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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomePoliticsZim’s Electoral Integrity in Question Amid Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Zim’s Electoral Integrity in Question Amid Proposed Constitutional Amendments

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The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has voiced significant concerns over proposed constitutional amendments that could dramatically change the country’s electoral landscape.

In a statement, ZESN criticized the motion which aims to shift critical electoral responsibilities from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to the Registrar-General’s Office.

“The proposed changes are a step back from the progressive reforms made in the past,” said ZESN. “Transferring these key duties to separate government bodies not only undermines ZEC’s independence but also threatens the public’s trust in our electoral system.”

The amendments in question would see the Registrar-General’s Office taking over voter registration, a move that ZESN believes could compromise the impartiality of elections.

Additionally, the responsibility for delimiting electoral boundaries would be removed from ZEC, reverting to a previous system managed by a Delimitation Commission.

“These proposals could return us to a pre-2009 era, negating years of progress,” ZESN added. “It’s essential to maintain an independent electoral commission to ensure fair and unbiased elections.”

ZESN’s stance is that the centralization of electoral processes under ZEC since 2009 has been in line with regional best practices, enhancing electoral legitimacy and ensuring independence from political influence.

The network points to similar structures in neighbouring countries like Malawi, Zambia, and Kenya, where electoral commissions handle both voter registration and delimitation.

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The 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, which emerged from a people-driven process, clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of ZEC, including the oversight of elections and referendums, voter registration, and the delimitation of constituencies.

ZESN warns that frequent amendments to the Constitution, such as the 23 changes introduced by Amendment No. 2, could destabilize the electoral system and erode public confidence.

“Instead of altering the Constitution, we should focus on strengthening the independence and capacity of ZEC,” ZESN urged. “The government must consider the proposals made by civil society organizations to enhance ZEC’s autonomy and public accessibility.”

The call to action emphasizes the need for a transparent and accountable electoral commission, capable of conducting its duties without external interference, as stipulated by Section 235 of the Constitution.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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