By Rutendo Bamu
A coalition of citizens has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to conduct its duties in the letter and spirit of the Constitution after the electoral management body was accused of running recent by-elections in a partisan manner.
The citizens were angered by the manner Zec conducted the Glen View South by-elections, accusing the electoral body of failing to act in accordance with the Electoral Act and Section 239(a)(iv) of the Constitution that calls for elections to be administered in a fair, efficient and transparent manner.
“The petitioners beseech the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to adhere to principles already provide for in the Electoral Act and also effect administrative changes that add value to the principles of conducting elections efficiently, fairly, freely, transparently and in accordance with the Constitution Section 239(a)(iv),” they wrote.
The petitioners revealed that there were various unconstitutional practices that took place ahead of the Glen View by elections, including unfair coverage of political parties by the State media but Zec did not play its role of ensuring efficient, fairness and transparent conducting of the elections.
They also outlined the mushrooming of strangers who claimed to be Glen View residents registering to vote ahead of the September 7 2019 by-election and the disappearance of some citizens’ names on the voters’ roll.
They also queried the borehole drilling by the District Development Fund in the constituency ahead of the by-election, which many deemed to have been overt vote buying
Election Resource Centre director, Tawanda Chimhini supported the action by the citizens and said his organisation was following the matter with keen interest.
“Citizens’ participation is essential as they are the ones who benefit from the electoral reform. In the past citizens only register and voted and their participation was never extended from there,” he said, adding the ERC was looking forward to Zec’s response to the petition by citizens.
Zec chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said he was not able to comment on issues raised in the petition.