ZEC Urged To Create Credible Election Ground During COVID-19

Election watchdog, the Election Resource Center recently called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to put in place mechanisms that allow for transparent elections during the COVID-19 lockdown.

ZEC announced early this year that it had stopped all by-elections ad other major activities as the country is still under coronavirus induced movement restrictions.

However, ERC  is of the belief that despite the lockdown, Zec must ensure adherence to the qualitative attributes of a credible, free and fair election which includes inclusiveness, transparency and accountability
in all electoral activities.

“It is crucial that Zec, through its COVID-19 policy, has a transparent conversation about the pros and cons of holding elections under current circumstances, as well as the risks associated with the continued postponement of elections.

“The assurance to deliver credible, free and fair elections still stands as the foundation of Zec’s mandate. The draft policy fails to address key election issues such as access to media, voters’ roll inspection, comprehensive voter registration exercises and the mobility of citizens to participate in election processes under lockdown,” reads the statement.

ERC further stated that Zec in establishing a framework of the COVID-19 policy on electoral activities must ensure that the rights and responsibilities expressed are not impacted by statutory instruments (SIs) during an election period.

“In pursuit of democracy under COVID-19, the public’s right to participate in electoral activities must not be limited arbitrarily. The SIs have a potential negative bearing on the freeness and fairness of the electoral environment, as the SIs impact on access to information, participation in electoral processes such as registration, inspection and the overall quality of the vote,” ERC said.

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