A very positive piece of news in the past few days was that negotiators from the three political formations had generally agreed on an election roadmap, with very few “sticking” points still to be resolved. Parliament has a significant role to play in the process of coming up with a democratic people-driven constitution and amending the Electoral Act and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act.
As the electoral management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is one of the critical players in any election process and upon which the credibility of an election depends. It is a successor to the Electoral Supervisory Commission, which was largely seen as an extension of the Executive in the administration of electoral matters.
Globally, the trend has been to create electoral management bodies that are independent in the true sense and are perceived as such by the public. It is in that spirit that the statute creating Zec needs attention to ensure that it is operationally and financially independent of the Executive.
An electoral management body must be established not because it is fashionable to do so, but because those are the dictates of a democratic dispensation. In consequence, it must be enabled to discharge its mandate fully without fear or favour.