Monday, January 14, 2019

From Estonia to Zimbabwe, a multicultural call for e-voting

The urge to have free, fair and credible elections in African democracies has prompted most leaders to go out of their way to seek drastic measure to achieve that quality. The 2018 general elections in Zimbabwe are a demonstration of how desperate African states need to embrace e-voting system in their elections.

Envisaging the impasse in the elections, the transition government led by President Mnangagwa reached out to Estonia in search for help in exploring the possibility of implementing an e-voting system. This was a strategy aimed at enabling Zimbabweans who were living in the diaspora to take part in the national elections from the comfort of their destinations.

A timely solution for the diaspora

There had been a long clamour by the diaspora-based Zimbabweans demanding an opportunity to exercise their democratic right, even when they are away from their country. Desperate efforts had been done but remained futile following a conspicuous lack of political goodwill especially from the former regime of President Robert Mugabe.

This has come at a time when several Zimbabweans living in diaspora had to undertake a rigorous effort appealing to the government through law courts for the facilitation of their participation in the political processes. Although this quest would not be successful after a long struggle, the agitators never relented. After the ouster of the former president from power, the effort took a different turn as the current president reach out to Estonia for help.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa guaranteed Zimbabweans who inhabited in the US that his organization would investigate the likelihood of executing e-voting sooner rather than later as had been revealed by the state-run news office. Mnangagwa, in the interim, met Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas on the side-lines of the UNGA to examine a series of issues including how Zimbabwe could take advantage of Estonian information on e-voting.

Estonia’s online voting leadership

The agreement between the two leaders entailed that the ICT officials would be outsourced from Estonia to educate the ICT officials in Zimbabwe who would then disseminate similar education to the citizens living in the diaspora to undertake the process.

Estonia remains a hub of technology and e-voting. It has already offered guidance to help a series of countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan in curbing election irregularities during their general elections.

Estonia is in truth a pioneer with ICT advancements. In the case of Zimbabwe, the president evaluated three basic zones of collaboration with the Baltic country, e-wellbeing, e-administration, and e-voting. e-Voting is gradually becoming a solution highly sought after by developing countries to eliminate electoral fraud in their political regimes.