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'Sadc, a toothless bulldog'

by Staff reporter
12 Aug 2022 at 06:37hrs | Views
THE Citizens in Action Southern Africa (Ciasa) has accused the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) of failing to effectively deal with electoral crises in countries such as Zimbabwe.

In a report titled Electoral Landscape in the context of Pending Elections, Ciasa said, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) failed to comply with the law in the past elections, but Sadc has been mum about it.

Ciasa pointed out that all issues raised in past reports by election observer missions must be sorted out before the 2023 polls.

"Heading into the 2023 harmonised elections, it is notable that it appears the 2013 and 2018 Sadc Election Observer Missions (SEOMs) reports noted lack of transparency and that lack of timeous access to an electronic voters roll for all parties and citizens will be repeated," read the Ciasa report.

It said the fact that Sadc took a conciliatory and minimalist approach in dealing with Zimbabwe's electoral issues did not augur well for the 2023 polls.

Analysts said if Zec failed to implement recommendations made by observer missions such as Sadc, the 2023 elections will again fail the credibility test.

"Without reforms to enable a level playing field and ensure impartial law enforcement and  management of elections, we are going into a disputed electoral outcome which will drag the country further into a political and economic crisis," political analyst Effie Ncube said.

Another political analyst Vivid Gwede said Sadc should be proactive to ensure that recommendations on Zimbabwean electoral reforms are adhered to before the 2023 polls.

"Zec has failed to be transparent on the voters roll. Nothing at the moment indicates that necessary changes are being made to ensure the 2023 harmonised elections are different, which is a ticking time bomb. An inclusive process of radical electoral reforms needs to be undertaken urgently," Gwede said, adding that Sadc should undertake pre-election assessments as part of its wider electoral observation process.

Academic Methuseli Moyo said: "Transparency and accessibility of an electoral process makes the process trustworthy. It is in the interest of everybody for Zec to comply with the law on issues of access to the voters roll and general transparency so that we have a system that delivers a process that is free and fair."

Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana , however, argued that the country's electoral body has been transparent.

"Zec has been issuing the voters roll in the previous elections. The biometric voter registration blitz also testifies to the commission's adherence to the law. We are preparing for the 2023 elections and we can assure the public that there will not be any problems," Mangwana said.

He further indicated that Zec has not failed to comply with the law and any stakeholder who is not satisfied with the voters roll should approach the courts.

"We have never had a case whereby a stakeholder approached the courts to say they have not been given the voters roll," he added.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe