Electoral Act Must Provide Powers of Recall to Citizens

The Zimbabwe Devolution Campaign, a consortium of CSOs and Residents Associations calls on for the amendment and alignment of the Electoral Act 2:13 with Chapter 14 of the Constitution on devolution to allow citizens to participate in the recall of elected officials.

The continued absence of the citizen voice in the removal of elected officials renders citizens powerless and has serious implications on accountability. Once elected into office, elected officials must be accountable to citizens not to political parties.

The abuse of power and provisions of Section 129 (k) of the Constitution that decimated elected leadership and crippled representative democracy in Urban local authorities is a great lesson that politicians cannot be entrusted with powers that are unchecked by the citizens.

We call upon the Parliament and the President of Zimbabwe to consider inclusion of new provisions in the Electoral Act 2:13 that will operationalize Section 129 (k) of the Constitution and provide for procedures for recall of non-performing Councilors, Members of Parliament and Senators.

Any form of recall of elected leadership without citizen participation kills local democracy and has no place in a democratic society.

Citizens must have a voice and endorsement on the removal of elected officials. Section 71 of the Devolution and Decentralization Policy recognizes the need for the empowerment of communities to have the capacity to demand quality services from elected Councilors, including legal recall powers.

CHRA recommends that least 75% of citizens in a Ward or Constituency must endorse or validate the recall or removal of elected leadership.

The bestowal of powers to recall elected officials on citizens strengthens accountability throughout the whole electoral cycle on elected leadership and is a catalyst towards improved service delivery.

We assert that our plea and request is in line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Devolution and Decentralization Policy (2020).

The amendment and alignment of the Electoral Act 2:13 to allow citizen participation in the recall of elected officials is key in the implementation of devolution provided in Chapter 14 of the Constitution.

Source: Combined Harare Residents Association

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