INDEPENDENT electoral watchdog, Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn), and 50 other civic society groups have petitioned Parliament to take bold steps to end the country’s history of disputed elections by reforming electoral laws ahead of the 2023 polls.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Part of the petition read:“Cognisant of the transition that took place in Zimbabwe in November 2017 ,which sought to break Zimbabwe from its past of autocracy, and usher in democratic reform; concerned at the slow pace of legal reforms in addressing the democratic deficit since the promulgation of the new Constitution in May 2013; alarmed by the administrative lethargy in the Executive arm of the State to address this misalignment of some statutes relevant to electoral processes to the Constitution. … your petitioners appeal for the set up an all-inclusive electoral reform committee to deliberate on political, administrative and other legal reforms that are needed to enhance the credibility of Zimbabwe’s electoral processes”
Signed by over 50 civic society organisations, the petition noted that current laws had loopholes which resulted in electoral disputes that have affected the legitimacy of
Zimbabwe has had a history of contested electoral outcomes; mainly because of a legal framework that does not embrace principles for the discharge of democratic elections.”
Zesn wants President Emmerson Mnangagwa to reform the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) by removing State security agents from the elections management board, among other proposed changes.
“In particular, your petitioners seek this House to take into account the following issues for the democratic overhaul of Zimbabwe’s Electoral Law and electoral processes , enhancing the independence of Zec and other independent commissions connected to the electoral cycle,” the petition read.
The commission of inquiry into the August 1, 2018 post-election violence, which was chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, also recommended changes to the electoral laws.
The commission said reforms, if implemented, would improve the announcement of presidential results, create a traceable and auditable trail of the movement of results from polling stations to the national command