By Daniel Chigundu
Legal watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should work to build trust in order to arrest controversies over electoral processes.
ZEC is currently at loggerheads with opposition parties who feel the election body has been handling the election processes in an unfair manner with a view to favour one party (Zanu PF).
Two weeks ago ZEC was accused of leaking its election database to Zanu PF who went on to send unsolicited text messages appealing for votes to various people in various constituencies.
And as if that was not enough, ZEC found itself in the middle of another alleged controversy following their handling of the postal vote especially with police (Zimbabwe Republic Police).
In its weekly Election Watch series, Veritas said ZEC has the responsibility to ensure all electoral processes are done in a transparent manner.
“ZEC’s task is not just to conduct the elections freely and fairly but to convince everyone– candidates, parties, observers and the Zimbabwean public – that the elections are indeed free and fair.
“In other words, ZEC must build trust by ensuring that all electoral processes are conducted transparently. Postal voting has been controversial in past elections, so ZEC should have taken steps for voting by police and Defence Force members to be observed by accredited election observers and election agents.
“Although the Electoral Act does not require it, as we have said, ZEC could legitimately, under section 352 of the Constitution, have directed the police and Defence Force authorities to see that their members voted by post in the presence of observers. If ZEC had done this, the renewed controversy over postal voting would not have arisen,” said Veritas.
According to Tendai Biti, the MDC Alliance was not aware that there was postal voting taking place and they had not been furnished with details as required by the law.
Biti added that they had since instructed their legal representative to file an urgent court application seeking to stop the process.