Election Watchdog Says ZEC Must Report To Parliament

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By Staff Reporter

POLL-BASED watchdog, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) says there was need for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to report to parliament as opposed to the executive.

ZESN programmes coordinator, Ellen Dingani told journalists in Kwekwe that this could be one of the ways to strengthen the independence of the poll authority while also trying to avoid what has often been disputed elections in the country.

“There is need to strengthen the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as envisaged for in sections 232 to 237 of the Constitution.

“The need for permanent Multi-Party Liaison Committees, need to strengthen ZEC’s capacity through post-election lessons, ZEC Manual review and that ZEC should avail information at all stages of the electoral process,” she said.

Dingani said, “In addition, the proposed changes intend to place control of the discharge of all electoral-related functions squarely under the control of the Commission, which would essentially be answerable to parliament.”

She further said, administratively, there was a challenge in the operations of ZEC as its budgets are approved by a minister.

“We think this compromises their independence. Their budgets are supposed, maybe to be tabled in parliament maybe under a portfolio committee that deals with finance.

“Once approved, it goes to Treasury and they get their resources from the treasury under the Public Finance Act,” she said.

Dingani added that some of the administrative changes proposed for the independence of ZEC include the issuance of instruction of manuals and circulars to ZEC staff to guide them in the performance of their duties.