‘Zim lags on Sadc election guidelines’

Sadc election guidelines’

ZIMBABWE’s main opposition parties have expressed concern that the country still lags behind other countries in implementing the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) principles and guidelines on democratic elections.

This came out yesterday during a virtual discussion organised by the Southern African Liaison Office, under the theme Sadc elections 2023/24: The Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections (revised 2015) and their impact on the electoral environment in Zimbabwe and the region.

Citizens Coalition for Change secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga said opposition political parties in the country continued to be disadvantaged by the status quo.

 “Zimbabwe is still lagging behind the Sadc principles and guidelines. Every citizen has the right to vote regardless of where one is stationed. The Constitution speaks to an election that is verifiable but this is not achievable because the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) says that we can only access the printed copy which will be available 30 days before elections and costs US$187 000.”

MDC Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora said:  “Zimbabwe has been in constant conflict ever since it was formed into a State. By-elections held this year have shown that we will have violent elections in 2023. Despite the existence of the Constitution and international instruments, the elections in Zimbabwe remain unfree and unfair because of violence. There is also a need to redefine the role of the security services in the electoral processes.”

Mwonzora said Zec’s secretariat was highly militarised while some of its subcommittees were staffed with members from the Executive, a development which compromises its independence.

  “We have to resort to a method that has worked before and the method is dialogue,” he said.

National Constitutional Assemby secretary-general Maddock Chivasa said:  “We have not heard of a situation where Zanu PF has been barred from holding an election campaign. It appears that the rule of reporting to the police only applies to the opposition parties.”

Zanu PF’s Paul Mangwana who was expected to be part of the dialogue failed to connect virtually.

Scholar Tendai Mbanje said: “The African Union and Sadc may be invited to observe elections but what that means is that they will be assessing an inconclusive election cycle. The biggest threat that we are facing as we go towards the 2023 elections is the issue of security, mainly the opposition. Independent and impartial commissions should be well established to allow for free and fair elections. The present commissions are not strong enough to guarantee citizens the freedoms linked to elections.”


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