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2023 elections to produce another disputed result – ERC

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By Anna Chibamu

THE 2023 national elections are likely to produce another disputed result if no meaningful political, electoral and other key reforms are implemented before the next plebiscite.

Launching its Election Reform Barometer in Harare Thursday, the Electoral Resource Centre (ERC) said it was of concern that 16 months after the July 2018 election, only one reform had been partially dealt with.

Zimbabwe last held its election in 2018, which President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu PF won.

However, the MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa contested the result and still insists he won the poll. The stalemate between Chamisa and Mnangagwa continues and has been blamed for the collapse of the country’s economy.

Zanu PF at its annual congress, endorsed Mnangagwa as their 2023 presidential candidate.

Addressing the media at the launch of the barometer, Tawanda Chimhini, the ERC director said Zimbabwe had performed badly in terms of implementing key reforms ahead of the 2023 elections.

“Zimbabwe has performed badly on issues to do with the independence of the electoral commission, transparency and accountability, conduct of our institutions, role of traditional leaders and the role of the public,” Chimhini said.

“If we continue going at the rate we are going right now and if we do not see any movement around these issues, chances are high that come 2023, we can literally write a Zimbabwe election report now where we highlight some of the issues that we have consistently raised as being problematic.”

He went on to raise concerns over piecemeal reforms the government has put on the table arguing the ministerial task-force overseeing electoral reform issues was not responsive to issues raised by civic society organisations.

“On SADC principles and standards, Zimbabwe has performed well but on areas where we noticed our elections have been disputed, we have performed dismally. 16 months after elections were held, the country has virtually dealt with one area partially though,” said Chimhini.

He said the partial reform was that the voters roll can now be pasted outside polling stations.

“We are worried about the piece meal approach towards reforms; we are worried about the very exclusive approach towards reforms that government has an inter-ministerial task force on political and electoral reforms which is supposed to come up with an agenda for reforms,” added Chimhini.

The ERC director also expressed his displeasure over how the government ministerial task-force on political and electoral reforms was snubbing his organisation to meet and appreciate the work the State was doing in implementing required reforms.

“We have formally requested to meet with the task-force so that we have an appreciation on what they are working on and their terms of reference, interact with stakeholders, but all these requests have been turned down,” said Chimhini.