‘Electoral laws reform remain superficial’

REFORMS to Zimbabwe’s contentious election laws will remain superficial to the actual management of polls unless there were material changes to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s most important committees, the opposition MDC-T has said.


Party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora told NewsDay yesterday that while proposed changes to the Electoral Act might go a long way to creating a level playing field, Zec had a “dark committee” that literally was in charge of the whole election process, but run by the State.

“The proposed amendments to the Electoral Act do not touch the real fundamentals in terms of election management. They do not provide for the external auditing of the voters’ roll or allow stakeholder input into the printing of ballots,” he said.

“Most importantly though, Zec’s logistics committee remains in the hands of the State. Run by officials seconded from the military, the police and Central Intelligence Organisation. This is the most important committee yet Zec staffers do not have control over its operations. There is need to de-militarise this committee if our elections are to be truly credible, free and fair.”

Zimbabwe’s main political protagonists represented in Parliament were locked in discussions to amend the country’s poll regulations as part of concerted efforts to create a playfield with a semblance of fairness ahead of a crucial general election expected in a few months’ time.

The opposition had listed a litany of demands, with presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa representing the MDC Alliance, a loose coalition of the MDC-T and fringe parties, declaring there would be no election in Zimbabwe without concrete reforms.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, keen to make a clean break from his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s perennially disputed elections, has consistently pronounced his wish for a clean poll.

While Mwonzora and the MDC-T, in particular, continue to wail about a constricted political playfield, Zanu PF argues the opposition was scrambling for scapegoats in the face of an electoral annihilation.

Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said the committee was a creature of Zec.

“Zec is running its business without interference from Zanu PF or the government. We are happy and all we wait for as Zanu PF is for Zec to provide all necessary logistics that will allow Zimbabweans to freely choose their leaders,” he said.

“The MDC will always complain because they do not have support on the ground. They can certainly smell an electoral defeat and are already looking around for reasons to explain their impending loss. They are looking for excuses to explain their perennial failure to win elections.”

Zec acting chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana requested questions in writing, but had not responded at the time of going to print.

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  1. What was Chris Mutsvangwa (President’s Special Advisor) and Justice Chigumba (Z.E.C Chairperson) doing in Russia? “Zec is running its business without interference from Zanu PF or the government.” Are you sure about that statement Paul Mangwana? This election already is being manipulated as we speak. Why is Chiwenga and Mnangagwa not campaigning? Jona is right in his answer #THEY ARE ALREADY IN THE PROCESS OF RIGGING THE ELECTION. By let me say time has come and now is the time for the young generation to take the reigns of power because #GOD ALMIGHTY IS IN IT.Unoti Mwari havaoni kutambura kwevanhu veZimbabwe here? time over for the Junta Barbarism. WECHIDIKI BATA NYANGA MAYOUTH AJAMUKA

  2. The several MDCs are well represented in Parliament, and that’s where the Electoral Act is being debated and will eventually be made into law. If any party has proposals in regard to that law, they are given an opportunity to do so in Parliament. If the MDC preferences do not find their way into the law, it’s only because Zanu PF has greater representation in Parliament. There is no other way to make or change a law besides through a Parliamentary process, and I don’t know what the MDCs want the government to do about this.

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