By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has identified 20 key electoral principles to be incorporated into the proposed Electoral Bill ahead of the 2023 elections.
A defiant MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has already vowed not to go into the 2023 harmonised elections without comprehensive electoral reforms.
“Right now, we are talking about 2023 elections. There can never be an election without resolving the 2018 political issues.
“So, if we are going 2023, I can assure you, we will be back to square one. We will win the election in 2023, V11 forms will be manipulated and altered,” Chamisa said.
The party intends to submit a document with proposed 20 electoral principles to Parliament and other relevant authorities before the next elections.
The document also revolves around the need to entrench the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Below are the major highlights of the key principles proposed by the opposition party:
1. The Supremacy of the Constitution must be the guiding principle in ensuring regular, free, fair and credible Democratic Elections depicting separation of powers of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature;
2. An Independent Expert-Based Electoral Management Board appointed through an open
and inclusive Parliamentary driven process;
3. Strengthening the Independence of ZEC that is accountable to Parliament characterised by operational and administrative autonomy in the promulgation and operationalisation of electoral laws and the management of its internal affairs;
4. Transparency and accountability of ZEC in the implementation of all electoral processes and the Institutionalisation of permanent Stakeholder Consultative Platforms;
5. Strengthening the principle of Universal adult suffrage and its applicability to all eligible citizens regardless of residence status (Diasporas), physical infirmity, age and, or imprisonment;
6. A fair, transparent and inclusive delimitation process devoid of political interference and biased persuasions, conducted by a professional and impartial body with a clearly defined operational
7. A liberalised, comprehensive, inclusive and continuous voter education partnership between ZEC, Political Parties, CSOS and other relevant stakeholders;
8. Voter registration should be characterised by bare minimum principles of continuity, trust, inclusivity, accuracy, transparency and automatic registration of first-time voters.
9. An independently auditable Voters Roll that is accurate, verifiable and readily accessible to all electoral stakeholders in a format that allows for electoral planning and analysis;
10.A free, fair and even Electoral environment with enforceable Codes of Conduct, upholding the Citizens’ fundamental Freedoms and human rights;
11. Gender inclusive electoral processes with increased youth and women participation and representation;
12. Free Observer Accreditation undertaken by an independent panel chaired by the EMB, and ensuring full throttle observation of components of the electoral cycle;
13. Adjudication of Election disputes in a fair and timeous manner, and strengthening the Complainants right to be heard and to an appropriate legal remedy;
14. Professional Impartial and publicly scrutinised Election officials with no traceable membership to any political party, nor linkage to any security sector institution;
15. Transparency and auditability of ZEC Procurement systems, Design, Reproduction, Custody and Distribution of all sensitive election material;
16. Fairness, Transparency and accessibility in the allocation of Polling Stations, permanently gazetted by law, within a specific radius and reach to the elderly and other voters with physical mobility challenges;
17: Special Voting processes should be transparent, guarantee Universal Suffrage, and must protect the secrecy of the vote of all eligible voters unable to access their polling stations on the day of voting
18: Assisted voting may be sought on account of people with disability, illiteracy and physical infirmities, and must be endorsed on the Voters’ roll and the list availed to Candidates, Polling Agents and Observers to allow for scrutiny;
19. An effective and reliable voter verification system that eliminates electoral fraud, multiple voting, and voter impersonification;
20: A Common, Inclusive, transparent, traceable, and auditable Real-time Results Management and Transmission system of all the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Authority election results. Nehanda Radio