ZEC on firing line

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is on the firing line due to its failure to open space for interaction with civic society and other stakeholders in the run to the 2018 elections.

Tawanda Chimhini

At a recent Election Resource Centre and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition organised meeting participants raised concern over the failure by ZEC to build public and stakeholder confidence and in the process ensuring some level of accountability and transparency in the 2018 election.

“The necessary procedures for voter registration are still to be made public while more importantly, both the voter registration and the election implementation plan with clear time lines is yet to be prepared and publicly shared,” said ERC in a statement.

To date, ZEC has not shared operational procedure in line with regulatory frameworks which, under normal circumstances, are developed before the training and deployment of election process personnel.  The ERC pointed out that operational procedures govern all aspects of the voter registration process and aid in providing clarity in terms of operational guidelines. Operational procedures ensure equal treatment of every applicant and limit the discretion of election process officials.

The ERC further notes that requests to be allowed access to observe the receiving and the warehousing of the kits in the spirit of enhancing transparency in the pre-voter registration processes were turned down while the request to observe the training of master trainers was also turned down. The requests follows reports that ZEC received 400 kits for the BVR process from Laxton Group Limited while another batch of 2 600 kits is expected to be delivered before October 2017.

The ERC contends that the credibility of the 2018 elections hinges on the election administration body’s capacity to be transparent, inclusive and professional in planning, implementing and reviewing of all electoral processes going forward.

One of the workshop particiapnts Pride Mukono wrote to ZEC on the 6th of September  requesting for publication of names and qualifications of master trainers and technicians being trained by ZEC and those who will conduct Biometric Voter Registration. The request was made in terms of section 61 of the Zimbabwe Constitution which guarantees access to information to every citizen of Zimbabwe for any information held by the State or an agency of government insofar as this information is required in the interest of public accountability.

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