Source: Justice Makarau must leave ZEC now, PDP – NewZimbabwe 29/6/2016
FORMER Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s PDP party has demanded the immediate disbandment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) saying it is manned by partisan state agents and a chairperson whose substantive job as a court judge compromised her impartiality.
PDP Secretary for Elections, Settlement Chikwinya said the controversial election management body remained the sole reason why the country was still failing to restore full democracy.
Makarau is current secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
PDP insists this placed her impartiality as ZEC chief in serious doubt as she still appoints and minds the welfare of the same judges who are supposed to handle complaints against her commission.
“From her recent statements on electoral reforms,” Chikwinya said in a statement, “it is also clear that Makarau is under pressure from Zanu PF not to carry out any meaningful reforms that can deliver credible and uncontested elections in Zimbabwe before 2018.
“Furthermore, the operations of ZEC are not independent as it has no direct control of its funding as per the country’s Constitution and has to rely on funding from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.”
Chikwinya said ZEC also has no personnel of its own and depended on partisan public officials who involved state agents.
“The senior secretariat members at ZEC are military and intelligence officers who are partisan and incapable of assisting Justice Makarau in pushing for electoral reforms,” said the former Mbizo legislator.
The PDP reiterated calls for comprehensive electoral reforms in the country adding this was the only way the country could restore democracy.
These, Chikwinya said, should include areas of election management, electoral environment and the electoral law.
He added: “ZEC is by far the reason why free and fair elections have been part of Zimbabwe’s post-independence history.
“ZEC is not independent and has been at the centre of all the electoral process in Zimbabwe.
“It remains manned by personalities and characters whose sole purpose is to reproduce the status quo.”
The country’s opposition has cried foul over the voters’ roll which it says was deliberately kept away from Zanu PF opponents for electoral manipulation in behalf of the ruling party.
Chikwinya said this was in violation of the country’s electoral laws which prescribe that all interested parties should have access to the roll.
As part of conditions to restore a free and fair environment, Chikwinya said, his party was demanding the immediate disbanding of ZEC and its replacement with a new National Management Body.
PDP further urged a repeal and redrafting of the Electoral Act and the creation of an Independent Electoral Court.
It further demanded the opening of the media space, continuous voter registration, adoption of the Diaspora Vote and the cancellation of the voter slips which Zanu PF opponents said were used by the ruling party to rig the 2013 polls.