The Election Resource Centre (ERC) notes the setting up of the an inter ministerial task force to follow up on recommendations made by observers arising from the 2018 harmonized elections. The initiative by the president comes as the ERC has started its own initiative to follow up on the same recommendations having witnessed six months of inaction around electoral and political reforms regardless of the disputed nature of the 2018 elections, the deteriorating political situation and the conduct of by-elections.
The ERC acknowledges that the president’s efforts through the proposed task force should be viewed as sincere in relation to his pursuit of a new dispensation. Regrettably the initiative raises more questions than answers.
The ERC is keen to appreciate the terms of reference of the task force. Such details will assist in understanding the task forces scope of work,results being pursued and time frame in which it will operate.
Understanding the terms of reference of the task force will also allow Zimbabweans to appreciate the accountability framework underlying the work of the body. Seeing the dominance of the executive in the composition and title of the platform created by the president it appears most likely that the team will be accountable to the president as the appointing authority. While it is appreciated that the executive must play its part in considering and instituting political and electoral reforms, must government be the only player? What is the perception of other players to the executive considering and instituting reforms on its own?
In terms of models to consider and institute electoral reforms, is an inter ministerial task force the best? How inclusive is it as a model? How will the the task force engage ordinary Zimbabweans and other electoral and political stakeholders?
The ERC maintains that an inclusive and accountable model to pursue electoral and political reforms is the best foot forward for Zimbabwe. 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.
Therefore, the ERC encourages 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.
Source: Election Resource Centre