ZEC turns down CCC observers, claims “party not a PVO or trust’
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) refused to allow the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) to field its observers during the voter registration blitz which ran from 11 to 30 April citing that the party was not a Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) or a trust as required by the Electoral Act.
Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) and Election Resource Centre (ERC) recently noted that political parties in Zimbabwe failed to deploy much needed observers during the second phase of voter registration blitz.
The ruling Zanu-PF party had the highest with 13 number of agents while CCC had 10. MDC-A had a presence in 5 centres while other political parties had a combined number of 8 agents across the country.
Nehanda Radio contacted CCC deputy secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga over the issue. She said the opposition party contacted ZEC seeking an order allowing them to send their observers but the electoral body turned them down.
This is despite the fact that CCC participated in the March 26 by-elections and won 19 parliamentary seats out of 28.
“We applied for accreditation but unfortunately we were denied that opportunity based on the reason that we are not a PVO nor a trust hence we don’t qualify for accreditation according to the Electoral Act,” Shiriyedenga said.
“However, that was surprising and discriminatory in the sense that we are a political entity that has candidates that were dully nominated to participate in the 26 March by-elections. So really, the decision to stop us was surprising.”
She added: “However, we did not stop there as a party, we had our people on the ground. I’m sure you would see from our social media posts and people on the ground that were doing door to door voter mobilisation.
“We also positioned our people at some strategic points to assist those that wanted to register to vote at places that were nearer to voter registration centres.”
Shiriyedenga also shared a ZEC letter dated February 12, in which the opposition was denied an opportunity to deploy agents.
“We regret to advise that political parties do not meet the requirements of clause 31) of the Electoral (Accreditation of Observers) Regulations 2013 which requires that a local organisation wishing to apply for accreditation of its representatives as observers must be registered as a Private Voluntary Oganisation in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act (Chapter 17:05] or published under a Notarial Deed of Trust registered in the Deeds Office in terms of the Deeds Registries Act (Chapter 20:05],” read a letter by ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba.
Civil society and faith based organizations (excluding the ERC and ZESN observers) had 52 representatives observing the registration process.
“Uniformed and Security Personnel Primarily security personnel are deployed to provide security for ZEC officials, registrants. citizens and equipment used by the Commission.
“In addition, they help in maintaining law and order and ensuring a peaceful atmosphere during the process. ZESN and ERC observers reported that Zimbabwe Republic Police officers were deployed at 352 at the observed centres.” the ZEC letter read.
Zimbabwe is set to hold its harmonised election in 2023. CCC leader Nelson Chamisa and Zanu-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa are likely to face each other for the second time.