ZEC Need Not Oppose Every Electoral Challenge, It Must Be Impartial: Veritas

Image Credit: Privilege Musvanhiri (@Musvanhiri)

 

Parliamentary and civic rights watchdog, Veritas has said that there is no need for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to oppose every electoral challenge because it is supposed to be impartial. Veritas said that Zec should instead abide by the decisions of the court and leave the government to oppose the challenges. Veritas has taken Zec to the High Court demanding transparency in the running of the July 30 elections. In a Statement, Veritas said,

The Constitution requires ZEC to conduct elections in accordance with the Electoral Act but it has not given ZEC power to make or to change the Act. That is the function of Parliament. ZEC is usually cited as a respondent in electoral cases, but this is simply because ZEC is an interested party. It does not mean that ZEC should always contest the cases. If a case involves interpretation of the law and the Constitution, it is not really ZEC’s concern since ZEC cannot control what the law says.

Hence if a person goes to court challenging the validity of a provision of the Electoral Act, it is up to the Attorney General’s Office or the Ministry of Justice to oppose or not oppose the challenge. ZEC is an independent constitutional commission and should preserve its impartiality at all costs. ZEC’s course is to abide by the decision of the court: that is to say, to leave it to government to contest the challenge and to act in conformity with whatever the court may decide. In that way, ZEC will remain impartial and will avoid incurring heavy legal costs.

Note: The court papers for all Veritas’ court cases can be found on our website.

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