MDC-T demands ZEC funding changes

via MDC-T demands ZEC funding changes – NewZimbabwe 03/02/2016

THE MDC-T has demanded changes to the Electoral Act to, among other things, allow the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to be funded by a Parliamentary vote as the opposition partY pushes for reforms ahead of the 2018 election.

In a statement this week, the party said the present arrangement whereby ZEC is funded through the ministry of justice was not ideal.

MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu said the electoral commission is presently facing serious financial problems and material constraints.

“The ideal situation is for ZEC to get government funds in a separate vote by Parliament,” he said.

While ZEC may get funding from other local and foreign sources, such support must be approved by the ministers of justice and finance.

Gutu said the requirement for ministerial approval contravened the constitution which “emphasises that independent commissions, including ZEC, are independent and not subject to the direction or control of anyone”.

“The legal provision that gives too much power to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance regarding the funding of ZEC undermines the independence of this constitutional commission,” said the MDC-T spokesman.

“Surely, the Commissioners must be trusted to make proper decisions regarding acceptance of financial assistance from local and foreign sources to ensure that such funds will not compromise their independence.

“Both the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance are actually political actors as well as Ministers and it would be better to leave it to the Commission to make these decisions.”

Voter registration also needs to be a continuous process, with those reaching the age of 18 automatically added to the electoral roll.

“The MDC advocates that persons who reach the age of 18 should automatically be placed on the voters’ roll, but voting will remain optional,” said Gutu.

“Voter registration should also be done electronically to allow persons in the Diaspora to register without having to return to Zimbabwe.”

Security services personnel on training should not be allowed to vote at the cantonments where they would be temporarily stationed.

“Section 23 of the Electoral Act also has to be amended,” said Gutu.

“There must be a provision that members of the security services who are temporarily undergoing training at training barracks must be registered as voters in the places where they were born or where they ordinarily reside and not at the locations where they are undergoing training.”

He added: “The holding of free and fair elections is a prerequisite for sustainable democratic and socio-economic development.

“The lack of political legitimacy has been haunting the Zanu PF regime ever since the holding of the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections that were seriously rigged.

“The people of Zimbabwe deserve to be governed by a government of their own choice; freely and fairly elected into power in an electoral contest that passes the test of legitimacy.

“Nothing short of this will be acceptable.”