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ZESN Raises Concerns Over Proposed Constitutional Amendments

By Staff Reporter

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has voiced apprehension regarding proposed Constitutional Amendments that could significantly reshape electoral processes within the nation.

In a press statement Wednesday, ZESN highlighted several key alterations, including the transfer of crucial responsibilities such as voter registration from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to the Registrar-General’s Office.

“The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) notes with concern the proposed Constitutional Amendments that will significantly alter electoral processes in the country.  The motion seeks to transfer key responsibilities such as voter registration from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to the Registrar-General’s Office,” said ZESN.

The proposed motion further aims to revoke delimitation responsibilities from the ZEC, suggesting a return to the previous system where the Delimitation Commission was entrusted with delineating electoral boundaries.

According to ZESN, these proposals represent a regression to the pre-2009 electoral system, potentially compromising the independence of the ZEC and eroding citizens’ confidence in electoral processes.

“All these proposals revert to pre-2009 system and in ZESN’s opinion, removing such integral processes from ZEC are both retrogressive and a reversal of past progressive electoral reforms,” the elections lobby group said.

ZESN emphasized that Section 239 of the Constitution mandates the ZEC to oversee elections and referendums, register voters, compile voter rolls, delimit constituencies, conduct voter education, and accredit observers.

The organization compared Zimbabwe’s electoral framework with that of other regional Election Management Bodies (EMBs), pointing out that the proposed reforms diverge from the independent model adopted in 2009, which centralized electoral processes under the ZEC for better planning and institutionalization.

Highlighting the significance of the 2013 Constitution, which emerged from a people-driven process, ZESN cautioned against excessive amendments that could undermine trust in electoral processes.

The organization suggested that instead of amending the Constitution, efforts should focus on strengthening the ZEC’s independence and capacity, aligning with constitutional provisions and international standards.

ZESN urged the government to reconsider proposals submitted by various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in previous electoral cycles, emphasizing the need to enhance ZEC’s independence, accessibility, and transparency.

The organization advocated for a holistic electoral reform approach that aligns with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, SADC Principles, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance.


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