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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Set to Implement Sweeping Reforms

FILE: People queue to vote in a referendum at a polling station in Harare, March 16, 2013.
FILE: People queue to vote in a referendum at a polling station in Harare, March 16, 2013.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, says the election management body is implementing a raft of measures aimed at making the Zimbabwe’s electoral system more transparent and credible

Makarau told a stakeholders’ conference organised by the Elections Resource Centre that the reforms include a robust and efficient biometric voter registration exercise that would eliminate the dead and absent from the voters roll.

She said the polling station-based voter registration exercise would, among other issues, result in the reduction in the number of ballot papers per polling station and reduce chances of double voting.

She said the reforms, some of which are mandatory, were driven by the new constitution, recommendations from observer missions in previous elections as well as constructive engagement with stakeholders.

Makarau said ZEC was ready to engage stakeholders and political parties on a monthly basis with a view to build trust and confidence in the electoral process.

People’s Democratic Party secretary for elections, Settlement Chikwanya, said efforts by the commission to consult stakeholders are commendable.

Report on Electorial Reform Filed By Irwin Chifera
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Kurauone Chihwayi, spokesperson of the MDC formation led by Professor Welshman Ncube, said Makarau must be given a chance to implement the reforms.

But Women’s Coalition co-ordinator, Sally Dura, said she hoped this time ZEC would implement reforms as recommended by stakeholders.

Opposition political parties and civil society mistrust the Electoral Commission saying it’s not been conducting its business in a transparent manner and that it is militarized and full of security agents.