Home Sports Electoral watchdog slams proposed Law, says threatens ZEC independence

Electoral watchdog slams proposed Law, says threatens ZEC independence

by Bustop TV News

By Staff Reporter 

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) expressed concern over proposed Constitutional Amendments that would make substantial changes to electoral procedures in the country. 

The amendments aim to shift important tasks, like voter registration, from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to the Registrar-General’s Office.

Additionally, the amendments propose removing delimitation responsibilities from the ZEC, suggesting a return to the previous system where the delimitation commission was responsible for delineating electoral boundaries.

“All these proposals revert to pre-2009 system and in ZESN’s opinion, removing such integral processes from ZEC are both retrogressive and a reversal of past progressive electoral reforms.

”This further compromise the independence of ZEC by allowing separate government bodies to perform roles directly linked to the Commission’s duties.

“This jeopardizes the Commission’s stewardship of elections, and ultimately erodes citizens confidence and trust in electoral processes,” ZESN said. 

Section 239 of the Constitution requires ZEC to organize and supervise elections and referendums in Zimbabwe, including voter registration, compiling voter rolls, delimiting constituencies, conducting voter education, and accrediting election and referendum observers. 

This broad authority granted to ZEC aligns with practices among regional Election Management Bodies (EMBs). 

For example, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) similarly manages voter education and delimits electoral boundaries.

“Likewise, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is responsible for both delimiting boundaries and registering voters. 

Additionally, the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya performs dual roles of voter registration and delimitation

“Zimbabwean scenario is not unique, since 2009, it had adopted the independent model of EMBs by giving key responsibilities of all electoral processes including voter registration and delimitation processes to the ZEC.

“Independent models of EMBs follow good
practice as their electoral legitimacy is enhanced, perceived to be impartial and not subject to political control. Centralisation of electoral business under this model also ensures better planning and more cohesive institutionalisation of electoral tasks.

“The proposed reforms which will involve government will cause unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and may be influenced by the incumbency” the network noted.

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