The scarcity of fresh water is rapidly becoming a nightmare amongst urban residents in
Zimbabwe, and, Masvingo urban is no exception.1 The current macro and micro economic state
of affairs is offering a direct contradiction to the locally and universally agreed standards about
people’s rights to access safe and adequate water. Access to safe, and adequate water is vividly
enshrined in the constitutions of many international institutions who are the champions and
watchdogs of human security which is fortified by observance of certain human rights and
privileges. As good case here is of the IWA (International Water Association), 2004, who agreed
and set a blue print which emphasized the strong need to accord human beings exclusive rights to
safe and adequate water supply.2 One of their important resolution extracted from their main
Access to good, safe and reliable drinking water is one of the most basic needs of human society
and as such requires integrated approach, close cooperation and partnerships between all
Furthermore, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals,
SDGs), and the Human development Index (HDI), have in their areas of jurisdiction indicated
the strong need to consider availability, accessibility, and affordability of clean and adequate
water supply as a priority in the whole discourse of human security. All these considerations are
emerging against the back drop water scarcity and unaffordability particularly in expansively
expanding urban areas in less economically developed countries. It is against this background that, this position paper offers an insightful state of affairs ongoing in the provision of fresh water in Masvingo urban. It also highlights intriguing ongoing conflicts and contestations amongst the citizens and the responsible authorities in the strive of providing and accessing of the precious water. The paper is presented guided by the following main objectives:
To give a brief background of water supply and its quality in various residential areas Masvingo urban.
To highlight the causes of scarcity of piped water.
To identify how the urban residents are coping up with water scarcity.
To unearth the contestations and conflicts amongst different stake holders who are concerned / involved in the supply of safe water.
To offer recommendations earmarked to improve the supply of safe and affordable water.
Zimbabwe elects 210 members of the National Assembly in First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) contests held in single-member constituencies.1 Seats on the local authorities are filled in FPTP ward elections. Per the Constitution, the boundaries of these two sets of electoral districts must be periodically delimited to ensure that constituencies, as well as wards, are relatively equal in population.2 Where the electoral district boundaries are placed impacts the results of an election, perhaps even affecting the partisan composition of the parliament or council. When constituency boundaries are intentionally manipulated to produce a particular political outcome, it is referred to as gerrymandering. It is essential for the credibility of the delimitation process that stakeholders believe that the electoral boundaries have not been gerrymandered. For this reason, it is important that the delimitation process be carried out in a manner that accords with constitutional and statutory requirements and meets international best practice standards for impartiality, transparency, equality of voting strength, and representativeness
The voters’ register or voters’ roll is the national database of registered voters used in an election. The quality of the voters’ roll is an important factor in public confidence in the integrity of elections. The voters’ roll used in Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections contained thousands of names of dead people and double registrants and was marred by under-registration of young voters.1 To address these problems the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) utilized biometric voter registration (BVR) technology to create a completely new voters’ register ahead of the 2018 Harmonized Elections. The BVR method, which digitized voters’ fingerprints, made it possible for the election authority to detect duplicate registrants and purge duplicates from the voters’ register. Digitization of fingerprints and photographs resulted in a BVR amounting to over 8 terabytes. The size of the database made the speed of the central server in running the de-duplication process a limiting factor. Server speed delayed the ZEC in making the version of the voters’ roll that would be used on election day available to the public in a searchable format, as required by Section 21(7) of the Electoral Act. The ZEC was not able to make a machine analyzable version available until June 18, and the ZEC did not release a revised final roll until just days before the election. The political parties’ ability to conduct robust verification of the voters’ roll was thereby limited.2 However, such delays will not be an issue in 2023, when the biometric voters’ roll will merely require routine updating, not wholesale replacementas in 2018. Routine updating of Zimbabwe’s voters’ roll is largely accomplished through continuous voter registration.
There is a second reason the quality of the voters’ register is important in Zimbabwe. According to the 2013 Constitution, the drawing of new electoral boundaries must take place “as soon as possible after a population census”, electoral districts should contain equal numbers of voters, and variations of voting populations should not exceed 20%.3 The voters’ register as continuously updated will be the key resource for confirming this constitutional distribution of voters across electoral districts.
The main purpose of regulating political party and campaign finance is to ensure transparency in how political parties and election campaigns raise and spend money,1 stop corrupt practices, 2 limit the impact of money on the electoral process,3 and counteract abuse of public resources. 4 Situation in Zimbabwe Political finance in Zimbabwe is governed by the Political Parties Finance Act. The act, amongst other things, regulates permitted (citizens, permanent residents, companies, and associations) and prohibited (all others) sources of funding. This is consistent with the approach internationally, as more than 95 percent of countries place certain limitations on who can make financial contributions to political parties and election campaigns, and in some cases how much they can contribute or how much political parties and election campaigns can spend.5 Public funding is available to political parties that reach over 5 percent of the vote in the preceding general election, similarly to provisions in other African countries. Globally, about two out of three countries also provide public, or state, funding to political parties.
However, in Zimbabwe, there are no spending limits, no compulsory requirement to report contributions and spending, and no requirement to publish financial reports. Moreover, there is no institution that has a 1 United Nations Convention Against Corruption Article 7.3, African Union Convention on Combatting and Preventing Corruption Article 10.2, SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015) Article 13.2.6.f. 2 African Union Convention on Combatting and Preventing Corruption Article 10.1. 3 SADC Parliamentary Forum, Norms and Standards for Elections in the SARC Region, Part 3, Article 6. 4 SADC Parliamentary Forum, Norms and Standards for Elections in the SARC Region, Part 2, Article 3. 5 Calculated from https://www.idea.int/ datatools/data/political-finance-database. Unless otherwise noted, statistics regarding regulations in this document are calculated from this source. mandate to oversee political finance regulations. In comparison, globally, more than 90 percent of countries require financial reporting by political parties, candidates, or both.
All political finance regulations require enforcement to be effective. Both the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Combatting and Preventing Corruption (AUCC) highlight the importance of transparency in political finance. In comparison to Kenya, Sierra Leone and Germany, for example, the current political finance regulations in Zimbabwe give insufficient focus to transparency. Given the above, during the 2018 harmonized elections in Zimbabwe, international observers concluded that “there is a complete lack of reporting requirements and transparency mechanisms undermining the ability of candidates to campaign on a level playing field,” and recommended that the authorities should “develop regulation of political party financing to promote accountability and transparency and as a key step towards creating a level playing field between political parties.”6 Transparency International suggests that legislation should be passed, including at a minimum:7 6 European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Final Report, https://eeas.europa.eu/ sites/eeas/files/eu_eom_zimbabwe_2018_-_final_ report.pdf page 23 and 3. 7 See https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/ • Annual reporting requirements for registered political parties on income, spending, assets, and liabilities; • Post-election reporting requirements for political parties and candidates (in cases where reporting is required by nominating political parties only, it should include information on their candidates’ campaign finances) on incomes, spending, assets, and liabilities; • Sanctions for non-compliance with reporting requirements; and • Requirements for the receiving public institution to publish in a timely manner all financial reports received from political parties/candidates. Abuse of Public Resources A common problem in many countries including Mali, Russia, and Togo has been ruling parties’ monopolization of state media; utilization of state institutions’ assets for electioneering logistics; intimidation of opposition supporters by security forces to prevent them from attending rallies; and denial of political rally permits to opposition parties. There are reports that such abuses also took place in Zimbabwe’s 2018 harmonized elections. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) noted that government buildings, vehicles, and food aid were used for campaign purposes. 8 Similarly, the “Zimbabwe International Election Observation Mission Final Report” by the International Republican Institute (IRI)