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Mnangagwa's govt failing Zec

by Staff reporter
30 Nov 2022 at 05:07hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has admitted failing to run elections properly, but has laid the blame on poor funding by the State.

In its latest report on the March 26 by-elections, Zec complained that it was poorly resourced to run elections resulting in the electoral management body failing to even pay election agents.

"The payment of US$45 election allowances per day instead of US$60 affected the morale of recruited personnel. Local service providers compounded the situation by demanding payment in hard currency instead of the local currency, thus adversely affecting the preparations for the elections," the Zec report read.

"Personnel recruited for electoral activities need to be paid allowances in time in order to motivate them and hence avoid disturbances of any form. Further, allowances payable per day should be compensatory enough to keep election officers motivated."

Government set aside $76 billion in the 2023 national budget for next year's elections with $53 billion allocated for the actual polling process.

The European Union pledged US$5,9 million to support Zec.

Zec has appealed for timely release of the funds to oil its operations.

"The budget of the commission needs to be considered in its originality, especially on elections, to avoid compromising the quality-of-service delivery," Zec said.

 "The commission recommends that all election funds be released timeously, and in sufficient amounts to enable it to adequately prepare for and conduct elections. The State should fully capacitate the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to enable it to carry out the function of voter registration in terms of the law."

Policy think-tank, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) said the country was headed for another disputed election owing to failure by Zec to enhance conditions that guarantee credible polls.

ZDI made the warning in its November political economy review paper titled: The road to Zimbabwe's 2023 Plebiscite: Elections Without Democracy?.

"The ongoing preparations for the 2023 elections in Zimbabwe are already marred with a lot of incongruities when viewed in juxtaposition to the constitutional expectations," the ZDI report read.

"Electoral malpractices have already been identified which make another disputed election very likely in 2023. The current electoral environment in Zimbabwe resembles electoral authoritarian regimes which organise and conduct periodic elections to obtain at least a semblance of democratic legitimacy to entice external and internal actors. At the centre of electoral disputes in Zimbabwe is the country's election management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which has since become the centre of disputes regarding militarisation, Zanu-PF patronage, lack of transparency and accountability."

Opposition parties have also red-flagged Zec's failure to carry out its mandate to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

Zec has been in the eye of storm over its failure to release the voters roll and to act on electoral malpractices such as political violence and vote-buying, among others. ZDI argued that Zimbabwe has a "strong" legal framework which could guide the country to hold democratic elections, but there was lack of adherence to the law.

"Despite this progressive legal framework, Zec has become the centre of electoral disputes, instead of playing a pivotal role in championing democracy. In the aftermath of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe, the European Union Election Observer Mission noted that elections in Zimbabwe fell short of the minimum international standards for a free, fair and credible election. Contributing to this is Zec's continued implication in electoral malpractices and presiding over a manipulated voters roll," ZDI aded.

Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana requested questions in writing, but had not yet responded by the time of going to print.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe