Since the 2013 elections, and despite the resounding acceptance of a new Constitution the same year, Zimbabwe has continued to be fragile, with economic, political, social and infrastructural decline within an environment of uncertainty. In this context, there has been limited consensus on how to resolve the socio-economic and political challenges.
However, the new Constitution provides opportunities through the establishment of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and 60 special seats for women in the National Assembly. Both of these provisions will expire after 10 years, counting from 2013.
Under the Strategic Partnership with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), funded by the Netherland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Parliament of Zimbabwe identified these two provisions as areas in which they would seek support from AWEPA and its partners, the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and local implementing partner the Zimbabwe Institute (ZI).
Under the Strategic Partnership, the partners work with the Parliament of Zimbabwe on lobbying and advocacy support as it relates to the establishment of, and public participation in, the work of the NPRC. Additionally, the Strategic Partnership in Zimbabwe provides support towards ensuring that the percentage of women in parliament does not drop dramatically once the constitutional provision for 60 special seats falls away in 2023.
During 2015, partners under the Strategic Partnership in Zimbabwe developed the programme, beginning with consultations with the Parliament of Zimbabwe to assess their needs. The strategic direction and a partnership framework were established during this time and will contribute to outcomes over the programme’s five-year lifespan (2016-2020). The framework involves all political actors represented in the Parliament and takes into account public participation based on the Strategic Partnership’s Theory of Change which encompasses the political system, political actors, political culture, and inclusivity and gender as cross-cutting issues.
The programme direction was well received by the Parliament of Zimbabwe, who emphasised the need for support which targets both staff and Members. Throughout 2016, the goal is to develop indicators and outcomes broadly for the five year period and, from these, a set of activities specifically for 2016, beginning with a baseline assessment.
This programme is part of the ‘Lobby and Advocacy’ programme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is implemented in cooperation with NIMD. More on the Strategic Partnership with the Ministry: www.awepa.org/strategic partnership.