NewsZimElections2023

ZEC problems lie with the secretariat: Mwonzora

MDC-T president, Douglas Mwonzora has said problems with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s independence do not necessarily lie with commissioners themselves but the electoral management body’s secretariat.

The issue of ZEC’s independence always becomes topical every time Zimbabwe goes to the polls and next year’s harmonised elections are not an exception.

Responding to questions on whether the recent appointment of ZANU-PF vice president Kembo Mohadi’s daughter, Abigail Mohadi-Ambrose into ZEC would further compromise its independence, Mwonzora said the commission’s problems were by and large rooted in its secretariat.

“The issue with ZEC ladies and gentlemen is not the commission,” said Mwonzora Thursday during CITE’ This Morning on Asakhe, a programme hosted on Twitter Space.

“The problem with ZEC lies in the secretariat, lies in the committees and these include the Accreditation Committee, the Logistics Committee, and so on. And these committees are composed, among other things of people from the executive. So you see people from the President’s Office, you see people from Foreign Affairs Ministry and you see people from the Ministry of Justice. That is wrong because that is putting executive influence in an independent organisation.”

Mwonzora said the focus of political parties’ dialogues ahead of polls should be to ensure that ZEC becomes a truly independent commission.  

“We should focus on making ZEC an independent commission, independent of the secretariat, of people from the executive of the commission, independent of the committees and subcommittees under the under the commission,” he said.

“Those are things that matter for our dialogue. If we address that, it will not matter who the commissioner is, the rules will be. I don’t think the Kenyan Commissioners are saints no, but they have rules that they’ve adhered to and our ZEC must adhere to those rules. That way we will have a truly independent commission. I am not happy about the way ZEC is constituted.”

The MDC-T leader said coming up with laws governing the management of elections is largely driven by the fact that citizens do not trust authorities and state institutions

“I want to quote Lovemore Madhuku on this one, he says our constitutions are built out of the distrust of politicians,” said Mwonzora.

“One reason we have rules is that we inherently distrust state institutions, and we inherently distrust a government. We inherently distrust those in authority. That’s why we seek to bind them with rules.”

He added: “So what we have done in the constitution is to define how ZEC must act. It must act within the confines of the constitution. They must be apolitical. They must not favour the interest of any political party.”

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