Why ZEC must revive stakeholder platforms

By Daniel Chigundu

ELECTION Resource Centre (ERC) says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must revive the abandoned stakeholder consultative platforms in order to reduce speculation and mistrust.

A few months ago ZEC announced that it was stopping the stakeholder consultative forums because opposition parties were allegedly acting in bad faith.

The decision to stop the platforms, however, resulted in opposition parties raising speculations and uncertainty alarms over the direction in which Zimbabwe is going regarding the 2018 elections.

In a statement, ERC said ZEC must revive the stakeholders meeting in the spirit of transparency ahead of the contagious 2018 general elections.

“In the spirit of upholding a transparent conduct of electoral processes, the ERC encourages ZEC to immediately reconvene stakeholder consultative forums around the following key processes;

“Finalisation of voter registration regulations, procurement of Biometric Voter Registration kits and the automated fingerprint identification system, the existing data centre and its capabilities and share proposed plans for voter education for voter registration.

“While ZEC has the constitutional mandate to conduct elections, it must be emphasised that such a mandate cannot be exercised in isolation. Stakeholder engagement in planning, implementation and review of all electoral processes will aid in reducing speculation, promoting confidence and building trust around election processes,” said the election watchdog.

ZEC is currently awaiting delivery of biometric voter registrations (BVR) kits from Laxton Group System so that it can embark on the voter registration exercise.

Meanwhile, ERC has said the announcement by ZEC that it will soon give an update to all stakeholders with regards to latest developments; the announcement is not enough as it does not contain dates and timelines.

“Although Justice Makarau has indicated that ZEC will soon engage all stakeholders to update them on issues related to the preparations for next year’s elections, the ERC insists that the commission must give specific timelines as to when stakeholders will be engaged,” said the ERC statement.

ZEC is currently in a fix over the issues of data servers that will be used to store the voter’s information with unconfirmed reports saying Laxton Group Systems has advised against using servers supplied from other suppliers.

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