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‘ZEC remains captured, continues to work as an appendage of Zanu-PF’

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are anticipating another disputed election this year arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) “remains captured and continues to work as an appendage of Zanu-PF”.

Zimbabwean elections for the past two decades have been marred with irregularities linked to alleged rigging by the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The country is set to hold its harmonised general elections either in July or August. But the civil society organisations have envisioned a disputed election owing to ZEC being allegedly captured by Zanu-PF.

On January 17, 2023, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) hosted a CSOs Indaba on the ZEC delimitation process and the general political environment ahead of the 2023 general elections.

CiZC cited a number of technical concerns that, if left unresolved, will lead to a “rigged” election outcome.

The issue of the controversial ZEC preliminary delimitation report was also raised as an aspect that showed that the electoral body intended to rig elections in favour of Zanu-PF.

“Participants noted that while the ZEC delimitation process is fraught with irregularities and remains part of a broader scheme by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to rig elections in favour of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, it remains part of a broader scheme to tilt the electoral environment in favour of Zanu-PF.

“ZEC remains captured and continues to work as an appendage of Zanu-PF and this points out to discredited elections in 2023. In some areas of the country, there has been a deliberate attempt to frustrate potential voters and a huge number of citizens remain disenfranchised,” read a statement by CiZC.

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With elections due in a few months time, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), claim that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is yet to implement recommendations of the previous election observers.

“Electoral reforms remain a pipe dream in Zimbabwe with the country’s elections failing to meet guidelines of the African Charter on Elections, Democracy and Governance.

“Zimbabwe is yet to implement recommendations from previous Electoral Observer Missions including recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry relating to the conduct of credible elections.

“This points to yet another illegitimate election in 2023 Zimbabwe continues to witness political violence which is being perpetrated by the ruling Zanu-PF against the country’s major opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and this has created an uneven playing field with the State making concerted efforts to ban opposition events.

“Selective application of the law has resulted in ruling party activists perpetrating violence with impunity.

“Traditional leaders and war veterans continue to openly campaign for Zanu-PF while threatening violence against the opposition against the dictates of the constitution.

“Ahead of the 2023 elections, the country continues to witness law fare against opposition activists while law enforcement agents continue to conduct themselves in a partisan manner and this continues to dent the credibility of the 2023 polls.”

CiZC said it would continue with mobilisation efforts at the grassroots level to empower citizens to demand free, fair and credible polls.

“This includes ensuring that citizens reject a flawed process with pre-determined outcomes.

“The Coalition shall intensify advocacy campaigns at the regional and international level and this also includes pushing for long-term observer missions ahead of the 2023 elections,” said the CiZC.