THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) says the Copac-led draft constitution is silent on how many votes a winner in the presidential race should garner to be declared a winner.
Report by Charles Laiton Senior Reporter
In its latest review released last week, Zesn said a proper constitution should prescribe the terms of the winner rather than leaving it to the Electoral Act as was the case with the draft.
Zesn also said the current draft was silent on a time limit for the announcement of presidential election results, raising fears the vacuum could be manipulated and announcement of results delayed for several weeks as happened with the March 2008 presidential election results.
“Regarding the announcement of election results, it merely says that ‘the results (must be) announced as soon as possible after the close of the polls’,” read the report.
Zesn said under the current constitution, there was no provision on challenging election results, but the provisions were, however, in the Electoral Act, which provides for a challenge within 30 days of the announcement of the election result.
The Copac draft, however, had specific provisions on challenging the validity of a presidential election in the Constitutional Court within seven days of the declaration of the result.
Zesn hailed the incorporation of the right to vote in the Bill of Rights which it said puts the right to vote at the same level as other fundamental rights which could be enforced easily by direct access to the highest court.
It also noted that the draft allowed prisoners to vote regardless of the length of their sentence while all Zimbabweans, regardless of their citizenship, were allowed to vote for as long as they were in Zimbabwe during election time and were duly registered.
On the question of freedom of expression, Zesn said the Copac draft was a significant improvement in that it mentioned specifically some important issues which were implied by section 20 of the current constitution.
In terms of the total number of legislators, Zesn says the Copac draft provided for an increase of 55 more members which it believes would further strain the fiscus and the already overburdened taxpayer.