EkhayaVote2023 campaign officially launched

It was pomp and show when around 25 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operating in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South officially launched the EkhayaVote 2023 campaign at Cresta Hotel in Bulawayo. The official launch was attended by Members of Parliament, representatives of local authorities, media, CSOs and CBOs amongst others.

Giving the keynote address during the official launch, Samukeliso Khumalo, the Executive Director at Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) explained what the campaign is all about.

“EkhayaVote2023 is a coalition of more than 25 Civil Society Organisations operating in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South. Our first meeting was held in September 2021 where it was resolved to roll out the EkhayaVote2023 campaign. The initiative was established to create a coordinated effort towards encouraging citizens to register to vote as well as ensure that coalition members benefit from each other’s skill sets,” highlighted Khumalo

Khumalo further explained the composition of the coalition and the diversity of the membership.

“With regards to the composition of Coalition member organisations, the focus and groups range from: women, youths, people with disabilities, residents’ associations, informal traders, local government structures, media and ICT. This way we are guaranteed of having diverse and inclusive election related programming in the Matabeleland region. The Ekhaya Vote 2023 consortium will therefore harness members’ skills and resources as well as take advantage of our respective geographical areas of operation in order to reach out to a wider and diverse audience,” explained Khumalo

Khumalo went on to explain what EkhayaVote2023 means and its context with regards to electoral processes.

“Ekhaya simply means home, we are mobilising citizens in the Matabeleland region to participate in the upcoming entire electoral processes. This is a localised campaign and the name Ekhaya drives a message that promotes every citizen to think about Ekhaya – home in the next elections. It seeks to promote an electoral grassroots approach,” highlighted Khumalo.

Khumalo went on to present on the role of the EkhayaVote2023 campaign where she highlighted that the campaign is meant to promote increased participation in electoral processes by members of the public in the region.

“The EkhayaVote2023 campaign will contribute towards a high voter turnout through extensive voter education campaigns, ensure accessibility to registration centres, (encourage first time voters using youth friendly packages and utilise the cyber spaces to encourage more citizens and youths to participate.”

“The messaging of the campaign will be cognisant of the Matabeleland region context and use local languages, gender dynamics in the electoral process, specific women issues, and specific needs of people with disabilities, young women and young men,” added Khumalo.

The guest speaker at the official launch Sithembiso Khuphe the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) District Elections Officer explained on the delimitation process and went on to commend the consortium members of the EkhayaVote2023 campaign for this great initiative.

“ZEC will be undertaking the delimitation exercise which shall see the establishment of electoral boundaries in all constituencies. 3 of Bulawayo’s 12 constituencies could be lost during delimitation due to low numbers of registered voters,” explained Khuphe.

“I would like to commend this great initiative by the consortium members of the EkhayaVote2023 in encouraging people to register to vote. I am hopeful that this great initiative will see improved participation in electoral processes by members of the public in the region,” added Khuphe.

The official launch came to a close with entertainment through poetry and dance from Victory Siyanqoba Trust.

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