ZESN says $10 observer accreditation fee is too much, must be scrapped

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The Zimbabwe Election Support Network has again called for the scrapping of accreditation fees for people wishing to observe this year’s watershed elections expected in the next four months.

ZESN Director, Rindai Chipfunde- Vava, said the $10 fees being charged by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was unnecessarily costly and should be either reduced or scrapped out-rightly.

“The Network is calling upon the Commission (ZEC) to critically review the accreditation fees for domestic observers as the current fees continue to present a challenge to efforts to observe electoral processes. ZESN therefore requests the Commission to waive or reduce accreditation fees for local observers,” she said in a statement Friday.

Chipfunde- Vava also bemoaned the delays by the electoral body to set the dates for the accreditation of observers, noting it was imperative for ZEC to come up with a framework for long term observation and to ensure the dates for accreditation were shared on time.

She said stringent requirements where observers were required to be physically present for accreditation should also be scrapped in favour of a facility where one could simply submit their details to ZEC for accreditation.

This, she said, had been effectively used in other African countries such as Liberia, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia.

While ZESN appreciated the indicative timelines given by the ZEC Chairperson regarding the availability of the provisional voters’ roll, Vava demanded the immediate availing of a detailed roadmap with specific start and end dates for key electoral processes.

This, Chipfunde-Vavi said, would assist electoral stakeholders to accurately plan voter education, campaigning, monitoring and observation.

“In order to afford electoral stakeholders ample time to plan various interventions in support of the various electoral processes preceding the 2018 elections, ZESN reiterates its calls for a detailed operational plan, election calendar and a comprehensive 2018 electoral roadmap,” she said.

The ZESN boss also called upon ZEC to share other necessary administrative and logistical mechanisms in place, such as the regulations for the inspection of the voters’ roll, to ensure a credible voter registration process.