Cape Town, South Africa – Over the past decade, Zimbabwe has experienced economic decline, which has had implications on the socio-political landscape of the country. In July 2016, the effects of this economic decline drove citizens to engage in the first instance of mass demonstrations seen in recent years, taking the form of a general work boycott and protest action.
During this period, AWEPA had been welcomed into the Parliament of Zimbabwe to conduct interviews with MPs and parliamentary staff, and to collect requisite documentation related to the Parliament’s engagement in the budget process as part of the Strengthening SADC Parliamentary Engagement in the Budget Cycle programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
Despite the general boycott, parliamentary staff continued to work, emphasising that in order for their institution to remain strong continued efforts were required to maintain its functioning. MPs and parliamentary staff alike were eager to discuss their institution’s engagement in the budget process, and the challenges and successes of their tenures.
The collection of primary data on the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s engagement in the budgetary process allowed the AWEPA researchers to position the real-time engagement of the Parliament in relation to the country’s shifting and somewhat volatile socio-political-economic context.
The information collected will be used to compile a comprehensive country report that will be shared with the Parliament of Zimbabwe during a national focus group in early 2017.
The fifth round of data collection will take place in Zambia in November 2016.