Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
A CALL by opposition parties for the 2018 Zimbabwe elections to be supervised by international bodies is not only unconstitutional but also tampers with the country’s sovereignty, a legal expert has said.
Responding to calls by political parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) to disband the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, prominent lawyer Mr Tendai Toto said last Thursday that the move would be unconstitutional.
During a demonstration in Harare last Wednesday the parties under Nera called for international organisations to supervise the country’s national polls.
“The provisions of section 239 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe are clear and unambiguous on the role and functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. There is no provision for some form of supervision by anybody for that matter,” said Mr Toto.
“The suggestion or the coded resolutions by opposition political parties that the international community must supervise the electoral processes of Zimbabwe is mischief.
“How can a state and constitutional institution mandated to conduct and supervise elections get supervised by a wanton selection of some international community supervisor handpicked by a bloc of election participants and often mandated to condemn the electoral process?”
Mr Toto said it was unfortunate that the parties were suggesting that the sovereignty of Zimbabwe must be compromised by dilution of the constitutional functions bestowed upon ZEC.
“I say so, because it appears to me that the opposition political parties and their allies elect and prefer to align themselves with certain constitutional provisions and in most cases as a matter of convenience,” he said.
“That ZEC has the constitutional mandate to prepare and conduct elections in Zimbabwe is in black and white, suggesting otherwise defies and denigrates the constitution and the country’s sovereignty.
“The allegations of lost confidence in ZEC must be investigated and proven via legal and legitimate channels and forums. The alleged lost confidence in ZEC started many years back and surely steps must have been taken to investigate and bring causes of complaints in the Electoral Courts.”
Among those who turned up for the Nera meeting were MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, Messrs Didymus Mutasa (Zimbabwe People First), Jacob Ngarivhume (Transform Zimbabwe), Tendai Biti (People’s Democratic Party), Cosmos Muponda (Freedom Front) and Farai Mbira (Zimbabweans United for Democracy).
Ms Marcellina Chikasha (African Democratic Party), Ms Barbra Nyagomo (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe) and Ms Sifiso Sithole (Zanu Ndonga) also attended.