One year later. What has changed?
One year since the 2018 harmonized elections, the Election Resource Centre recognizes the setting up of the Inter Ministerial Taskforce on Political and Electoral Reforms by the Executive, Parliament’s passing of the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance now waiting full ratification by the President, efforts by government to repeal constitutionally offensive provisions in media and political issues in existing laws, pronouncements declaring commitment to political reforms, the setting up of a presidential advisory council, the setting up of a dialogue platform for political parties some of which participated in the 2018 elections and the final release of the election report by ZEC.
All these efforts would ordinarily contribute to improvements in the election cycle. Unfortunately, one year since July 30, 2018, the noted efforts have not directly altered the complexion of elections given opportunities presented through the nearly 10 house of assembly and local authority by-election that have so far been administered. There is no excuse why the raft of recommendations proffered after the 2018 elections have not found full, and not just partial, effect to Zimbabwe’s electoral architecture.
There have been a lot of missed opportunities which will not be recovered ahead of the 2018. The legislative agenda for the first session of the 9th Parliament was one such missed opportunity which could have defined a clear path towards addressing legislative inadequacies that raised questions about the 2018 elections. By-elections could also have been functional platforms to test administrative electoral reforms that do not require any changes to the law.
Another year cannot pass with no evidence of sincere efforts towards effective and functional electoral reforms that are tested and refined through by-elections.
The ERC calls on all election stakeholders to consider the immediate setting up of an inclusive, parliament-led committee to facilitate discussions and decisions on electoral reforms. The ERC insists that inclusivity on electoral reforms must not be confined to just conversations on what needs to be reformed but must include decisions on what is actually reformed. Furthermore, the ERC encourages ZEC to assert its constitutional independence in implementing administrative reforms and administering electoral processes.
There must be no further missed opportunities to contribute towards improved credibility of future elections in Zimbabwe.
Source: Election Resource Centre (ERC)