Charles Mabhena

Various human rights, Non-Governmental Organisations, and pressure groups in the country have issued a 10 point plan that should be adopted by the government for the promotion of the democratic elections in Zimbabwe.

Signatory to the statement include, the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Election Resource Centre, Zimbabwe Election Support Network, MISA Zimbabwe,  Veritas, Research Advocacy Unit, among others.

Under the 10 point plan the parties are calling for the government’s immediately alignment of all electoral laws with the country’s constitution, and enhance the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s independence and capacity.

“Stop executive interference with ZEC operations Review offending clauses in the Electoral Act and stop actions that compromise or may be deem to compromise the independence of ZEC,” reads part of the statement.

It also calls for the need to create enforceable punitive measures against instigators of political violence that will ensure zero tolerance to this undesirable and inhumane act. This would therefore create a conducive political environment which guarantees the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms that are enshrined in the country’s constitution.

The parties urge the ZANU PF government to promote transparency in the electoral processes in particular the voter registration, voting, and results management processes. “Adhere to regional and internationally accepted principles such as comprehensive, inclusivity, accessibility, transparency, accuracy, and integrity in the whole process,” reads the statement.

There is also the call to ensure that every eligible citizen including those in the diaspora, hospitals, prisons (through reinstatement of special voting where necessary) are given the right to independently cast his or her vote as provided for in the constitution. ZEC has been urged to immediately commence voter education and open it up to other stakeholders as well.

The government should strengthen conflict management mechanisms at all levels of the electoral cycle, reconstitute the electoral court to conform to section 183 of the constitution, and ensure access to and timeous resolution of election related disputes through the reactivation of the special investigative committee.

According to the parties, ZEC must ensure access to state media by all contestants and equitable media coverage during elections, and with help from the state enforce the code of conduct for ethical reporting.  The commission be charged with the timely invitation and accreditation of election observers, framework for long term election observation, and make sure that the observers’ is guaranteed.

The government should make sure that all institutions supporting democracy are adequately resourced and their independence is guaranteed. The calls by the concerned organisations come at the time the ZANU PF government had made it crystal clear that it would do everything possible  to make sure that it prolongs its hold on power. The party’s spin doctor, the under fire Minister of Higher Education, Jonathan Moyo said no government under the sun can reform itself out of power, and ZANU PF is of no exception.