HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsTime for Zec to mend relations with opposition parties

Time for Zec to mend relations with opposition parties

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The evaluation of the prospective biometric voter registration (BVR) kits suppliers came to an end on Wednesday, a key milestone ahead of next year’s elections.

Comment: NewsDay Editor

The BVR system is quite delicate and could make or break the 2018 elections and there is need for utmost transparency between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and the political players that have been observing the testing of the kits.

Already, the opposition is crying foul and fears there could be some chicanery with the handling of information after it has been collected from prospective voters.

Zec has a duty to move in swiftly and explain to the political players how the system will work to allay fears of voter fraud, as such allegations have been a blemish on Zimbabwe’s electoral system.

In 2013, Zanu PF managed to hide the voters’ roll from their competitors and somehow got away with it, but this time they may not be so lucky as the opposition is more vigilant.

To this date, the opposition blame their defeat on unfair electoral practices regarding the voters’ register and it is important for Zec to be transparent so the credibility of the next elections is not questioned.

So far, the relationship between Zec and the opposition is characterised by tension and suspicion, as the electoral body is accused of not being fair and opaque in its operations.

Zec has a golden opportunity, with this BVR exercise, to improve its relationship with every political player so that next year’s elections are credible, free and fair.

It would be unfortunate if this toxic relationship is carried over to next year, as by then it would be too late for the elections body to redeem itself in the eyes of the electorate.

On the other hand, opposition parties should not be cry-babies and allow their emotions to cloud their judgments on the voter registration exercise.

What is needed is for them to engage Zec robustly and to be vigilant throughout the whole exercise.

If there are any suspicious shenanigans, they must not hesitate to speak out and provide evidence that they would have uncovered.

It would be unhelpful for them to cry out wolf each time they suspect rigging, yet they fail to provide conclusive evidence, as some people will stop taking them seriously even if they have the evidence of vote manipulation.

There is need for Zec and every political player to develop a relationship based on trust and transparency, as the country’s future depends on how they carry themselves out in the next 12 or so months.

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