Interrogating the inclusion and participation of vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe’s local democracy

Regional focus: Zimbabwe

Time: January 2020 – June 2021

This study interrogates how different categories of vulnerability, and the physical, cultural, political and socioeconomic environment converge to influence inclusion and participation in local democracy.” Says Bernard Chazovachii from Great Zimbabwe University who is leading the research project.


The popular voices of women, children and youth, the elderly, cultural minorities, and differently abled persons are subdued in local governance power-politics without recourse to law and policies. Concomitantly, vulnerable groups’ participation in local governance and access to basic needs and services remains insufficient. A gap in empirical studies thus far speaks to the need to examine the extent to which available mechanisms are (in)adequate to facilitate the meaningful participation of marginalized groups in local democratic processes. Similarly, there exist a paucity of studies that implore vulnerable groups to add their voices on how they find the available mechanisms useful, and also shedding their experiences in local democracy participation. This study is dedicated to fill this research gap. This study has the potential to reveal policy and legal gaps that undermine both the resemblance of best international governance practices as well as increased participation of marginalized groups in local governance.

Research questions

  • What are the legal and policy frameworks for the participation of vulnerable groups in local governance issues?
  • What are the institutional practices for inclusion and participation of vulnerable groups in local government processes?
  • What are the experiences and perspectives of vulnerable groups in local democracy?
  • Which strategies can be adopted by policy makers for effective inclusion and participation of vulnerable groups in local democracy?

Research team

Bernard Chazovachii, Acting Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Great Zimbabwe University

Cowen Dziva, Lecturer for Nehanda Centre for Gender and Cultural Studies, Great Zimbabwe University

Sakhille Phillina Mukaro, Environmental Health Officer, Chiredzi Rural District Council

Manasa Sibanda, Chairperson of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Great Zimbabwe University

Mavis Thokozile Macheka, Lectuerer, Great Zimbabwe University

Linet Sithole, Chairperson Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law, Midlands State University

Josiah Taru, Lectuerer, Great Zimbabwe University

Ellen Gozo, Chairperson Department of Rural and Urban Development, Great Zimbabwe University