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ZEC backtracking on reforms, bars main opposition from consultative meeting

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been accused of backtracking on the implementation of electoral reforms amid concerns that it barred the main opposition MDC Alliance from attending a provincial political party consultative meeting in Harare.

Advocate Fadzayi Mahere
Advocate Fadzayi Mahere

On Wednesday, the MDC Alliance’s Willas Madzimure was barred from attending a ZEC consultative meeting.

MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere confirmed: “Hon. Madzimure of the MDC Alliance has been barred from ZEC’s provincial consultative meeting for political parties which is scheduled for tomorrow in Harare. ZEC has an obligation to consult all stakeholders and to be independent.

In a statement, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) noted that the commission had not implemented most of the reforms that were raised after the disputed 2018 election.

ZESN said some of the critical reforms that have not been addressed include;

*strengthening the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)

*reviewing legal provisions around voter registration and the voters’ roll

*voter education and election observation

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*tightening the provisions on results management to enhance transparency, reduce suspicion and results contestation

*streamlining election dispute mechanisms

*domesticating the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG)

*enhancing electoral administration through clearer legal provisions and electoral practice

*reviewing provisions on political party registration and regulation

*establishing a clear legal provisions around the delimitation of electoral boundaries

*implementing the provisions under Section 287 of the Constituency on integrity and ethics on the role of traditional leaders in elections

*the right to vote and the inclusion of women, young persons and persons with disability in electoral and governance processes as well as in political representation

*evening the electoral playing field and improving the political environment among other administrative electoral reforms which do not require any amendments to the electoral laws.

ZESN added: “Media law and policy reforms remain in limbo despite the regulatory powers conferred on ZEC concerning the media during election periods. There have not been any changes to the ZEC media monitoring legal framework informed by experiences of previous elections.

“ZESN has noted the issuance of new radio and television broadcasting licenses which have resulted in a plurality of players, of concerns are sentiments from key electoral stakeholders that the stations remain appendages of the State and the country risks having a perpetuation of biased media coverage of elections, which is an anathema to democracy.

“ZESN calls upon the government to move with speed in the implementation of the electoral reforms, as most remain unattended at a time when Zimbabwe is barely two years away from yet another set of harmonized elections in 2023.

“If addressed early, the reforms would contribute to a more credible electoral process. Having to rush electoral law changes on the eve of elections, as has been the case in the past, is not in the best interest of democracy.” Nehanda Radio