Columbus Mabika Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) yesterday called on the formulation of a legal framework that regulates the operations of political parties in the country. This came amid calls by some political parties who expect Government to fund their operations.
ZESN in a position paper titled “Political Parties Regulation in Zimbabwe” said political parties regulation plays an important role in shaping the country’s development trajectory.
“Political parties are crucial actors in Zimbabwe’s democratisation process as they must play a vital role of aggregating and articulating interests of the people and developing competing policy proposals that provide voice and choice for their constituencies. Therefore, they need to be adequately resourced so that they can contribute to shaping the country’s development trajectory. For this to happen, political parties must also be regulated,” reads part of the paper.
ZESN said the contest for public office and demand for public funding by political parties renders their regulation unavoidable.
“One of the areas that need urgent attention to mitigate the growing trend of non-acceptance of election results is the promulgation or amendment of the party financing law,”
ZESN said at the moment, only ZANU-PF and MDC are the beneficiaries of the current law. Hence the need for the revision of the clauses that ban private funding of parties. A comprehensive campaign and party funding law must be promulgated based on best practices.
It said political parties themselves must be regulated to ensure that they adhere to a certain legal and normative framework in terms of their internal functioning, financing and code of conduct.
ZESN said Zimbabwe was still going through a transition and exhibiting low levels of trust among and between political parties hence the need to formulate an establishment to deal with the registration of parties.
It said agitations for the regulation of political parties must be for genuine reasons such as the enhancement of party systems and inter-party relations and building stronger political parties, so that it is not abused by those who have power.
ZESN said the paper highlights the contradiction where political parties that have glaring capacity deficits expect that everything around them has to change to meet their expectations while they continue to operate the same way
ZANU PF secretary for Legal Affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said the regulation of political parties in the country was a good move, but remains a pipe dream as the Constitution does not compel the regulation of political parties.
“Regulation of parties is welcome, but the problem is that our Constitution does not compel the regulation of political parties, hence no legal framework exists, there is need to revisit the constitution and make an amendment that’s when we can start to talk about regulation of political parties” he said
MDC-Alliance spokesperson Fortune Daniel Molokele said there was need to separate institutions governing elections from interference before political parties are regulated.
MDC-T vice president Mr Obert Gutu said his party welcomes the idea of regulation.
“As the MDC-T, we do agree that there should be some law that regulates the registration and operation of political parties in Zimbabwe. As it is right now, anyone can wake up one morning, call a press conference and announce that they have formed a political party. Whilst freedom of association and freedom of assembly are fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, there’s need to bring some sanity, order and seriousness in the political market by instituting a law that regulates the activities of political parties,” he said.