Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) held a Twitter space on the upcoming by elections and the readiness of the national electoral body. Samuel Wadzai VISET Executive Director shared the project objectives highlighting the organizations intentions to raise awareness on voter education to marginalized groups such as informal traders, people with disabilities and the youth. He said the Twitter space discussion was taking place at a critical time as there were many topical issues that had arisen, such as the suspension of the mobile registration blitz, the proclamation of by elections by the President and the conflicting numbers of voters registered during 2020.
The guest on the show Professor Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional law expert said that the electoral act needed to be harmonized with the 2013 national constitution. He however said that he had qualms with the constitution particularly as it pertained to the selection of members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in that much as they were subject to interviews by a parliamentary committee, ultimately the President would have the final say.
The Professor, who is also the National Constitution Assembly party president that is a member of POLAD, a dialogue platform created for parties that contested the 2018 elections, informed that they had drafted a bill on electoral reforms which they hoped would be enacted into law by March. He said without the reforms that they had enunciated in the bill, any election held under the current provisions was bound to have a disputed outcome. Some of the problematic provisions that they had highlighted for attention were the closing of the voters roll 2 days after proclamation for the constitutional assembly vacancies and the closure of the roll on the day the vacancy occurs for local government elections. Professor Madhuku said these provisions were disenfranchising many voters who then would not be able to choose their representatives in the upcoming by-elections as most vacancies occurred in 2020, hence his contention that holding them less than 18 months to the next harmonized elections was a waste of taxpayers’ money and that emphasis should be placed on reforming electoral laws.
VISET is of the view that electoral reforms are of critical importance and that they must emanate from a consultative process with citizens as opposed to formulation by an elite few political actors with vested interests.