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MODEL OF DEMOCRACY PROJECT BY MLUNGISI NDEBELE

CHAPTER I 1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE IDEA Over the last couple of years there has been a heated debate on the need for democracy in Zimbabwe. Whereas this debate has revolved around simply the need for democracy, nothing much has been said about the management of this transition to democracy. Much of the talk has focused on the establishment of democratic institutions and the promulgation of democratic processes without attention being given to how all this is not going to be undermined. Democratic institutions and processes are administered by people who need to understand the fundamentals of democracy as much as the people on whom such institutions and processes have authority over. Without proper understanding, appreciation and application of the underlying principles relating to democracy, the results are less likely to point towards a democratic society. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the transition to democracy is managed properly and not only that, but also that an investment is made in people to develop a comprehensive understanding of the formulation, promulgation, application and implication of this political socio-economic organization concept. A case in point is the recent and still currently ongoing constitution making process which has been mired in controversy due to the mere lack of understanding of the basic tenets of democracy. Our society is riddled with aggrieved citizens, who whilst appreciating the need for democracy, are at loggerheads with its provisions and tenets. It is quite evident that no model of democracy, suited to the peculiarities of the Zimbabwean society, has been put forward by any competent person or body and therefore there is need for such to happen. In any case it is my belief that it is not incumbent upon any individual or institution to impose democracy on any society but for democracy to come about as a result of peoples appreciation of it and henceforth its assimilation into their society either radically or on a piecemeal basis. It is from this realization that the idea of this project was founded and the model established. 1.1OBJECTIVE The main aim of this project is to create an understanding and appreciation of the fundamental and underlying principles of democratic processes and institutions. It seeks to introduce the younger generation to the idea of participative and inclusive administration of communities and societies to which they are members. 1.2 JUSTIFICATION It is my informed assertion that no investment in democracy has been made in the country, and therefore going forward, such investment is needed in order to facilitate for the orderly and smooth transition from the present status quo to a democratic society.

CHAPTER 2 2.0 FOCUS OF THE MODEL To this end the focus of the model will be young people who are under full time instruction at an educational institution. It is hoped that at this stage in their young lives these people are open to change particularly if it entails participation in the formulation of policy relating to the administration of student affairs. If successful these are the same people who would take the fundamental principles of this model to public and private institutions and offices alike. The fundamental principles of democracy they take out of school are expected to diffuse through to society once they get out of the school system and progress to other political socio- economic groupings. 2.1 FOCUS/ TARGET GROUP This project will particularly target secondary and high school students, so the foremost institution will be the school. A typical school has such groupings as the School Development Association, Parents and Teachers Association, The Teaching Staff and The Students Representative Body (Prefects Body) etc. The focal point of this model will be the Prefects Body. Other such groupings as the aforementioned will be secondary to the model. They will only serve the purpose of engagement with the democratically elected students body once it has been set up. 2.2 FOCUSING ON THE INSPIRATION I, the writer being a third year university student has been in the education system long enough to realize some of the anomalies inherent within the system. All minors within the education system are dictated to every step of the way without them ever querying or taking responsibility for anything. Suddenly when they attain the age of majority and they join the electoral franchise they are overwhelmed by it all. From my first day at school up until now, I never so much was involved in any electoral system to choose student leaders that was in any way a semblance of democracy. It is important to note that, during all these years I formed my own paradigm with regards to the electoral system and electoral outcomes. The sham election systems and electoral outcomes made me and most of my peers lose any respect and regard for the value of elections. Elections being a fundamental facet underpinning democracy should be highly esteemed. So this paradigm of mine, shared by most of my peers, is the basis for the vulnerability of young people during election times. Young people are rendered vulnerable to the machinations of politicians, who use them as a tool to perpetrate violence against their opponents, by exploiting their lack of regard for elections and electoral outcomes.

Consequently, I sought guidance from developed democracies to see how democratic values are inculcated into their youth. I realized then than the fundamental tenets of democracy, are embedded within their educational systems, so that inevitably everyone who passes through the education system absorbs them. On the basis of this realization, I concluded that there was need somehow to reform our education system to incorporate democratic values and fundamentals. 2.3 FOCUSING ON THE FUNDAMENTALS OF DEMOCRACY It is widely agreed that the fundamentals of democracy at a political socio-economic level are respect for human rights, rule of law, free and fair electoral systems, independent judiciary, accountability and good governance among other things. However for the purposes of the model there is need to adapt these fundamentals for the peculiarities of the Zimbabwean education system at large, and the school environment in particular. Also some of these tenets will have to be overlooked if they prove to be too sophisticated to be adaptable to our needs. 2.4 FOCUSING ON THE ADAPTATIONS Respect for human rights We will properly define the rights and responsibilities of all the individuals involved in the model so that these rights have to be respected. These could be in the form of a code of conduct. Rule of law Under this banner we will hope to enforce the rights and responsibilities of individuals. The spirit of the law should be applied to the letter. The code of conduct should be used as a point of reference. Free and fair electoral systems These will particularly focus on the conduct of elections to choose student representatives. Proper electoral activities and procedures should be conducted to yield true and proper student representatives. Independent judiciary A disciplinary committee should be set up comprising of school authorities i.e. members of staff and student representatives. Accountability and good governance A framework of terms of reference should be established, as well as that to keep individuals who occupy offices in check.

CHAPTER 3 3.0 FRAMEWORK OF THE MODEL The model will require the authorization of the education authorities, school authorities and the commitment of the students involved. It is intended for the model to be introduced first as a pilot project at designated schools and then for it to diffuse into the whole education system if it proves to be successful. The oversight of the education ministry is recommended and required to ensure that the model is not in breach of education laws and that it does not compromise the quality of tuition being currently rendered to students. School authorities as well will be expected to compromise on some of their duties so that some of the responsibilities of conducting school affairs are delegated to the Students Representative Body. This will ensure that students participate more and more in the affairs and activities of the school, particularly those that affect them directly. Students will be expected to conduct themselves properly and professionally, giving due regard to the fact that they are young people who are sometimes but not always nave. They are expected to take some responsibility for the activities, affairs and processes within their schools. Also they will be held accountable for those responsibilities delegated to them.

3.1 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MODEL The model will be implemented in three phases. The phases will be divided into the consultation phase, the electoral phase and the responsibility phase. Consultation phase In this stage the focus of the model will be to engage the stakeholders and to give them an opportunity to participate in the process of adapting the model to the peculiarities of their circumstances. It is expected that at this stage all necessary material and information will be put forward for discussion. It is hoped that this process will culminate in a proper foundation being laid for the next stage. Electoral phase During this phase it is expected that a free and fair electoral process will be undertaken to yield true and proper representatives of the student body. Also in this phase the elected representatives are expected to assume their posts and lay the ground work for their subsequent activities such as engaging other school groupings.

Responsibility phase In this stage, the elected representatives are expected to take full charge of their roles and responsibilities. Here they begin to exercise the power and authority vested in the posts which they occupy. They are expected to function by the prescribed framework, rules and regulations that govern their work and interactions with others.

NB; I have deliberately failed to refer to the Education Act, to avoid being caught in a quandary, of trying to explain some of its provisions as I am no legal expert.

CHAPTER 4 4.0 THE MECHANICS OF THE MODEL Outlined below is the procedure recommended for the commencement of the implementation of the model of democracy project.I must hasten to point out the fact that this is a mere skeletal guideline still requiring much input into it. 4.1 CONSULTATION MECHANICS As noted earlier, the process will begin with the consultation phase. Stakeholders Education ministry officials, teachers, students, parents, scholars, democracy advocates and any other individuals and institutions that have an interest in the model. Matters of discussion School rules and regulations, the much broader education laws, student and teachers code of conduct, the provisions and shortcomings of this very model and any other issues arising from the engagement. Aims of the consultation This whole process will be aimed at factoring the input of all stakeholders. Also it will seek to ascertain the commitments and compromises that these stakeholders are willing to make. It is hoped that this whole process will result in a framework within which the model can be implemented. A draft document citing the rules of engagement of these parties is recommended for future reference. Another recommendation is the harmonization of the code of conduct relating to teaching staff and students in order to clearly reflect the rights and responsibilities of each party, so that they can be held to account by simply referring to one document. This can be done in the form of a school constitution/ code of conduct. Once the said school constitution or any other form of document mimicking the constitution has been drafted and approved, it is then possible to go ahead with the electoral process of the student representatives. 4.2 ELECTORAL MECHANICS The process of electing the student representatives should begin primarily at the classroom level up to the entire school level. Candidates should first be elected as class representatives to stand in subsequent elections for higher office.

Nomination and election of class representatives It is recommended that each class elect two representatives, one male and the other female to promote gender equality. Nomination process It all should begin with the nomination process. A candidate should be nominated by at least a fifth of the members of the class and should be willing to participate in the election. To this end no one shall be forced to partake of the nomination or electoral process if they so choose to abstain. Each member of the class shall be allowed to nominate only one male candidate and one female candidate. The nomination process should allow for confidentiality and secrecy. Therefore it is recommended that the nomination be done by secret ballot. An example would be for voters to write down the name of their nominee on provided paper and cast in a designated ballot box. Therefore a voter will cast two nomination ballots, one for the male and the other for the female nominee. Those who garner the requisite nominations of the prescribed quota for eligibility to participate in the elections shall be declared as duly nominated candidates. In the event of a minimum of two candidates failing to garner the requisite nominations any fair alternative can be pursued for the nomination process. NB: The quota is only meant to ensure that an economic and efficient number of candidates are nominated. The nominees shall then be given an opportunity to campaign and drum up support before the election proper is conducted. This can be done by giving the nominees the platform to address their fellow classmates just before the election is conducted. Electoral process The election will be conducted by secret ballot. The voters shall cast two ballots simultaneously i.e. one for the male candidate and the other for the female. In this regard the election shall be said to be harmonized. The winners shall be decided on the First Past the Post basis i.e. the candidate who garners most of the valid votes will be declared the winner of the election. The winners will then be forwarded to the Students School Board (SSB). From here onwards we shall refer to the Students School Board by its acronym the SSB.

Nomination and the election of the Student president Nomination process All students elected as class representatives and who have been forwarded to the Students School Board shall form the Electoral College from which nominations for the post of Student President shall be derived. Therefore candidates for the post of the Student President shall be nominated by the SSB. For one to be nominated as a candidate, one should garner at least a fifth of the available nominations. In the event of a minimum of two candidates failing to garner the requisite nominations, any fair alternative can be pursued for the nomination process. NB: The quota is only meant to ensure that an economic and efficient number of candidates are nominated. The successful nominees will then be regarded as being eligible to run for the post of Student President. Election process The candidates shall at a convenient date, time, and place, preferably on a day before the election be given a platform to deliver an address to drum up support. Prior to that event they can campaign though so as not to disrupt the school program. Other students are free as well to campaign on behalf of any candidate. NB: It must be clearly and categorically stated that the creation of electoral camps is not advised and strictly forbidden. This is purely an educational process having nothing to do with politics. The voters shall be each and every student enrolled at the school. Students who wish to abstain from the election should be afforded the opportunity to do so. Again the election of the Student President shall be by secret ballot. Either of the First Past the Post or Majority bases i.e. 50% plus 1 vote can be used. The latter basis for declaring winners is the preferred basis as it is much fairer considering the responsibilities to be placed on the elected Student President. The second best performing candidate shall become the Deputy/ Vice Student President. The winning candidate shall, after being duly elected and inaugurated as the Student President, forthwith assume the duties and the responsibilities of his/her office. The Student President is expected to inaugurate the Student Cabinet and the Students School Board thereafter.

4.3 RESPONSIBILITY MECHANICS In this phase it is expected that all the elected individuals who occupy office will be quite settled into their responsibilities and therefore can be held accountable for any anomalies and misdemeanors. It is recommended that reports be made to the relevant officials so as to monitor the progress of the implementation of the model. To this end, a panel of monitors should be set up to constantly check and monitor whether the implementation of the model is yielding the desired results. Targets should be set so that they can then be used as terms of reference by these monitors. Also remedial courses of action should be provided for to tackle any deviations from the desired results. Some other mechanisms can be formulated as the need arises, in order to ensure the smooth operation of the model as well as the elected student leaders.

CHAPTER 5 5.0 THE STUDENT PRESIDENT, CABINET, SCHOOL BOARD AND COMMITEES These individuals and groupings shall be at the forefront of advancing the legitimate interests of students within the school environment. 5. I THE STUDENT PRESIDENT He/ she shall be the student leader and figurehead Duties of a Student President To convene SSB meetings as he/she deems fit or upon the request of at least a fifth of the members of the SSB and to chair such meetings. To nominate members of the Student Cabinet for the subsequent approval by the SSB. To exercise the deciding vote if there is a deadlock in the voting of the SSB. To engage other school groupings i.e. the School Head, Teaching Staff, P.T.A, S.D.C etc on behalf of all the students at the school. To deliver addresses on important occasions on the school calendar. To act as the student figurehead on such occasions as is necessary. The Deputy/ Vice Student President shall assume the responsibility of the Student President in the case of the latters absence. Removal of a Student President The Student President shall leave his/her post upon; The prescribed period of the tenure of office elapsing. Breaching any of his/her duties and subsequently being recalled by the SSB. Tendering his /her resignation to the SSB and it being subsequently lodged with the school authorities. Some other unforeseen obstacle making it impossible for the Student President to perform his/her duties. 5.2 THE STUDENT CABINET It shall consist of members of the SSB nominated by the Student President and subsequently approved by the SSB itself. The cabinet members shall be referred to as the Student Deputies. The portfolios are to be determined by the Student President in consultation with the SSB. It is advised that they not exceed a maximum of ten.

It is further recommended that such portfolios as the following be included in one way or the other; Deputy for the Secretariat. Deputy for the Treasury Deputy for Student Welfare. Deputy for Discipline and/or Ethics Deputy for the Curriculum.

Sample duties of the aforementioned Student Deputies Deputy for the Secretariat He/she shall be responsible for the secretarial duties in the SSB such as issuing notices of meetings and documenting the minutes of such meetings. May also be responsible for all correspondence to and from the SSB. Deputy for the Treasury He/she shall be responsible for fundraising and administration of such funds. Involved in school budgeting and budgetary allocations. Deputy for Student Welfare He/she shall be responsible for the welfare of students within the school. Attending to student complaints and grievances and conveying them to the school authorities. Deputy for Discipline and/or Ethics He /she shall be responsible for enforcing the school rules as prescribed by the school code of conduct. Partake of any disciplinary proceedings within the school. Deputy for the Curriculum He/she shall be responsible for the curriculum i.e. matters relating to the studies, study programs, methods and timetables. These duties may extend to co-curricular activities.

NB; The above guidelines are not exclusive and exhaustive of the duties of these office bearers, but are simply an attempt to give an idea of what roles these individuals are expected to play. It is incumbent upon the Student President in consultation with the SSB to define further responsibilities for these office bearers. This applies as well to the other portfolios that may be created.

5.3 THE STUDENT COMMITTEES These are to be drawn from the SSB to assist the Student Deputies in handling their port folios. They are expected to advise the Student Cabinet on matters of policy and in carrying out its day to day duties. There is no recommended limit on the number of these committees, but they should at least be aligned to the portfolios. It is recommended as well, that every member of the SSB other than the Student President and his/her cabinet belong to one of the committees to avoid a case of idle individuals within the SSB. 5.4 THE STUDENTS SCHOOL BOARD The SSB shall be made up of all elected class representatives. This board shall form the Electoral College from which the nominees for the post of Student President shall be nominated. Also this board shall form the pool from which the subsequently elected Student President shall nominate his/her cabinet. NB; It is recommended that one individual from the school authorities sit on this board and be the patron of this board. The individual will be meant to give guidance and direction to the board and not to influence its activities, operations and decisions. Functions of the SSB To act as the student bodys parliament. To act as checks and balances to the Student President and his/her cabinet To recall the Student President and/or any member of his/her cabinet if it is proper to do so. To craft and formulate policy relating to student affairs and to seek approval from the school authorities. To advance the legitimate interests of the students. To administer the school rules in consultation with the school authorities guided by the school code of conduct. To organize and prepare all students for the school programs on any given day.

Powers of the SSB To recall the Student President and/or any member or the entirety of his/her cabinet by a vote of not less 75% of members after they have been found in breach of their duties. To prescribe and administer punishment on offending individuals to the extent that the offence is not serious as provided for by the school code of conduct. Serious offences will be in the domain of the school authorities though the SSB will partake of the process to oversee its fairness and appropriateness.

To request explanations on actions and decisions taken by the other school groupings on matters relating to and/or affecting student welfare. To organize after approval by the school authorities fundraising events for a legitimate cause, activity, acquisition of equipment and/or infrastructure for educational purposes and/or other good social initiative. To amend the school code of conduct in conjunction and liaison with other school groupings.

Dissolution of the SSB The SSB shall be dissolved under the following circumstances; Upon the end of its term of office which is recommended to be a period of one year. Upon a majority of two thirds of the members passing such a resolution which is subsequently accepted by the school authorities. Upon the school authorities moving such a motion which is supported by two thirds of all students. Upon there being any situation rendering it impossible for the incumbent SSB to continue in office. NB; It is recommended that there be a mechanism for the SSB to bypass the school authorities and proceed to engage the education authorities on matters they feel and have evidence to the effect that the school authorities are deliberately frustrating their efforts.

CHAPTER 6 6.0 THE EXTENDED MODEL If the model proves to be successful and properly diffuses into much of the Zimbabwean education system, there are possibilities for it to be extended and integrated with other noble initiatives that are currently in place. The model can be extended further to include education district student representation. However, a more proper extension would be for the extended model to follow political boundaries of constituencies. In this regard it is recommended that the electoral process discussed earlier be replicated relevantly at the constituency level to yield Constituency Student School Boards and the Constituency Student Presidents. At the constituency level, the model can then possibly be linked with the Childrens Parliament. It can then be possible to somewhat democratically elect a Child President who I rather recommend be referred to as the Child Student President.

6.1 SHORTCOMINGS OF THE MODEL The primary and foremost shortcoming of this model, is that it only focuses on students who attend secondary/ high schools. It overlooks the primary school going and the slightly older generation which is already out of school or at tertiary level. It simply assumes that students are going to be ambitious in running for these posts without any form of incentive other being a student leader. Also an inherent capacity within these students is assumed with regards to formulating policy on student matters. It also assumes willingness within the educational and school authorities to empower and delegate to students which may not necessarily be the case. It does not make any guarantees that student involvement in the affairs that directly affect them would improve student morale and welfare hence a gradual improvement in academic excellence and achievement.

6.2 SUGGESTED REMEDIES TO THE SHORTCOMINGS OF THE MODEL The youth who are already out of the education system can be properly organized under the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC). The ZYC can devolve its structure to local grassroots levels where a democratic process can then be initiated to elect local representatives. This would probably need a whole new model of its own. Those in primary school however stand to partake of the model once they enroll in secondary/high school.

Perks like a waiver on tuition fees, stationery and uniform vouchers can be used to improve student ambition to run for office. Students can also be required to achieve certain minimum grades for them to be eligible to run for election. This will be done to ensure that the elected students are of above average intelligence to be in a position to diligently perform their duties. A piecemeal approach or basis can be adopted in empowering the student leaders so that assessments can be made on the wisdom of granting student leaders discretion in dealing with some student and broader school issues. This will allay any fears of empowering an ill prepared and incompetent group of nave young people much to the demise and compromise of the quality of tuition being rendered in the country.

CHAPTER 7 7.0 CONCLUDING REMARKS 7.1 DISCLAIMER As much as l claim copyright to this model and its implementation in Zimbabwe, I do not seek to derive any commercial benefit from it. I only seek to be recognized and acknowledged as the individual behind the promulgation of such a noble initiative as this, even if I say so myself. The basic idea behind this model is not a new concept altogether, but can be seen elsewhere in other developed democracies in the world. The ideas put forward are not a rule of thumb for a democratic process but derive from the underlying principles of the process. The model itself is not perfect or sacrosanct, and therefore is open to modifications, criticism and even shooting down after due and diligent consideration. 7.2 ATTENTION It is my sincere hope that this initiative will receive the due consideration and attention that it deserves. Not only that, but also that people with the necessary expertise and requisite knowledge will be forthcoming in offering their suggestions in making this a more realistic project. 7.3 WARNING I want to further reiterate the fact that this is no political exercise and hence should be seen for what it is, and that is, an educational exercise with far reaching future political socioeconomic implications for Zimbabwe as a society. Therefore any individual or institution that shares a different paradigm of this initiative to the aforementioned is kindly requested not to partake of it or facilitate any aspect of it. 7.4 TARGETED PARTIES This paper is particularly directed at Senator David Coltart the Honorable Minister of Education, Arts, Sport and Culture and/ or any other competent person deriving authority there from. Also, it is directed at any other person who has genuine interest in this paper. I would be humbled and honored to engage any stakeholder on any aspect of the model. Alternative models deriving from this model or any other are invited from interested parties who share the same basic objective.

7.5 ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF THIS PAPER I, Mlungisi Ndebele, am a third year bachelor of commerce honors degree in Finance student at National University of Science and Technology.

CONTACT DETAILS Face book Twitter E-mail Mlungisi Ndebele @Mlu geng mlugeng@gmail.com mlugeng@yahoo.com Phone Numbers 0775 520 231 (09) 425173