As the World commemorates Global Elections Day, ZESN reiterates its calls for the implementation of wholesome electoral reforms by the respective key stakeholders in Zimbabwe. The Global Elections Day comes at a time when ZESN and many CSOs in Zimbabwe are advocating electoral reforms needed to enhance the credibility of Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.
Elections are important in that they afford the electorate an opportunity to choose leaders for governance and decision making positions. ZESN, therefore, restates its call for comprehensive timeous electoral reforms in respect of the legislative framework, election administration, and the political environment ahead of the 2023 elections. As we commemorate this day, ZESN takes this opportunity to remind the Speaker of Parliament and all parliamentarians on the ZESN petition on electoral reforms and the Draft Electoral Act Amendment Bill proposal currently before Parliament. The two documents culminated from recommendations from local, regional and international observer missions that observed the 2018 harmonized elections.
The key electoral reform demands propounded in the ZESN Petition and Draft Electoral Act Amendment Bill include developing a legal framework for boundary delimitation; reviewing of the Electoral Act to ensure inclusive participation of all citizens in elections; instituting provisions to regulate political parties and enforce disclosure of the source of funding; incorporation of a Code of Conduct for traditional leaders to ensure they are apolitical; reviewing results management and transmission systems; the repeal or amendments of Acts that restrict the enjoyment of fundamental rights key in electoral processes, review legislation relating to public media to ensure equal coverage of all political parties. Other reforms include the need to align electoral laws with the Constitution and implement reforms within a year after an election; the need to enhance the independence of ZEC and other Chapter 12 institutions, as well as making Multi-Party Liaison Committees permanent in the electoral cycle.
Further, ZESN calls for the enhancing the independence of the Judiciary, judicial appointments and setting up of a mechanism for administrative complains and timeframe for issuing judgments. At the same time, the Network notes with concern the proposed changes to the Judiciary in the Constitutional Amendment Bill to increase the retirement age of serving judges and the removal of requirements of public interviews for judges to be appointed to the Supreme and Constitutional Court, which are regressive to achieving democratic electoral processes in Zimbabwe among others.
The Global Elections Day is an initiative borne out the Global Election Officials’ Conference in which election experts from across the world participated in Hungary in 2005. Through this conference, the experts sent an important message about the need to strengthen the process of democratic development throughout the world. In recognition of the importance of the message, participants launched an initiative to hold an annual ‘Global Elections Day’ on the first Thursday of February every year.
ZESN remains committed to promoting democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)