The independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)

  • The independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is provided for under Section 235 of the Constitution. Provisions of the Electoral Law that offend this principle must be reviewed. These include sections 192(6) and (12) of the Electoral Act, which permit Executive interference with the ZEC.
  • Pursuant to its signature of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in February 2018, Zimbabwe should proceed to give life to the Charter through its domestication and implementation.
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    Assessment:

  • The Electoral Act does not empower ZEC to make and approve electoral regulations. ZEC still needs get approval from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for the Commission to introduce regulations for use by the institution’s staff.
  • In October 2020, the overturning by the Government of a decision by ZEC to lift the suspension of by-elections demonstrated that the institution could not make decisions independent of approval by the Government and the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (ZEC’s parent Ministry).
  • Zimbabwe is one of the 25 African states that are yet to ratify the ACDEG. Signing is not enough when consent to be bound is to be expressed by ratification. Ratification of ACDEG will demonstrate that Zimbabwe is committed and serious about the promotion of democratic principles and institutions, popular participation, human rights, the rule of law, good governance, condemnation and unconstitutional changes of governments, sustainable development, peace and security as enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act and ACDEG[1].
  • According to the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on the Alignment of Legislation to the Constitution (IMT) the alignment of Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] to the Constitution is complete. ZESN is of contrary view and has made submissions to both government and Parliament bringing to their attentions areas where the current Electoral Act is not in sync with the Constitution.
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    [1] http://aga-platform.org/sites/default/files/2017-08/Africa%27s%20Governance%20Dividends%20%26%20Deficits%20-%20Newsletter%20%28Jan-June%202017%29.pdf

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