Electoral Act still flawed: ERC

HARARE - Election Resource Centre (ERC) has said the recently enacted Electoral Act does not fundamentally address challenges in the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe last week signed the Electoral Amendment Bill into law.

The proposed amendments would  direct the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to declare presidential election results within five days from polling day, bar police officers from “taking part or interfering with the electoral process beyond maintaining law and order.”

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is now obliged to warn election candidates, election agents or parties implicated in acts of political violence and to set up special courts to try such cases.

Tawanda Chimhini, the director of ERC, said the new law was still riddled with deficiencies.

“The Election Resource Centre expresses its disquiet at the recent signing of the Electoral Amendment Bill into law by President Mugabe as notified in the government gazette on 20th of August 2014,” Chimhini said.

“The presidential assent to the electoral changes happened in the realm of profound inadequacies of the bill in terms of its failure to address fundamental challenges to the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe as noted by election stakeholders during the July 2013 polls.”

The National Assembly passed the Electoral Amendment Bill disregarding the people’s input from eight public hearings held countrywide by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The Electoral Amendment Bill was supposed to amend the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) and align it to provisions of the new constitution adopted in May last year.

Chimhini called upon the ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the National Assembly, to come up with comprehensive electoral reforms to ensure that the next elections would not be infested with irregularities.

“As the nation emerges from disputes surrounding the July 2013 polls, and prior elections, the ERC calls upon concerned electoral authorities to have a defined plan for comprehensive and inclusive electoral reforms which is informed by past electoral practices while it also considers views from all stakeholders, including recommendations from regional and domestic observer groups who monitored the past general elections,” said Chimhini.

“The election authorities must desist from the often reactionary, ad hoc and haphazard approach to electoral reform which regrettably creates a fertile ground for contestations on any given electoral event.

Comments (4)

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chimhini talks nonsense. instead of you pointing out the specific areas that need address you just generalise...it doesnt help to moan and moan without pointing out the flaws Icho.

parapinda - 28 August 2014

In spite of all the waffling, I'm still at a loss as to what ERC is TRYING to say....

ZVAZVIRI - 29 August 2014

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