UNDP pledges more electoral support

VISITING UNDP administrator Achim Steiner has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to be more transparent in order to gain public confidence and eventually deliver a free and fair election.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Steiner was speaking after visiting a voter registration centre in Mbare, in the company of Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba.

“We have learnt around the world that the line between triumph and tragedy is sometimes a narrow one, the work which your commission is undertaking now and leading through the stages that you have just described is so critical to the integrity and credibility of the validity of an election,” he said.

“The reason why I say the line between triumph and tragedy is sometimes very narrow is that the minute the electoral process loses the confidence of the public, all the work that has been done, all the registration, the ballot papers, all the hours that citizens spend in queues to vote suddenly are put into question, so the role of the electoral commission cannot be overstated.”

Steiner, who is expected to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition political parties, with representation in Parliament also committed to help fund Zimbabwe’s needs to ensure that elections will be free, fair and credible.

After meeting Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo separately, Steiner said the UNDP will continue to support Zimbabwe.

“The President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has made a commitment to the people of Zimbabwe to hold a free and fair election and therefore we are pleased and proud to be part of the effort to support Zec, not only on the technical side but also in the outreach of the voter education and any of the elements that make the election successful be part of our cooperation,” he said.

Justice Chigumba said Zec was nursing a huge budget deficit after government committed to fund $94 million out of the $140 million budget which Zec needs to run the polls.
UNDP has already assisted Zimbabwe with acquiring servers for the BVR system and the software for deduplication exercises.

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