Weak laws impede Zec from delivering credible polls: Makarau

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said the country’s electoral laws are so weak that they affect the election management body’s ability to effectively deal with electoral malpractices.

Source: Weak laws impede Zec from delivering credible polls: Makarau – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 16, 2016


Speaking at a Zec chairperson’s forum media engagement meeting, Justice Rita Makarau said the commission had no teeth to deal with issues such as media bias, violence and vote-buying.

She said the commission could not rein in on violence which rocked the Norton by-election last month, vote-buying and biased media coverage because of weak laws.

“The laws are weak. We do not have teeth to bite and bite painfully, we only monitor and can’t take any action,” she said.

The Norton by-election was marred by allegations of vote-buying, voter intimidation and violence, which she said should have been dealt with by other arms of government, such as the police and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
Justice Makarau, however, said despite the violence, the vote delivered the will of the people, calling on observers to change how they judge the electoral system.

“How do you qualify an election as credible? When it reflects the will of the people or if the process is flawless … If people are beaten up, but still vote for the person they still wanted to vote for, I still consider that as a credible outcome as it reflects the will of the people” she said.

There have been calls by a group of opposition political parties under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) to amend electoral laws so that they can deliver fair and credible polls.

Nera, among others, has also been calling for Justice Makarau to quit, saying her roles as both Zec boss and Judicial Service Commission secretary posed a serious conflict of interest.

But Justice Makarau said she would stay put in both positions: “I have not stepped down from any of the positions, basically, because I don’t see any conflict of interest. If I had seen it, I would have stepped down… I am standing on principle and stepping down would be giving in to the unfounded allegations.”

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said only a blind person would miss the point that there was conflict in her two positions.