The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has urged the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to penalise member States who keep violating the bloc’s election guidelines.
In a statement yesterday, ZESN said there should be transparency in the counting of poll results to curb incidents of disputed polls.
Zimbabweans go to by-elections tomorrow 26 March 2022 to fill 28 vacant Parliamentary and 105 local authority seats. Said ZESN:
As the overseer of electoral processes in the region, Sadc must adopt more hands-on and robust approaches to electoral violations in member States. Where there are repeat offences, Sadc must highlight this and take strong action to prevent them in future. Strong penalties for violation of Sadc guidelines on elections will incentivise member States to fully realise its principles and values.
On electoral disputes, ZESN said they should be resolved administratively by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The election watchdog also called for impartial application of the law across all political actors as selective application suggested bias, which affects the credibility of the polls.
ZESN also called for full enforcement of rules that punish perpetrators of electoral violence and other electoral malpractices as they destroy public confidence in electoral processes. ZESN added that:
a). The misalignment between the Constitution and the Electoral Act does not inspire confidence in the electoral process.
b). The voter registration exercise which by law must be continuous should be intensified in the years between elections to relieve pressure in the months immediately preceding the election.
c). Delimitation of constituencies should be done fairly so that citizens are adequately represented.
d). ZEC needs both financial and operational independence.
e). ZEC It is also important to remove the perception that it is militarised by carrying out a human resources overhaul to more accurately reflect a non-partisan picture.
Meanwhile, SADC has often been accused of protecting autocratic regimes in the region.
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