Civic society organisations would like to see the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) reformed, Ndodana Ndlovu, Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (Zesn) field officer for Matabeleland has said.
Ndlovu said this at Stanley Hall in Makokoba last week during an Ideas Festival meeting organised by non-governmental organisation, Bulawayo Agenda.
“We met this year as civic society organisations and agreed there is great need for Zec to be reformed.
The body must be independent so that it would oversee elections in a transparent way,” Ndlovu said.
He said Zec should not work as a “government department”.
The Electoral Amendment Bill, which was before Parliament, emphasised the need to ensure that Zec was independent, he said.
“We are told that the body is now independent, but we are worried about the body’s actual independence,” he told the meeting attended by representatives of different residents’ associations from around the country as well as councillors.
He said another sticking point about Zec which Zesn had found issue with, was the fact that the body “has no power to announce the date of elections”.
“It is the Head of State who has powers vested in him to call for elections and that to us is worrying. Somebody who is an interested candidate must not be given the mandate to set the date for elections as well,” he said.
He said in that regard, Zec did not have muscle as “it does not have the capacity to set the election date”.
Ndlovu also said civic society organisations would like to see the accreditation of observers “being fair and not biased”.