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ZEC Election Preparations Impress SADC Observer Mission

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum’s pre-election observer mission to Zimbabwe which arrived in Harare on Monday says it is satisfied with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s preparations for the 2013 harmonised elections.

Head of the five-member mission, Dumelang Saleshando, told journalists after a briefing from the commission that ZEC was following the law in preparing for the elections.

The mission, which is in the country ahead of SADC’s observer team, will meet with political party representatives, civil society organisations government and the media as election day draws closer.

Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau told the mission that ZEC is ready for the elections.

She said nomination fees have been pegged at $500 for presidential candidates.

Party lists for senatorial, national assembly and provincial councils will costs $60 each.

Makarau later told a meeting between ZEC and political party representatives that the 30-day constitutional voter registration exercise, has been going on well with more 200,000 new voters registered since it began four days ago.

She said a similar number was registered in the previous exercise bringing the total number of new voters to about half a million people.

At a meeting meant to explain the nomination process, Makarau and her team said it was vital for parties to pay attention to detail to avoid to avoid disqualification on technical basis.

Justice Makarau urged political parties to take advantage of the pre-nomination phase which provides allows advance nominations.

The Commission is set to receive nominations in advance tomorrow and Justice Makarau explains that parties that do so enjoy the privilege of replacing candidates in the event of death after nomination.

A shocker to the political parties is the requirement that candidates in council elections produce police and rates clearance to enter the race.

Director-general Toindepi Shonhe of the MDC-T says this is untenable.

But Makarau says there is no option.

Several political parties who attended Tuesday’s meeting expressed concern at the short time they have to collect ballot papers and meet the police clearance and rates clearance for council elections.

But Makarau and her team refused to take the blame telling party representatives it was their responsibility to acquaint themselves with the country’s electoral laws.

Justice Makarau said the commission had taken the initiative to meet the parties after realising the parties did not understand their obligations.

Thirty political parties have shown interest in participating in the harmonized elections.