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ZEC Blames Government For Incompetence and Malpractices

Says underfunding and late disbursement of funds affecting morale

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ZEC has admitted failing to run elections properly, but has laid the blame on poor funding by the State.

In its latest report on the March 26 by-elections, ZEC complained that it was poorly resourced to run elections resulting in the electoral management body failing to even pay election agents.

“The payment of US$45 election allowances per day instead of US$60 affected the morale of recruited personnel. Local service providers compounded the situation by demanding payment in hard currency instead of the local currency, thus adversely affecting the preparations for the elections. Personnel recruited for electoral activities need to be paid allowances in time in order to motivate them and hence avoid disturbances of any form. Further, allowances payable per day should be compensatory enough to keep election officers motivated.”

Government set aside $76 billion in the 2023 national budget for next year’s elections with $53 billion allocated for the actual polling process and The European Union pledged US$5,9 million to support ZEC.

“The budget of the commission needs to be considered in its originality, especially on elections, to avoid compromising the quality-of-service delivery. The commission recommends that all election funds be released timeously, and in sufficient amounts to enable it to adequately prepare for and conduct elections. The State should fully capacitate the ZEC to enable it to carry out the function of voter registration in terms of the law.”

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Policy think-tank, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) said the country was headed for another disputed election owing to failure by ZEC to enhance conditions that guarantee credible polls. This was presented in their November political economy review paper titled: The road to Zimbabwe’s 2023 Plebiscite: Elections Without Democracy?.

“The ongoing preparations for the 2023 elections in Zimbabwe are already marred with a lot of incongruities when viewed in juxtaposition to the constitutional expectations.”

“Electoral malpractices have already been identified which make another disputed election very likely in 2023. The current electoral environment in Zimbabwe resembles electoral authoritarian regimes which organise and conduct periodic elections to obtain at least a semblance of democratic legitimacy to entice external and internal actors. At the centre of electoral disputes in Zimbabwe is the country’s election management body, the ZEC, which has since become the centre of disputes regarding militarisation, Zanu PF patronage, lack of transparency and accountability.”

Opposition parties have also red-flagged ZEC's failure to carry out its mandate to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. ZDI argued that Zimbabwe has a “strong” legal framework which could guide the country to hold democratic elections, but there was lack of adherence to the law.

“Despite this progressive legal framework, ZEC has become the centre of electoral disputes, instead of playing a pivotal role in championing democracy. In the aftermath of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe, the European Union Election Observer Mission noted that elections in Zimbabwe fell short of the minimum international standards for a free, fair and credible election. Contributing to this is ZEC’s continued implication in electoral malpractices and presiding over a manipulated voters roll.”


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