Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition launches information centre for 2018 polls

By Wallace Mawire

IN line with its mandate to strengthen democratic participation,Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has launched an Information Centre ahead of the 2018 harmonized elections.

According to CiZC, through the platform, CiZC will be able to respond to any potential risk situations based on the information generated and shared by its networks countrywide.

Engagement with institutions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), political parties, observation missions and other relevant players will be based on evidence generated from the CiZC structures around the country.

The establishment of the Information Centre is informed by the fact that CSOs in enhancing democratic development in Zimbabwe often paying a watchdog role and educating citizens on the importance of participating in democratic processes.

The information that will be regularly generated will be utilised by CSO leaders to make quick critical decisions and interventions with regards to the 2018 elections.

An Early Warning System will be established to detect malpractices such as politically motivated violence, intimidation, electoral fraud and manipulation among other irregularities.

CiZC will also prioritise the strengthening of strategic networks with pro-democracy players involved in electoral issues.“In line with its mandate of providing thought leadership on governance issues, the Coalition has also commissioned research papers on the pre-election environment,” CiZC said in a statement.

CiZC says that some of the key components that will enhance the Early Warning System include Social Media Broadcasting and Monitoring.The initiative is expected to allow CiZC to monitor through its various platforms, information circulating on social media and ultimately provide correct information after carrying out investigations and verification processes. It says that countering fake news will ensure that the decisions made by the electorate pre and post elections will be informed by access to correct information.

An SMS platform will be used to buttress the social media platform. CiZC has harvested mobile contacts across the country with an objective to propagate updates on elections as well as mobilising Zimbabweans across the political divide to go and cast their votes on July 30, 2018. It is reported that the platform will benefit those that have no access to social media.

Apart from that, a two dimensional SMS platform will also be used to  get updates from various community members and will enhance CiZC’s alert system.

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