ERC Holds Electoral Reform Workshop

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) facilitated a three-day electoral reform workshop for Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) in Nyanga. A total of 20 participants (Male 14 female leaders 6 ) attended including the political party leaders as well as the secretariat of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) made submissions on the electoral reform proposals while ZLHR focused on the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill.

The workshop had a two-pronged process:

  • Dealing with political parties principals 29 & 30 May
  • Engagement with the secretariat of the parties 31 May

Below are the summarised issues that were discussed on day one of the workshop;

Agreed issues

  • Voters roll access and conduct of electoral officials
  • Electoral Court set up and the principles to deal with electoral malpractices
  • Increase the accountability of ZEC officials to the stakeholders on procurement, recruitment, designing of ballot papers
  • Set up MPLC throughout the electoral cycle- it must be permanent and codes of conduct must be enforceable
  • Election residue must be kept securely a court order must be sort to reopen the materials once results have been declared
  • Special Voting must be reinstated, polling stations must be set in neutral locations accessible by members of the public including observers
  • Accreditation of observer must early to allow for the whole cycle observation and reporting
  • Public Media- ZEC must be empowered to ensure compliance by the public broadcaster and ZBC policy must make it compulsory to give airtime to all the candidates and parties contesting in an election
  • Ballot paper format/design must be regulated such that it is not the discretion of ZEC.
  • Nomination fees and process period must be reviewed to ensure gender discrimination is addressed. Fees must be set out at the beginning of the election year and it must be gazetted. The requirement to provide nimonators must be relaxed to 5 provinces instead of 10.

New Proposal

A discussion on the possibility of having an electoral college that will elect the President. This will deal with the problem issues around presidential elections including petitions, timing, save resources that are scarcely available.

Disagreed issues

  • Diaspora/External Voting- the political parties principals deferred the discussion
  • The accreditation committee must remain as it is where the executive has control and of who comes into the country to observe the elections
  • Filing of the electoral petition- the process must remain as it is
  • Condonation by the court on service address and other minor technicalities

Source: Election Resource Centre

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