A citizen registers to vote on the Biometric Voter Registration system. Nearly 5.7 million people registered to vote in the 2018 harmonised election.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Capacity Building (ZIM-ECO) project focuses on an electoral cycle approach (2016-2020) to cover the all the key areas including the legal framework, voter education, voter registration, voting operations etc. The project outputs included Capacity building, assisting ZEC in development of an accurate and credible voter registration system, stakeholder engagement and voter education. After the Mid Term Project Evaluation (Jan 2018), the project expanded to include improvement in polling operations, training of polling staff, police training, media monitoring and procurement of non-sensitive election materials.

EU, Government of Japan and UNDP are funding the project. The EU has recently increased its assistance from $ 6 million to $ 8.78 million. The funding from Government of Japan is $ 1 million. In parallel, the Government of Zimbabwe has provided a contribution of $ 24 million towards the project activities and this has ensured ownership and sustainability.

An Election Support Group (ESG) was also organized by the project under the leadership of the UN RC to coordinate other electoral assistance projects and ensure synergy and complementarity. Several development partners supported initiatives outside the ZIM-ECO project for advocacy efforts, voter education and conducting of domestic observation. The contributions by development partners towards the initiatives by CSOs mobilized through this platform are to the tune of $ 20 million.

The ESG has now been expanded to include International and Domestic Observers participating in the meetings and briefing about the electoral preparations, issues and challenges.

UNDP’s role, through the project ZIM-ECO, is limited to providing technical assistance and capacity building support to ZEC in the areas identified above, based on UNDP’s extensive experience and comparative advantage across the world, to promote a transparent and inclusive electoral process in line with the national electoral legal framework and the country’s international electoral commitments.

UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner meets with the Zimbabwe Election Commission on his visit to Zimbabwe

  1. Biometric Voters Roll: UNDP provided extensive technical and financial support in the development of new Biometric Voter Registration, with ZEC registering a total of 5.69 million voters. The voters roll is representative of the population with youth (aged 19-34) being 44% and women 54% of the registered voter. For the first time searchable and analyzable soft copies of the voter’s roll was provided to political parties, candidates, observers, CSOs and other stakeholders. The BVR process is a major milestone that will improve the transparency and credibility of the process.
  2. Voter Education: Voter Education Campaign for Elections and a Gender Specific Campaigns have been finalized and have been launched in first week of July. It will be for the first time that ZEC will be having a nationwide voter education campaign on such a scale and penetration. The campaign is expected to have an outreach to over 6 million people by using electronic media, printed materials, billboards, road shows, SMS, social media, SMSs and face to face campaigns.
  3. Stakeholder Consultation: ZEC has continued stakeholder consultation process with political parties, CSOs and media, most recently through the Multi Party Liaison Committees (MPLCs) after the completion of the nomination process.
  4. Training of Police Officials: Trainings have started for the police officials and these will be rolled out in the provinces. A technical team of UNDP has been supporting the development of training content and facilitating higher level trainings. The focus of the training is human rights principles, international and regional standards, implementing election provisions, conflict mitigation and gender mainstreaming.  
  5. Media Monitoring: UNDP is providing technical advice to ZEC to develop their media monitoring capacity. After agreement with ZEC a media monitoring unit has been set up and staff has been trained. Reports are being submitted to the ZEC Media Monitoring Committee for taking cognizance of violations, if any, as per the Electoral Act.
  6. Preparations for Polling: One main area of technical support from UNDP is the cascade training of 100,000 polling staff, where a Polling Staff Training Manual and Training Video have been developed and provided to ZEC for the roll out. These are essential tools and focus on using international best practices.
  7. UNDP is providing support for procurement of polling kits for the approximately 11,000 polling stations.

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