By Munashe Makuwe
THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has described the allocation by Treasury of only 19% to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for 2021 budgetary requirements as a “mockery”.
Last month, minister of finance Mthuli Ncube presented the national budget for the fiscal year 2021, and ZEC was allocated 19% of their budgetary proposal.
However, in a statement Thursday, the ERC described the allocation as a “mockery”.
“ZEC must start preparations for the delimitation build-up processes and under funding the commission at this juncture is a mockery to the mandate of the commission and thus derails preparations towards the 2023 elections and has a direct impact on the quality of the elections in terms of universal suffrage and representation,” the ERC said.
It maintained the government must not negate on its obligations of adequately funding ZEC and institute required reforms and alignment of the laws to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The electoral body’s senior officials recently told legislators they were unable to conduct any outstanding parliamentary and local council by-elections due to the budgetary constraints.
“The financial support coupled with the necessary reforms are the bedrock that anchor electoral processes that meet constitutional benchmarks and regional and internationally agreed standards,” the ERC said.
“Under-resourcing ZEC does not in any way reflect the government’s sincerity to electoral processes in the country.”
The ERC added the inadequate funding would make it impossible for ZEC to fully prepare for the 2023 national elections by fulfilling its constitutional mandate for comprehensive voter education, registration and election administration as they were the key pillars of democracy.
“In the past, funds have been disbursed late resulting in last minute preparations and execution of electoral processes resulting in elections that do not adhere to national laws, regional and international best practices.”
The ERC is a think-tank and advocacy organisation on electoral and democracy issues in Zimbabwe.
The organisation works to inform effective citizen participation as well as strengthen policy engagement towards the improvement of the quality of electoral and democratic practices in the country.