21 December 2012

Zimbabwe: ZEC Cannot Deliver Free and Fair Elections - ZDI

THE Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has called for the inclusive government to immediately take measures to demilitarise the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) secretariat to restore its independence for it to credibly run crucial elections set for next year.

In a report released this week the ZDI, a local public policy think-tank, contends an unreformed Zec secretariat, as currently composed, cannot deliver free and fair elections.

The report says the current Zec composition provides an opportunity for powerful political forces to manipulate popular influence through institutionalised mechanisms and political strategies.

"We call upon Sadc to urge the inclusive government of Zimbabwe to, as part of the elections roadmap, ensure fresh recruitment of Zec employees and to ensure they have no connections to the security sector," reads the report.

"This includes recalling all military and security agents, retired and serving, in Zec and starting an open and transparent recruitment process," it reads.

In a bid to resolve the country's protracted political stalemate, political parties agreed to a raft of reforms which would pave way for free and fair elections, and the revamping of Zec is one of the major reforms that has to be done before elections.

According to the ZDI, a credible and impartial Zec is a critical factor in attempts to deliver a democratic electoral process, outcome and consequently a smooth transfer of power in Zimbabwe.

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