Mugabe’s nod was notified in the Government Gazette of Friday, August 22, 2014.
In a statement, ERC said that the presidential assent to the electoral changes was despite inadequacies of the Bill to address fundamental challenges to the conduct of elections in the country, as noted by election stakeholders during the July 2013 harmonised polls.
“Adopted changes failed in a big way to exhaustively address critical gaps related to the electoral process such as the contradictions regarding the voter registration.
“Despite the constitution bestowing ZEC the task to register voters, the Electoral Act continued to recognise the Registrar General as the one in charge of the process,” said ERC.
The centre expressed dissatisfaction with the ‘piecemeal, non-comprehensive and reactionary approach to electoral reform which often resulted in the nation plunging into electoral events without adequate preparations’.
Mugabe resorted to the Presidential Temporary Measures Act (Statutory Instrument 85/2013) to facilitate administration of the July 2013 elections, after the GNU had failed to come up with timeous and comprehensive changes to the electoral law.
ERC called on concerned electoral authorities to have a defined plan for comprehensive and inclusive electoral reforms, which are informed by past practices and stakeholders’ input.
According to ERC, electoral reforms should comply with requirements of the country’s constitution.
Timeous re-alignments would enable ZEC to make adequate adjustments to the electoral infrastructure, as it prepares to become the country’s sole administrator of electoral processes.
The reforms are expected to be in place by June 2015, three years before the 2018 harmonised elections.
The ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, ZEC and Parliament of Zimbabwe were urged to institute an inclusive and comprehensive agenda for electoral reform.
If ERC’s recommendations for inclusive and internationally accepted reforms are considered, there would be ample time for new provisions to be tested ahead of the next elections.
Besides the electoral law, some 400 laws are yet to be aligned with the new constitution.
Observers have blamed lack of political will on the part of the Zanu (PF) government for the delays.Post published in: News