Elections are a non-negotiable – Government of Zimbabwe must adequately fund ZEC

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) notes with concern potential challenges emanating from the inadequacy of financial allocation to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). ERC maintains its position that the government of Zimbabwe must not negate its obligation of adequately funding the Electoral Commission and to institute the required reforms and alignment of the laws to the Constitution of Zimbabwe. ERC reiterates and reminds all electoral stakeholders that holding elections at all levels and set timelines are non-negotiable as this is set out in the national Constitution. The financial support coupled with the necessary reforms are the bedrock that anchors electoral processes that meet constitutional benchmarks and regionally and internationally agreed standards. The Minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube on Thursday, 26 November, presented the National Budget for the fiscal year 2021, and ZEC was allocated a mere 19% of their budgetary proposal.

Adequate budgeting for ZEC is essential, taking into account the impending by-elections, the delimitation processes, and the 2023 Harmonised elections. Comprehensive voter education, registration, and election administration are key pillars of democracy and adequate resources must be availed to ensure ZEC is able to fulfill its Constitutional mandate. Under-resourcing ZEC does not in any way reflect the government’s sincerity to electoral processes in the country.

In the past, funds have been disbursed late resulting in last-minute preparation and execution of electoral processes resulting in elections that do not adhere to national laws, regional and international best practices. ZEC must start preparations for the delimitation build-up processes and underfunding 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.

Source: Election Resource Centre (ERC)