THE admission by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) that some of its staff worked for the commission while still serving in the army, the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation, is quite shocking. Given that association of the security services with Zanu PF, itself a participant in the electoral process significantly compromises the commission’s integrity.
The fact that the commission is supposed to serve all political parties participating in elections means it should have no association with one political party at the expense of the others because that is a major fault line in the whole electoral process.
All the security arms from which these staffers are drawn are known for their allegiance to Zanu PF and their long distaste for opposition political parties in particular, and it would be foolhardy to believe that such seriously compromised official can preside over a credible electoral system.
The fact that these people were asked to resign upon securing employment at Zec is not a defence. They cannot resign from their history. It is for this reason that the opposition movement as well as civil society have always raised concern over the integrity of the country’s elections.
One of the ways that will demonstrate to the international community that the country has indeed turned a page following the elevation of Emmerson Mnangagwa to the presidency is overhauling the entire compromised electoral system and take into consideration the concerns raised by all stakeholders in the electoral system.
Failure to address these concerns will simply convince the international community that Zimbabwe still has no respect for internationally-recognised democratic tenets. The credibility of our polls has to be enforced by ensuring that those in charge of the elections are neutral and not compromised in any way.
The admission by Zec commissioner Joyce Kazembe that the commission was compromised is indeed a vindication of the opposition that has been calling for the reform of the electoral system and further buttresses claims the country is under military rule.
There could also be a serious compromise of the Constitution, which bars those serving in the security sector from being employed by the commission. The new government must act quickly to resolve these concerns.