private sector and local communities to embrace all players along the value chain.

Communities, who are custodians of these resources, are key to these partnerships and the agenda on conservation.

They need to be integrated into the tourism value chain for them to appreciate the benefit of conserving and protecting these resources.

Southern Africa has a lot to offer and stakeholders have tried to identify a couple of key areas they could work together on to develop tourism.

The primary reason for this function is to promote, in this new dawn, an era of improved dialogue and interaction between governments and the private sector, with meaningful outcomes that should include an improved tourism landscape, better protected and sustained
wildlife.

We are convinced that the region’s wildlife and wild places are in safer hands now than the have been for a very long time.

There should be positive actions which will benefit the sector.Environmentalist

African youths should get more involved in agriculture

LACK of youth involvement in agriculture is inhibiting the sector’s growth.

It is sad that young people in sub-Saharan Africa often view agriculture as inefficient and uninteresting.

This has led to a situation where the average age of Africa’s farmers is 60, while the median age of the population is 19.

Young people aspire to formal sector employment and modern urban lifestyles.

They do not consider agriculture as a future in part because of a lack of access to inputs and land.

Improved public policies, role models and better support for farmers regarding inputs and market access would make the sector more appealing to the young people.

Parents are also to blame as they express the desire for their children to live a life better than their own, pushing them to get government jobs.

Government jobs are usually found to be the most desirable for their stability. The trouble is that there are only so many.

According to the United Nations, access to information, lack of credit and negative perceptions around farming are the leading reasons African young people leave farming at such alarming rates.

World Bank data also found that youths account for 60% of unemployed persons.

With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world.

By 2050, sub-Saharan Africa will be home to a third of the world’s young people, who will play a key part in feeding future generations.

Young people are usually not interested in this field of work due to their perception of farming being antiquated and unprofitable.

The image of agriculture traditionally has been more about subsistence; you produce enough for yourself to eat. It is not seen as a business.

The agriculture that attracts the youth will have to be profitable, competitive and dynamic.

These are the characteristics needed for agriculture to deliver growth, improve food security and preserve a fragile natural environment.

Millions of Africans continue to face severe drought that has been exacerbated by the rising food prices.

This has been made even worse by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Following reports that Russia is raiding grain in Ukraine, the United States government has sent out a warning against 14 countries, mainly from Africa, against buying grain from Russia on the grounds that it had been stolen from Ukraine.The Exchange