Zec should stamp its authority

HARARE - As the July 31 make or break harmonised elections beckon, Zimbabweans have been taken aback as President Robert Mugabe resorts once again to unorthodox means to ensure that his Zanu PF party wins the election at all costs.

While the 89-year-old former guerrilla leader has not resorted to his usual tactics of violence, it is his latest disregard of the laid down rules regarding the conduct of elections that is worrisome.

What has alarmed stakeholders in this election is that it has been a good two weeks with Mugabe and his wife Grace dishing out groceries including maize meal and other goodies at their rallies, in a clear case of vote buying, right under the nose of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

It is not so much about what the First Family is giving away that raises stink to the electorate but the deafening silence of Zec, the body mandated with ensuring that the Electoral Act, the Code of Conduct and the Constitution is not violated.

Zimbabweans have been left wondering whether the law is being applied like a spider web that catches the smallest of the small insects while the bigger ones get off scot-free. Is it because it is the First Family involved because we have seen in previous elections opposition officials being dragged to court for unethical electoral conduct?

Following the just-concluded chaotic special vote by the country’s security forces, aspersions have been thrown on the integrity and impartiality of Zec and its commissioners. Zec has been accused of being unfair, unfit and unprepared to deliver a credible, free and fair election, a charge they have strenuously denied.

But, with the current political situation, it is now time for Zec to stamp its authority and prove to the majority of the electorate that they are in control.

We believe by taking appropriate disciplinary action against the uncouth electoral practices not only by the First Family and their Zanu PF party but by all the contestants, the electoral body will be able to restore its integrity and regain the confidence of the general public.

While it is philanthropic to donate food and clothing to the needy, it is unethical to do so just two weeks away from such an important election, especially given that the beneficiaries have been in need of food aid for more than 30 years.

The Electoral Act is explicit in Section 136 (1) (c) that making “any gift, loan offer, promise, procurement or agreement to or for any person in order to induce such person to procure or endeavour to procure the return of a candidate at an election or the vote of a voter at an election,” is a criminal offence attracting up to two years’ imprisonment.

Comments (2)


ZEC - 22 July 2013

Dear Editor, Previously teachers and other ivil servants would be trained as polling officers. How come this time there is no indication where the polling officers will come from..or is it another ploy by the powers that be to create confusion by getting either untrained or few officers to slow down the voting process. Please help me.

Cuthbert Mithi - 23 July 2013

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.