Be Fair , Transparent & Professional ZEC Told

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Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba 1
Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba 1

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been urged to be fair , transparent and profession this come out of  the data analysts Team Pachedu abridged non  technical report of the delimitation

Be Transparent: The Zimbabwean constitution is founded on the principles and values of transparency, equality and, inter alia, fairness. Section 3(2)(g) of the same constitution also stresses that all agencies of the Government must promote transparency and accountability. Section 321(4) of the Constitution further states that ZEC “may determine its own procedures, but any such procedures must be fair and promote transparency in the performance of ZEC’s functions.” It is unfortunate that ever since its formation in 2004, ZEC has not been transparent. Their processes are  opaque and not fair. The recent delimitation was not an exception.

From their secrecy with the voters roll to the unexpected last-minute delimitation changes contrary to what the public demanded and expected, ZEC has failed to be transparent. In this regard, we recommend that ZEC ought to “respect the people of Zimbabwe, from whom the authority to govern is derived” [§3(2)(f) of the Constitution]. The Commission is not a private office, but a public office. Section 194(1)(h) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe on the basic values and principles governing public administration clearly states that, in all tiers of Government, ZEC included, “transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.” The current opaqueness of ZEC’s processes is unconstitutional, retrogressive, and further fuels the democratic backsliding in Zimbabwe. We further recommend that ZEC should also avail the delimitation voters roll as well as the most current version and have them audited by top-tier auditing firms and ensure that all discrepancies have been resolved.

Be Fair: According to Section 236 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, ZEC should not act in a partisan manner; should not further the interests of any political party or cause and should not prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause. It is  unfortunate that the since time immemorial, ZEC has been accused of being partisan and of furthering the interests of ZANU-PF, while stifling the democratic rights of opposition parties. The just-ended delimitation has also empirically confirmed these accusations, from the unfair underrepresentation of urban voters, to the manipulation of electoral borders to give an unfair advantage to ZANU-PF.

This is contrary to the fundamental values that define us as Zimbabweans. Section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is clear that, “All persons are equal and that every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner”. Section 155(1)(c) on the principles of Zimbabwe’s electoral system further reiterates that our elections must be based on the equality of votes. The discrimination of urban voters and the systematic deprivation of their right to fair representation is unconstitutional. Delimitation was meant to redress this representation inequity, but ZEC failed to address this imbalance for reasons best known to them. We hope that there is still time for ZEC to portray at least some semblance of fairness, and resolve the under representation of urban voters.

 

Be Professional: The delimitation report has hundreds of irregularities that border on professional malpractice, whether they were intentional or not. Most of the problems we found in the report could have been avoided if ZEC carried out their constitutional mandate professionally. The evident lack of data quality assurance and data quality controls at ZEC is indicative of a Chapter 12 institution that is being poorly managed. Section 194(1)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states on the basic values and principles governing public administration stresses that in all Government institutions, ZEC included, “a high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained.” The administrative failures evident from the flaws in the delimitation report do not inspire any confidence, and clearly demonstrate that there is a significant dearth of professionals at ZEC. We strongly recommend that ZEC revisit their recruitment and selection process to ensure that they hire the best  professionals who are not partisan, but have the greatest regard for professional standards and ethics

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