Zec should publish elections roadmap

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) should heed the call by election watchdogs to immediately release a comprehensive election operational plan and that they timeously avail crucial information for the upcoming harmonised elections.

With only a few months before the crucial polls, the commission has not yet published a comprehensive plan of action which will help Zec improve its credibility and motivate voters.

In the previous elections, the lack of fundamental reforms, let alone late presentation of the roadmap, have impacted on public confidence in the process.

The election roadmap will enable political parties and civil society to develop informed strategies to mobilise citizen participation and election observation and monitoring.

Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network and Election Resource Centre, among other election watchdogs, have been at the forefront, demanding this comprehensive election operational plan which they argue can be used by stakeholders to hold the elections management body accountable.

They believe a comprehensive plan is a clear indicator that there is no rigging in the pre-poll period.

In publishing the roadmap on time, Zec can afford to instil confidence and trust in its capability and capacity to run a free and fair election.

With Zec having awarded a tender to a New York-based company, IPSIDY, to supply the biometric voter registration (BVR) de-duplication hardware and software, which has been upheld by the Administrative Court, the commission should now give clear timelines for the remaining processes.

As the de-duplication process begins, election watchdogs are also calling for Zec to emphasise the importance of integrity, transparency and accountability, which are internationally-recognised principles in election administration.

The election watchdogs’ call for Zec to develop and publicise clear timelines for release of the final voters’ roll; timeously release its first draft to allow for inspection, audits and release of a credible document ahead of the forthcoming elections and, immediately release a comprehensive election operational plan all need support.

Zec is also urged to shed more light on the actual process that will be taking place at each stage to enable preparations. And that Zec should engage with stakeholders to ensure that the process is clearly understood and that citizens get correct information.

Voters will also need time to familiarise themselves with what is expected of them while political parties also need to be engaged as they prepare their strategies.

Lack of transparency at this stage poisons the electoral process because there are still processes which we hope will be open to all citizens, and that they will be allowed to assemble without fear of violence.

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