Japan Gives ZESN US$110 700 For Election Education

The donation comes barely two weeks after it gave the Government of National Unity (GNU) $237 900 for various rural projects.

The Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yonezo Kukuda and the National Director of ZESN, Chipfunde-Vava signed an agreement for the release of the funds.

The money was given at a time when all the political parties are gearing up for the watershed event which could be held anytime this year.

Both top candidates, President Robert Mugabe of the former ruling party, Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T say they are ready but ZESN as well as many other observers point out that they should not be held because the voters roll is still in shambles and there is no cash to sponsor the important event.

The Japanese grant is to be used for the promotion of electoral education.

It focuses on the fundamentals of enhancing democratic processes such as the secrecy of the ballot, voters’ rights, freedoms and responsibilities before, during and after the election.

There will be a public outreach component which will provide the production and distribution of information, education and communication material such as posters, stickers, T shirts, caps, flyers and billboards.

Community based training will also play an integral part, the Ambassador said.

He said election education manuals would be produced and trainers would educate and mobilise the electorate in all the 210 constituencies in Zimbabwe.

Targeted audiences would include, inter alia, political parties, youth groups, students, women, traditional and community leaders and marginalised rural voters.

Fukuda noted that this undertaking required not only huge financial resources, but commitment and dedication on behalf of ZESN.

“We fully support your efforts to ensure that the democratic process in Zimbabwe proceed smoothly,” Fukuda said.

“We highly admire and respect the work you are undertaking and this grant is in recognition of this.

“Other donors have made contributions to your organisation to realise your noble objectives and we are pleased to play our part.

“We are fully committed to not only the socio-economic development in Zimbabwe, but also to the enhancement of the democratic process. We wish you every success for the successful implementation of this project.”

Chipfunde-Vava reiterated the fact that the election process in Zimbabwe was still flawed and needed to be revamped for it to be a success this year.

She also said the voters roll was still in a shambles and that Zimbabwe was not ready to hold the watershed event this year, suggesting that it be postponed until such a time when the nation was ready.

Last week Fukuda gave $78 700 for the commissioning of the “Project for water, sanitation and hygiene.