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Why KuvakaZim?

Dec. 3, 2013

Many articles, books and studies have explored the issue of good governance in African countries and how it relates to transparency, accountability, and Government performance. Knowing the causes and effects of these plights, we believe it is now time for action in Africa and in Zimbabwe. Until we start putting words into action, only then can we rebuild our country.

The KuvakaZim project was born from a general concern regarding the accountability and activities of Zimbabwean members of Parliament and their duties in regard of their representative roles. At first, a group of friends met informally and brainstormed about answers for more democratic institutions and social inclusion in this digital age. While discussions created a lot of excitement and enthusiasm regarding solutions shared, it also became apparent that many Zimbabweans lacked basic knowledge of the duties of their MPs, which consequently left politicians to act opportunistically, to shirk in their duties and ignore the needs of those who vote for them.

The meetings also created frustrations on members of parliament being accountable to their political parties rather than voters. When we leave the poling station we have assumed that our duty is done and now it is up to those we have elected to come to us with updates on what is going on.

Civil Society Organizations in Zimbabwe have done great work on engaging the citizens to encourage them to be actively involved in the process of governance after the elections. This has created knowledge around how the democracy of our country works. Communication technology has therefore represented us an opportunity for a political breakthrough. How we interact with each other in this new digital age will continue to be driven by the online world around us. We have decided to take advantage of the proliferation of communication technology to engage our MPs and to keep track of the activities and debates in the House of Assembly.

We created this space where individuals will have a chance to ask their respective MPs questions or to leave comments on the profile page of each MP or comment on an issues/bills being discussed in parliament. The Hansard will be uploaded on the site.

While discussions about our democracy created a lot of excitement and enthusiasm regarding solutions shared, it also became apparent that many Zimbabweans lacked basic knowledge of the duties of their MPs, which consequently left politicians to act opportunistically, to shirk in their duties and ignore the needs of those who vote for them.

Taking stock of these obstacles, we are firmly convinced that there is no perfect time to start engaging our politicians than now in order to clear the climate of mistrust that clouds our political space in Zimbabwe. As daunting as it is to achieve and preserve it, democracy was and remains at the center of the struggle for freedom, a gift from our founding fathers and mothers; it therefore is our right and duty to protect it.

We have decided to have the website go live before we finish the work so that we hear from you on what you want to see on the site. We would really love to hear from you and please give us feedback. We also welcome those who want to get involved by volunteering in cleaning up the site. We will greatly open it up for those who want to be part of this journey.