By Joelson Mugari – National Elections Reform Agenda (NERA) Executive Chairman
It is a very sad story for Zimbabweans once again as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has announced its back-on-track snail pace on Electoral activities.
Yes Constitutionally, every citizenry community must be represented in Parliament, and hence all recalled, deceased, incapacitated or resigned members of Council, Parliament, or Senate must be replaced as required by the Constitution.
As NERA we are not against the replacement of the same but are against the replacement of the same under the same previous Electoral fields that saw the nation deepening in Electoral disputes.
With the long outstanding alignment of Electoral laws to the New Constitution adopted in 2013, it was high time and good chances of doing the alignment during the COVID-19 lockdown regulations time. It was very perfect time to have such a process taking place but it is unfortunate that the nation is requesting this from ZEC.
NERA last week approached ZEC on demanding to know why such alignment and certain reforms are not being implemented. Their answer was that they are not responsible for alignment and reforms but they simply recommend such items to Parliament.
NERA further demanded to know which sections ZEC has so far recommended. Unfortunately, the answer was simply a cold shoulder.
Our argument now is ZEC must do:
1. Biometric Voting system as used in Namibia (SADC approved).
2. Clear and transparent treatment of Postal or Absentee Votes (Teachers and others).
3. The integrity check of the Voters Roll (especially in light of the ghost Voters). by stakeholders
4. The registration of Political Parties. Zanu PF and the Intelligence agencies are using proxies to convolute the number of legitimate contestants.
5. Stop harassment of candidates by State agencies and other political parties hooligans
6. Display of Polling Stations results at every polling station
Outside all the above then:
1. Why do we need to go ahead with by-elections before our field of play is agreed upon by both parties to be level.
2. Under these very hard economic conditions, why do we need to spend millions of unbudgeted funds into by-elections rather than putting such resources into industrial resuscitation and Electoral systems upgrading
3. Should we go back into Elections again that shall be disputed by day end.
4. ZEC has proved toothless on the Chegutu West 2018 elections results dispute between MDC Alliance and Zanu Pf where losing candidate by 20 votes, which ZEC admitted even before their announcement of results but failed to do the right thing while the loser is now a member of Parliament.
5. ZEC should also engage all stakeholders in the Electoral activities coming up with such as; delimitation, mapping, and voter registration
6. All Presidential aspirants to pay $20,000.00. Refundable only if one gets over 100,000 Votes.
7. ZEC should enshrine, voters’ rights to recall incompetent members of Parliament, this should be enacted in the electoral act.
As NERA we are standing our grounds and request ZEC, Parliament, and the government to seriously look into such implementation and alignments.