Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-The refusal by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to have its operations monitored for the sake of transparency has drawn the ire of experts who are questioning the sincerity of the body to be free and fair in the 2018 elections.
This week ZEC rolled out the training of master trainers for the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) process and also received 400 kits for the BVR process from Laxton Group Limited.
Another batch of 2 600 kits is expected to be delivered before October 2017.
However the Rita Makarau-led body refused calls by election monitoring organisation Election Resource Centre (ERC) to observe the receiving and warehousing of the kits in the spirit of transparency.
The request to observe the training of master trainers, being done in Harare, was also turned down.
The ERC has come out against the negative responses to its requests and is questioning the sincerity of the ZEC to carry out a transparent exercise in 2018.
“The ERC contends that the credibility of the 2018 elections hinges on the election administration body’s capacity to be transparent, inclusive and professional in planning, implementing and reviewing of all electoral processes going forward.
“Thus the immediate sharing of details on the issues raised will go a long way in showcasing ZEC’s state of preparedness for the 2018 elections”, it said.
ERC added that the elections commission also need to provide answers to a number of issues still pending with elections only months away.
“Given that the first batch of kits are now in the country and the training of master trainers has commenced, we are likely to see more movement around voter registration and elections in the next few days.
“Unfortunately all this movement continues against the backdrop of an Electoral Act that remains largely unaligned with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the necessary procedures for voter registration are still to be made public while more importantly, both the voter registration and the election implementation plan with clear time lines is yet to be prepared and publicly shared.
“Does our current legal framework of elections adequately meet constitutional provisions to make our elections and by extension, electoral processes constitutional and legal?’
“Is there a concept of operations in place ahead of voter registration exercise and if it’s there, has the operations plan been shared with stakeholders? If there is currently no plan in place which has been shared with stakeholders, on what basis is ZEC currently undertaking operational preparations on BVR?’ it queried.
Despite giving some concessions such as regularly meeting political parties over divisive areas the ZEC has been straining to assert its independence by refusing to give ground on some issues which has increased suspicions of its being , manipulated by the ruling ZANU government.
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