By Elia Ntali
Elections lobby group the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to submit to the constitution and practices that are conducive during COVID-19.
In a statement reacting to ZEC’s announcement on the resumption of electoral activities that are only limited to voter registration and transfers, ERC said the commission must administer electoral processes that are non selective.
“ZEC submits itself to the Constitution and best practices in administering electoral processes during the COVID-19 global pandemic through non selective compliance with legal and regional and international standards that include inclusivity in decision making, transparency in operations and accountability to all election stakeholders.
“ZEC reaffirms its independence by pronouncing itself on the status of by-elections and not just some electoral processes. ZEC reaffirms its commitment to holding constitutional and credible elections by outlining a comprehensive roadmap to instituting administrative reform ahead of the resumption of voter registration, other electoral processes and including by-elections.
“ZEC immediately rolls out voter education programmes to citizens in compliance with COVID19 regulations in by-election sites including monitoring the compliance of political parties in campaigning, in line with COVID19 regulations and the Electoral Act. ZEC formally invites observers to scrutinize the conduct of electoral processes under COVID19 and the submission of observations to influence credibility of processes,” noted ERC
The pressure group called on the Commission to desist from issuing press releases and call it an illegal way of administering electoral processes.
“The ERC observes with concern the continued use of press statements by ZEC to resume and suspend electoral activities. ZEC illegally suspended electoral activities through a press statement on the 7th of January 2021 and resumed operations on the 23rd of March 2021 using the same modus operandi, perpetuating an illegal way of administering electoral processes. The ERC maintains that while ZEC has a constitutional mandate to administer elections, the law does not give the body discretion to arbitrarily start and stop processes without a court order.”
ZEC announced the resumption of electoral activities following the relaxation of lockdown measures of Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021 however, the electoral body said the conduct of by- elections remains suspended.