Zec indicating right but turning left

Source: Zec indicating right but turning left – NewsDay Zimbabwe

ON its website, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) lists among its top goals “to conduct and manage elections and referenda in Zimbabwe in a transparent, impartial and independent manner and to put in place a voter registration system that results in a credible voters’ roll.”

In its mission statement, it says it wants to be “a centre of excellence in the management of elections and referendums.”

Judging by how it has managed elections so far, those lofty standards are clearly more of a wish list than anything of substance that the commission hopes to achieve.

So, the admission by Zec spokesperson Joyce Kazembe that the commission had bungled by depriving thousands of prospective first-time voters an opportunity to participate in the upcoming by-elections after it failed to provide adequate and accessible registration centres throughout the country does not surprise us at all.

Indeed, it exposes the poor leadership at the helm of a critical institution that lacks accountability and professionalism, and does not see the need for either.

With the by-elections just over two months away, Zec announced that it had already closed the voters’ roll, two days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the date for the polls.

The commission is doing its utmost to keep people from voting, it appears.

What is worrying is that Zec hardly had a good moment since its inception and all the major decisions it has made are either controversial, have been contested or are contestable.

It has certainly lost credibility and recent statements reveal an organisation that is at sea, trying to appear transparent but end up proving just how incompetent it is.

Two weeks ago, it claimed that only 2 000 people had registered as first-time voters throughout the year. After being publicly humiliated for lying, it revised the figure to 2 971.

It also initially indicated that there were 22 000 deceased voters and that it would remove them from the voters’ roll. That figure jumped to 35 000 a few days later without so much of an explanation as to how the figure rose dramatically.

The Ninth Parliament has among its honourable members of the National Assembly, one Dexter Nduna who lost in the 2018 elections to MDC Alliance’s Gift Konjana in the battle for Chegutu West.

Zec, it transpired, had counted some votes cast in Konjana’s favour as Nduna’s. It acknowledged its mistake but refused to correct it and since then, the people of Chegutu West have been represented in Parliament by a member they rejected at the ballot.

Zec has zero credibility, and its continuous fudging of simple electoral processes means that future elections are destined for contestation. The commission must up its game or those who lead it must just quit.