BY VENERANDA LANGA
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday said it is now rebranding and cleaning its image in the face of negative perceptions on the electoral body by many citizens.
This was revealed by Zec commissioner Joyce Kazembe and Zec director of the legal department Shamiso Chahuruva during an Actionaid workshop in Kariba on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
The two were reporting on how Zec has been implementing provisions stipulated in the charter to do with elections.
Zimbabwe is yet to fully become a member State because it has to complete the ratification process by depositing the charter at the African Union.
“We are looking at what we should do as Zec to improve our brand because we note that there has been a negative impression about us,” Kazembe said.
“Most of the negative impression about Zec, as cited by the Afrobarometer survey, stems from the 2008 elections, but after that there has been an improvement
in our image, but we have experienced a heavy blow on our image and we want to work on that.”
Most opposition supporters have negative perceptions about Zec and during the 2018 elections, they accused the electoral body of conniving with Zanu PF to rig
the elections in favour of the ruling party.
Kazembe said there is need to finetune the code of conduct for political parties.
“We have noticed that the current code of conduct is a soft document. In South Africa, they actually have sanctions that if a political party misbehaves they
are disqualified from campaigning in that specific area for some time,” Kazembe said.
She said they were also working with the Sadc Parliamentary Forum to come up with a model law on elections.
Kazembe said Zec was also looking at the issue of the diaspora voter.
Chahuruva also said a number of suggestions on electoral reforms have emerged, including the independence of Zec in the face of accusations that the electoral
body was full of people from the security sector.
“We are also looking at issues to do with the women’s quota for the next elections because if the Constitution is not amended then the proportional
representation quota system for women will not be there in the next elections,” she said.
Zimbabwe Elections Support Network board member Okay Machisa noted that civic groups lobbied hard and pushed Parliament to approve ratification of ACDEG in
order for democracy to prevail in the country and to improve the running of elections.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice Misheck Mataranyika said Parliament was also playing its part in implementing ACDEG, with all
crafted Bills first going for public hearings to gather input from members of the public in line with section 141 of the Constitution.
Constitutional expert James Tsabora said ACDEG is an important treaty for democracy in Africa, political stability and social development.