BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI / PRIDE MZARABANI
THE Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) yesterday called for a repeal of the Political Parties (Finance) Act and urged Parliament to introduce a new financing model to enable smaller parties to benefit from State funding.
Until the passage of the Political Parties (Finance) Act of 1992, there was no provision for the financing of political parties in Zimbabwe.
The Act provides for State funding of political parties with at least 5% of the total votes cast.
In a position paper after a meeting on electoral reforms held in the capital yesterday, Polad said the Act should be repealed in its entirety.
“The current system of State funding of political parties does not promote the growth of a truly democratic multi-party system,” the position paper read in part.
“It does not take into account all votes cast in a general election. It has a very high minimum threshold of 5% of votes cast and it does not consider votes cast for the president and for local councillors.”
Under the current Political Parties (Finance) Act, any political party that secures at least 5% of the total votes cast is entitled to receive funding from Treasury.
But Polad argued that the minimum threshold should be 1%.
“It is proposed that the Political Parties (Finance) Act be repealed and a new financing model put into the Electoral Act. In that new model, the funding must be for the three separate elections namely presidential, parliament and local government. For each such election, the minimum must be 1%.” The country has witnessed nasty fights among political parties over funds disbursed under the Act.
The fight for State funding between the MDC Alliance and MDC-T ended up in the courts.
Polad also said the number of nominators for presidential candidates must be increased from 100 to 200, with nominators being from at least five provinces.
“Ballot papers must have a single vertical column of names of candidates in alphabetic order of surnames whatever the length best practice regarded as transparent and democratic is that the election management bodies must not have discretion on the shape or appearance of the ballot paper. This must be fixed by law,” Polad added.
“It is proposed that a provision be inserted in the electoral act prescribing that the ballot paper shall be have a single continuous column of names of candidates.”