ELECTORAL Resource Centre (ERC) has launched a post-election initiative meant to mobilise Zimbabweans to follow-up on election promises and election reforms among other things.
ERC executive director Tawanda Chimhini said engaging citizens in the electoral reform process was important in ensuring credible, free and fair elections in 2023.
He said starting this process eight months after the 2018 elections was relevant as the quality of future elections and democratic processes depends on what is done now and not a few months before the 2023 polls.
Chimhini said through the follow-up initiative the ERC recognises that citizens are central in promoting the improvements in the electoral cycle and compelling constitutional conduct by state institutions.
He urged government to engage citizens to improve the quality of elections.
“While various efforts by the government to consider reforms have been noted and appear to be underway; such as the Inter-ministerial Taskforce on Electoral and political reforms, dialogue among some presidential candidates of the 2018 harmonised elections and a commitment to fully align the constitution, it is yet to be understood how the citizen can participate and be the priority, if not the centre of such efforts.
“The ERC resumed efforts towards electoral reforms through engaging stakeholders for purposes of prioritising electoral reforms in late 2018 harmonised elections and such efforts are built around citizen participation. Any advocacy devoid of the citizen stands little chance of succeeding,” Chimhini said.
The ERC executive director said they have been running a campaign to popularise contact details of officials that were elected during the 2018 elections. Chimhini urged citizens to start calling on all elected officials and find out how far they are in fulfilling the promises that they committed to before elections.
“We have been encouraging citizens to get hold of their Members of Parliament and find out if they are following up on issues that they promised to work on. We have availed the contact list to citizens who ask for it and we have a call centre where citizens can call for free and get details of those officials and engage them,” he added.
This comes as the 2018 elections were allegedly tainted by limited transparency and accountability following allegations that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) rigged last year’s elections.
ERC last year recommended that Parliament and the Executive should consider an inclusive process of institutionally reforming the Zec, looking at its personnel and practices, while at the same time reforming the legal framework for elections looking at the Electoral Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Order and Security Act and all election-related regulations and procedures focusing on constitutionality and international best practises.
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