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‘Align electoral laws to Constitution’

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‘Align electoral laws to Constitution’

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THE Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) has called for urgent alignment of legislations and observer mission recommendations on elections with the Constitution before the 2023 polls.

In a Twitter space discussion last week, ZESN said:  “Failure to align electoral laws with the Constitution will result in devastating effects on 2023 electoral outcomes.”

A recent survey by ZESN revealed that Zimbabwe has a tendency of casually accepting election observer reports and their recommendations, but never act on them.

“This has resulted in piecemeal electoral reforms over the years, which undermines the effectiveness of electoral observer efforts,” the ZESN report read.

Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu said electoral laws need to be explicit on the issue of deployment of election observers and monitors to ensure that they are not restricted from observing voting processes.

“Some of the challenges are that there is always late deployment of monitors and observers during elections. Consequently, their reports lack good contextual analysis to determine how people conduct themselves on the voting day. For a country with hotly contested elections, monitors and observers must come at least three months earlier than the elections. Local civic society organisations and the opposition must also compile credible data that is backed by evidence to share with monitors and observers,”Maguwu said.

Academic Methuseli Moyo said: “The contest starts well before the elections. It begins from registration, delimitation of constituencies and wards, distribution and location of polling stations, and then voting itself and the counting and tallying of votes. So by the time observers arrive, the processes would have started long back. Therefore, election monitoring is just academic.”

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said the regional and continental blocs have been unable to come up with methods to enforce their recommendations in order to end electoral conflict in Zimbabwe.

He said Zimbabwe is notorious for failure to pay attention to, and implement election observer reports from credible international observers.

“The African Union and Southern Africa Development Cooperation observer missions have made recommendations for electoral reforms which are yet to be implemented, and these bodies do not have meaningful follow up mechanisms,” Gwede said. Newsday

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