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Election Budget Welcome: ERC

Leading poll watchdog, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has bemoaned the lack of a clear and sound operational plan from the election management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

In an interview with 263Chat, Tawanda Chimhini, the ERC executive director said the absence of a clear operational plan including timelines and deliverables was unfortunate considering that elections are now less than 10 months away.

Though Chimhini welcomed the US$132.2 million budget allocation for next year’s elections, he felt the government’s positive move will be in vain in the absence of a proper and coordinated plan, “It is however unfortunate that this development comes against a background where ZEC is yet to avail a clear operational plan for the impending elections which includes clear timelines and deliverables.”

Presenting the 2018 budget, Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the government was willing to provide resources to support next year’s general elections.

Chinamasa’s allocation adds to the US$13.7 million, the government has already availed for the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration process.

Chimhini urged ZEC to “account for the resources based on a publicly shared operational plan.”

The think tank and advocacy institution on elections said there is need to properly prioritize crucial qualitative aspects of the election.

“Prioritization of crucial qualitative aspects of the election process to enhance integrity, freeness and fairness of the electoral processes for the budget to really benefit the ordinary Zimbabwean who is giving the US$132, 2 million through various taxes,” Chimhini said.

Chimhini urged treasury to process the disbursement of the funds in a transparent manner that enhances the credibility of ZEC.”

Though Chinamasa’s budgetary allocation falls short of the proposed US$274, Chimhini said it was a step in the right direction adding that it allows election stakeholders to track the performance of the election management body for purposes of holding it accountable

“Given previous experiences, where election budgets were erratic and inadequate, this development is commendable as it allows for planning, accountability and transparency, in tandem with international practices,” Chimhini said.

 

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