THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has dismissed as mere speculation suggestions by Zanu PF that next year’s elections could be held earlier than expected.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
In an interview yesterday on the side-lines of the signing ceremony of a $1 million donation to the electoral body by the Japanese government, Zec deputy chairperson, Emmanuel Magade said elections could only be held between June and August and not earlier.
Zanu PF has reportedly been pushing for early polls, with the party’s secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo claiming President Robert Mugabe has the sole right to proclaim the dates as he wishes.
This comes as Zec, normally accused of bending rules to favour Zanu PF, is under the spotlight to avoid the Kenyan scenario, where the courts nullified the presidential elections over irregularities.
“As far as we are concerned, this is a matter of speculation. We cannot read the crystal ball and say the elections will be on such dates until the proclamation is issued by the President,” Magade said.
“Elections will be held sometime between June and August, so once the registration process is completed by the end of year or early next year, then we will be ready. They are speculating and I don’t want to join that speculation.”
On the Kenyan experience, Magade said the only lesson they had drawn was to be thorough on all the electoral processes. “If we hold the elections in accordance with the law, as we intend to, then we will not have a replication of the Kenyan scenario here. But that is not a criticism of the Kenyan people. I am not privy to what transpired there. The lesson is that you have to be scrupulous and meticulous in observing your electoral law.”
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country representative, Bishow Parajuli said the gesture from the Japanese government was welcome, as elections involved a lot of logistical arrangements.
“I am pleased that the government of Japan has decided to join other donors to support the UNDP’s project of supporting fair and transparent elections in an effort to promote the work of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” he said.
Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Toshiyuki Iwado said elections were the cornerstone of democracy. “The elections provide all Zimbabweans with the opportunity to exercise their sovereign right to choose their representatives for the years to come.
As such, the electoral process has to be free, fair, transparent and inclusive,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Harare man, Pride Mkono wrote to Zec yesterday demanding the publication of names and qualifications of master trainers and technicians that were being trained by the electoral body.