The Election Resource Center (ERC) has condemned the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) for failing to submit its accounts and finances to the Office of the Auditor-General fin 2018 and 2019 for audit purposes.
ERC in a statement, Tuesday, said such conduct by ZEC violates the principles of the Constitution and in turn kills public confidence in the system.
Section 195 of the Constitution requires all institutions and agencies of government at all tiers to be; (f) accountable to parliament (g) cooperate with each other and 196 3 c) accountable to the public for decisions and actions.
“Usage of finances by any Election Management Body is governed by principles of election administration of which transparency and accountability are key to foster trust and confidence. We note with dismay the failure by ZEC to provide 2018 and 2019 accounts for audit to the Auditor General,” said ERC.
ERC called on the Parliament to summon the Electoral Commission to explain why the accounts have not yet been availed for audit purposes.
“Parliament has the responsibility, on behalf of citizens, to hold ZEC to account periodically to foster a culture of transparency that should transcend all other functions of the public body. If the use of public funds by an election commission is shrouded in secrecy, then chances are high that the management of the elections themselves could also suffer the same fate,” said ERC.
“ERC therefore encourages ZEC to provide its accounts and financials to the Office of the Auditor-General for the years 2018 and 2019 for audit purposes. It must comprehensively consult election stakeholders and also provide its calendar of events and activities to ensure accountability to the citizens of Zimbabwe and to electoral stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the Center for Natural Resource Governance, CNRG, has issued a report on how Zimbabwe’s natural resources were allegedly used to finance the 2018 elections.
In the report entitled Mortgaging the Future in Return for Power: Zimbabwe’s Natural Resources and the 2018 Election, CNRG alleges that In a country where money plays a pivotal role in politics, the budget for election campaigns for political parties has become more demanding, even for parties that get some form of support from treasury.
CNRG noted that some business interests and cartels pour in money into political parties’ campaigns in return for business contracts if a political party wins election and forms the next government.
“Dirty funds have found ways into political parties’ finances, posing many challenges and threatening both democracy and the allegiance that elected officials should ideally have towards the electorate,” alleged CNRG.
“In an attempt to address challenges of ‘illegal’ money influencing electoral outcomes, most countries, Zimbabwe included, have now established regulations and statutes that govern financing of political parties.