Staffing of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has emerged as one of the remaining major sticking points in the construction of the election roadmap.
The roadmap, a copy of which is in NewsDay’s possession, indicates that both MDC formations want ZEC staff to be recruited afresh by the new commission and that the recruitment be done in a non partisan and transparent manner.
Zanu PF negotiators have however refused insisting: “There should be no changes of ZEC staff. Determination of the suitability is the responsibility of the Commission.”
There have been allegations that most ZEC staff are either serving or former security personnel drawn mostly from the Zimbabwe National Army and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
MDC-T also wants Sadc and other African monitors to be deployed six months before and after elections and the MDC wants the implementation of the Sadc Troika’s resolutions passed in Zambia last month, where it was agreed that three Sadc-appointed officers be deployed to work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee.
The Troika is chaired by President Rupiah Banda of Zambia. Zanu PF however says observation of elections must only be in accordance with the agreed amendments to the electoral Act.
According to the draft roadmap, the two MDC formations also want security forces to issue a public statement stating they will “unequivocally uphold the Constitution and respect the rule of law in the lead up to and following any election or referendum”.
Zanu PF however disagrees arguing that political parties “have no right to direct uniformed forces to issue political statements”.
The MDCs want an end to military and police abuse of the rule of law and are demanding that State-sponsored violence be stopped.
They also demand the demilitarisation of the country and in that regard, they want soldiers who have been allegedly deployed in the country sent back to the barracks.
Zanu PF however says it has no knowledge of abuse and State sponsored violence.
“We deny that there are serving members of the military doing political work and we invite evidence to be made available. We protest against the use of the word ‘demilitarisation’. It is a war term that is not applicable even in the circumstances as alleged by the MDC formations,” says Zanu PF, according to the roadmap.
The two MDC formations also want an Act of Parliament regulating the operations of the CIO arguing that according to Article XIII of the Global Political Agreement (GPA): “State organs and institutions do not belong to any party and should be impartial in their duties.” Zanu PF however believes that the issue has nothing to do with the GPA or elections but is an attack on the organisation.
Zanu PF says the issue will be resolved in the constitution-making exercise. MDC formations want the Public Order and Security Act to be amended and tightened so that it is not abused.
Zanu PF however says it needs to know the amendments before it comments.