Election Resource Centre has appealed to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to provide Magistrates for all by-elections and the harmonized elections to preside over cases of election related malpractices.
In a paper titled Not enough, but adequate! An analysis of the Legal framework in addressing election related political violence and intimidation, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) bewailed political violence and intimidation which it said is at the centre of Zimbabwe’s democratic journey.
“Immediately after an election is announced, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) must designate one or more magistrates in each province in which the election is to be held, to try cases involving politically motivated violence and intimidation, and these magistrates must give priority to all such cases and ensure that they are brought to trial and completed as expeditiously as possible.
“In the same vein, the Prosecutor-General must ensure that during every election period, sufficient competent prosecutors are provided to ensure that all cases of politically-motivated violence and intimidation arising within the area in which the election is being held are processed quickly and brought to court as soon as possible before the designated magistrates,” reads the paper.
Zimbabwe, since it’s independence in 1980, has had a culture that has contributed significantly to questions around the credibility, freeness and fairness of election contests.
“The Election Resource Centre (ERC) maintains that more is needed to strengthen the legislative and administrative frameworks of elections to effectively address the scourge of violence together with ensuring that institutions, particularly constitutional bodies, are strengthened to exercise their full legal and constitutional mandates independently and professionally,” the Tawanda Chimhini led organisation said.
ERC said the prevailing framework is generally weak and “is underutilized and to some extent misinterpreted” calling for the disqualification of all candidates who resort to violence and or intimidation.
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