“ZEC Should Employ Impartial People To Ensure Free And Fair Elections” – Election Watchdog

The Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust (ZEAT) has said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should employ impartial people to ensure free and fair elections.

In an interview with NewsDay Weekender, ZEAT executive director Ignatious Sadziwa said:

Utloile Silaigwana, who is the head of secretariat of the commission is a former army officer and a host of other members are either aligned to the CIO [Central Intelligence Organisation] or police, something that the Constitution does not allow. We advocate for the disbandment of both the commission and the secretariat and employ impartial civilians to manage elections as espoused in the Constitution.

The year 2022 has been a long tumultuous and contentious election year for next year’s general elections. We held by-elections under very difficult conditions amid contestations between ZEC, the civil society and political parties mainly the Citizens Coalitions for Change over a myriad of issues.

The issue of ballot paper printing which is shrouded in opaque and shadowy dealings, the unilateral appointment of compromised Zec officials without due diligence is another landmine which compromises the integrity of ZEC.

Sadziwa also condemned the Electoral Amendment Bill as a ‘fraud’ to avoid implementing much-needed electoral reforms.

Election Resource Centre’s legal and advocacy officer Takunda Tsunga said ZEC must address politically-motivated violence and the partisan conduct of traditional leaders.

ZEC spokesperson Jasper Mangwana said those were “just baseless allegations” as the Constitution does not bar former serving army officers from being employed by ZEC. He added:

Even if there are former, they don’t report to those structures, they report directly to the commission. The commission is the ultimate authority in terms of who is to be employed.

He added that the commission has no employee who is a serving member of any of the security organisations of the country.


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