'Disband Zec for failing to run by-elections smoothly'

‘Disband Zec for failing to run by-elections smoothly’

Source: ‘Disband Zec for failing to run by-elections smoothly’ – DailyNews Live

BERNARD CHIKETO      18 April 2017

HARARE – National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) has demanded that
President Robert Mugabe disbands the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)
after it failed to censure his ruling Zanu PF over electoral violations in
recent by-elections.

The lobby group’s head of legal affairs, Douglas Mwonzora, told the Daily
News recently that Zec failed the basic test of being an independent
electoral management body in its administration of recent by-elections and
ought to be disbanded.

Mwonzora said they would also back the legal process with mass protests
and a diplomatic offensive to have the United Nations run the elections if
Mugabe does not give in to their demands.

“We dispatched a letter to Mugabe on Thursday asking him to dissolve Zec,
pointing out those things that Zec have done wrong. For example, the
by-elections that it has handled were characterised by violence, voter
fraud, intimidation, vote-buying, bribery, food being abused for political
gain and in some instances stands were offered.

“Zec should have censured Zanu PF for doing that but instead Zec just kept
quite. So, it has failed in the basic test as an independent electoral
management body and we of course know what Mugabe’s answer is. He is going
to deny, he is going to refuse, he is going to be stubborn, but we are
then going to escalate it at the political and diplomatic scale,” Mwonzora
said.

He said the parties were ready to trigger their three fall back options –
a legal suit, political challenge and a diplomatic offensive.

“There are three potent things that we can do. The first is the legal
route, if a constitutional body begins to act unconstitutionally, then it
ceases to have legitimacy and it must disband. So, we can kick-start the
legal process for the dissolution of Zec.

“Number two, we will go to the streets, the political solution. We are
going to flood the streets of Harare, Bulawayo, and Mutare demanding that
Zec must disband. Then number three, we are going to the diplomatic front.
We are going to ask Sadc, AU (African Union) and United Nations to run the
elections for Zimbabwe,” Mwonzora said.

The move by Nera – a grouping of 18-plus opposition political parties –
comes barely a week after 93-year-old Mugabe defended Zec saying it was
doing its work properly.

“Unable to face our mighty party, they have now turned their guns on the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission; they are fighting a commission that has no
fault,” Mugabe said while addressing Zanu PF’s central committee meeting a
fortnight ago.

“Itself a constitutional body mandated to run elections in our country,
afflicted by madness as it were, which knows no bounds they even seek to
interfere with the mandate of government tendering process, hoping for
some optimistic fissures and little chances that might give them a little
respectability.”

Mwonzora said they have set up subcommittees headed by political party
leaders.

On Thursday, we sat as political parties who are fighting for electoral
reforms. We agreed that the political parties will fight on three fronts –
the legal front, the political front as well as the diplomatic front and
we therefore created sub committees of the political parties and put the
various political party leaders to head those three.

“The diplomatic subcommittee will be led by Morgan Tsvangirai, political
subcommittee will be led by Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru and the legal
subcommittee will be headed by Tendai Biti. This is a very, very good
development indeed,” Mwonzora said.

He however, said on a positive note, Zec had written to them inviting
political parties to send their representatives to witness a validation
test of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits.

“We also received a letter from Zec on Thursday calling upon the political
parties to send their representatives for accreditation to go and do the
validation test for the BVR kits.

“The three suppliers will be on parade. We are going to send our technical
experts to look at those machines.

“We are very excited that the people who were finally chosen are people
who were chosen by the United Nations and we are very, very excited,” he
said.

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