THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is considering the establishment of a panel of elders to tap into the experience of its former personnel for advice.
Outgoing Zec spokesperson Joyce Kazembe is set to be appointed honorary chairperson of the panel once it is ratified.
Commissioner Jasper Mangwana has taken over as the commission’s spokesperson.
In a statement yesterday, Zec chairperson, High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the idea behind the establishment of the Zec Elders Panel was in recognition of Kazembe’s contribution to the commission having served it for 20 years.
“The commission is mooting the establishment of a Zec Elders Panel comprising personnel who have served it before The panel will be responsible for providing guidance and advice to the commission during critical electoral processes. It is envisaged that the panel of elders will operate as a charitable trust wherein they donate their institutional memory by training, dispute resolution, recommendations on international best practices, technology and ethical practices in elections and, championing youth participation and role of women and persons with disabilities in elections and electoral processes.
“It is also proposed that Commissioner Kazembe be designated as the honorary chairperson of the panel when the panel comes to fruition,”Chigumba said.
Kazembe is currently the most senior serving member at Zec. Her career spanned over two decades having joined the commission’s employ in 2007.
“Prior to joining Zec, Commissioner Kazembe had performed national service with the then Electoral Supervisory Commission which she joined in 2000. The ESC is the predecessor to Zec whose mandate was to supervise all elections in Zimbabwe which were being conducted by the Registrar General’s Office,” she said.
“Commissioner Kazembe possesses vast experience in the conduct and management of elections and is well known for her service both in the region and international sphere… the commission wished to tap in from her experience in dealing with public relations and media issues prior to her departure.”
Meanwhile, as the country prepares for the March 26 by-elections in her final involvement as Zec spokesperson, on Thursday night on the recently launched independent television station, 3Ktv, Kazembe said it was the duty of Parliament to enact laws that address electoral reforms.“Political parties know exactly what to do (on political reforms). They have been asking us at every turn when we are meeting with them. Zec has no mandate whatsoever to do electoral reforms. We cannot, and we do not come up with any laws whatsoever. We do not make laws, we give them (proposals) to Parliament. Some of them have not seen the light of the day,” Kazembe said.
“In terms of the law, it is the political parties themselves that are in Parliament that have got that responsibility and they can come back to us and say you are not doing this and that because that is what we want.”