MDC proposes raft of electoral reforms

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THE opposition MDC has proposed that decisions made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in the conduct of elections in the country should be reviewed by the courts.

The proposal is one of the 20 contained in the Nelson Chamisa- led party’s alternative draft Electoral Bill which seeks to amend the Electoral Act.

“Zec must be independent and subject to the law as provided for by Section 235 of the Constitution. It should be accountable to Parliament and report at least once a year, and may be requested to make submissions or reports to Parliament when necessary.

“Its decisions and actions should be subjected to judicial review,” reads the party’s electoral reforms proposal document launched last week.

The 20-year-old party has since its formation in 1999 accused the electoral commission of manipulating successive elections in favour of ruling Zanu PF party.

It also proposed an independent logistics committee for the procurement and distribution of election material and other key consumables.

“Zec should have the sole preserve of promulgating and operationalising electoral laws and regulations. All staffing appointments and dismissals should be executed by the commission without seeking permission from the minister of Justice,” the document reads further.

The Electoral Act, the MDC proposed, should also prescribe sanctions on Zec officials who refuse to divulge pertinent electoral information to stakeholders.

The law must also make it obligatory for the commission to present an elections report to Parliament and election stakeholders.

The country’s biggest opposition party also wants Zec to comply with the country’s Constitution by setting up administrative measures to facilitate Diaspora voting in a manner that impedes electoral fraud.

“Moreover, arrangements should be put in place to facilitate voting by bedridden voters in hospital, pregnant women and senior citizens incapacitated to vote in their designated polling stations.

“Zec should comply with the law against clandestinely removing voters from the voters’ roll without prior notification,” the MDC proposed.

Another key proposal the party makes is that an Act of Parliament should outline the legal framework for the delimitation and institutionalisation of a “technically competent delimitation committee” to conduct the process.

The Act should allow ample time for stakeholder consultations as well as the factoring in a demographic census report findings which are key to the delimitation process.

“Consequently, the timelines for both delimitation and population census should be revised.
“Census should naturally precede delimitation with the latter being carried out 12 months after the former.”

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