'Govt dithering on electoral reforms'

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's electoral system remains unsatisfactory two years ahead of the next elections, the independent Election Resource Centre (ERC) has said.

ERC director Tawanda Chimhini said the country was yet to implement some critical recommendations that were made by the Sadc and African Union (AU) observer missions after the 2013 elections.

“One of the worrying issues that we have picked is the limited response to concerns raised by election observers that were accredited to Zimbabwe, particularly Sadc and the AU in relation to the issue of voter registration, voter education, voters’ roll, the right to vote and the issues pertaining to the independence of the election commission,” Chimhini said.

He added that the pace at which the matter of electoral reforms was being handled was worrying.

“We are a bit worried that the pace of fulfilling some of the findings seen by our peers as a country has been rather slow,” he said.

The ERC director said despite attempts by government to look at realignment of numerous laws, including the Electoral Act through the introduction of the Electoral Amendment Bill and the General Laws Amendment Bill,  the efforts were far from convincing.

Chimhini added that it is in the best interest of all political players to have laws that govern elections so that the outcome of polls is not disputed.

“What we have found is that all these attempts at alignment of these laws that they remain far divorced from some of the priority areas that have been identified by observers . . . hence our attempt to engage directly with Parliament . . .”

Chimhini said their 2013 survey revealed that there was limited public confidence in the election management body, because of its perceived partisanship.

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