The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has urged the ninth Parliament to institute comprehensive electoral reforms that can better respond to the diverse interests of electoral stakeholders and create a more electoral environment in the country.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to officially open the ninth parliament on Tuesday.
In a statement, ZESN Director Mrs Rindai Chipfunde Vava said comprehensive electoral reform is important in developing the country’s democracy.
“ZESN notes that comprehensive reform of the existing electoral legislation remains a critical component of efforts to further improve our democracy. Previous efforts at improving electoral laws have remained piecemeal,” said Vava.
She pointed out that the ninth Parliament has the privilege of focusing on issues concerning electoral reform in preparation of the next elections set for 2023.
“Unlike previous electoral cycles, the ninth Parliament and the Government have a unique opportunity to deal with issues related to electoral reform, way ahead of the next Harmonized elections, scheduled for 2023,”said Vava.
“This will give electoral stakeholders ample time to acquaint themselves with electoral laws and regulations”.
She stated some of the outstanding issues from the previous electoral reform initiatives that need to be addressed.
“These issues include limitations on the independence of ZEC, the right to vote especially for those in the diaspora, hospital patients and prisoners, the procurement and printing of ballot papers remains shrouded in secrecy and there are no provisions directing the separation of election residue to enable petitioners to obtain a recount for a specified election,” said Vava.
“Another notable omission is the absence of a framework to guide the operations and accreditation of long term observers.”