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Veritas Takes Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to Court Over Voter Education, Polls Transparency

FILE: A woman carrying a child casts her vote at a polling station in Domboshava, about 45 km (28 miles) north of Harare, July 31, 2013.

Veritas Zimbabwe, a parliamentary watchdog, has taken the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to court in an attempt to ensure that voters are given proper information on voting and for ZEC to run a free, fair and credible election.

David Coltart, one of the lawyers handling two cases to be heard in court Monday, said he will only comment after court proceedings.

In the first case Veritas is seeking to open up voter education which is currently restricted to the commission. It argues that this restriction is inconsistent with the freedom of expression which is guaranteed under the country’s constitution.

In the second case, Veritas is seeking the court to rule on the definition of transparency and sets out 20 issues that ZEC has to fulfill for the coming elections to be declared transparent.

“Both cases raise constitutional issues affecting the Electoral Act and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC]’s functions under the Constitution and the Electoral Act.”

In the first case, “…Veritas is bringing the case as a public interest case. Although the case was filed last year, Veritas had to make an urgent application to have it heard as a matter of urgency. Time is running short before these elections. But there is still a great deal of voter education to be done now – and if the case is won it will benefit later elections too.”

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