ERC urges inclusive 2018 poll review process by government

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By Staff Reporter

ELECTIONS NGO, Electoral Resource Centre (ERC) has welcomed the recent setting up of an inter-ministerial task force to follow up on recommendations made by observers in the country’s disputed 2018 polls but was quick to urge an all-inclusive process.

Different local and international observer groups to the July 30 elections said while there was relative improvement in the handling of Zimbabwean polls, more was still needed in order to enhance citizen confidence in the country’s most divisive public process.

These include, among others, the strengthening of the independence of ZEC, the impartiality of state-owned media, the introduction of legal measures to mitigate abuse of state resources by the incumbent as well as aligning electoral laws with the country’s constitution.

In his post-election comments, President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledged the comments and pledged his government’s commitments to implementing the recommendations.

Since the polls, the country has presided over some by-elections amid concerns by local poll watchdogs the comments by observer groups were not being put into practice.

In a statement, ERC hailed the government move to set up the taskforce although expressing regret this has taken close to half a year to set in motion.

The group said the process must include actors outside government corridors for it to generate the much-needed confidence in a country with inherent citizen suspicions over the freeness and fairness of local polls.

“The ERC maintains that an inclusive and accountable model to pursue electoral and political reforms is the best foot forward for Zimbabwe,” said ERC.

“A government instituted, government led, and government determined pursuit of electoral and political reforms faces an uphill task as it must pass the inclusivity, public confidence and accountability test.

“A government model for electoral and political reforms may only succeed if government enjoys the full support and confidence of all stakeholders.”

The poll based group urged “an inclusive and accountable approach to electoral and political reforms based on measurable indicators that are time bound.”

“In establishing any model to consider and institute reforms Zimbabwe’s context should be considered to give any changes adopted a fair chance of being sustainable,” said ERC.