International NGO Journal

  • Abbreviation: Int. NGOJ
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8225
  • DOI: 10.5897/INGOJ
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 253

Article

Enhancing citizen participation through civic action in Zimbabwe, 1997-2010

Jephias Mapuva
Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Bindura University of Science Education, P. O. Box 1020 Bindura, Zimbabwe.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 July 2013
  •  Published: 31 August 2013

Abstract

 

This role of civil society in many African countries has been viewed as seeking to create an enlightened and informed citizenry. In order to strengthen their resolve and speak with a stronger voice in their engagement with the state as well as to mobilise their membership, civil society organisations (CSOs) have developed a tendency of forging linkages and working relations among themselves culminating in the formation of coalitions. Forging linkages has been out of the realisation that merging and aligning their operations would enable the different civic groups to find common ground on which to engage the state and their membership, including the civilian population. This paper seeks to establish the extent to which different civil society organisations sought to enhance citizen participation in governance processes through civil education. Four CSOs have been used in this paper, namely: the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZimRights), Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), as well as the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA). A cumulative total of 300 participants were used in this paper to establish the role of the cited CSOs in enlightening citizens. A total of 104 interviews were conducted and 196 questionnaires administered in this regard. The paper reveals a number of determinants such as age, gender, level of education, regularity of citizen engagement with civic education, access to media coverage, as well as residential location, provide a precursor for increased awareness in public affairs. The different social structures have contributed to the creation of an informed citizenry that is able to make informed political, economic and social decisions.

 

Key words: Zimbabwe, civil society, citizen participation, citizenry, enhanced, civic action, mobilisation, governance processes