Understanding citizen engagement :Issue paper- May 2016


Citizen engagement forms the core of programming among civil society organisations in Zimbabwe in particular and the world in general. Models of engagement differ according to the environment, purpose of citizen engagement, political situation and methods of community entry among others. On the larger scale, citizen engagement has a wider meaning and impact towards understanding state-society relations, state of good governance and degrees of freedom accorded to the citizens of a country or community. It has greater connotations on understanding levels of meaningful participation by citizens and effectively the moulding of active or responsible citizenry as opposed to subjects. The situation (relationship) that prevails in Zimbabwe, of course differing according to urban and rural dwellers, is akin to that of lord-servant particularly in rural areas. Attempts to redefine this model of engagement are usually met with stiff resistance not only from local and national leadership but sometimes from the citizens themselves. This makes the situation delicate and requiring tactful engagement strategies that limit rigour but are more sensitive and consultative.

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