The executive director of the Election Resource Centre (ERC) David Chimhini has formally lodged a complaint against Deputy Defence Minister Victor Matemadanda with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba.
This comes after Matemadanda, while at the close of the ZANU PF 18th Annual Conference held in Goromonzi in December 2019, said if ZANU PF fails to retain power through elections, it will use other means to retain the same.
In a statement issued this Friday, Chimhini said:
Section 155(1)(d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that elections to which this Constitution applies must be free from violence and other electoral malpractices.
Section 239 (a) of the same Constitution further mandates the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to ensure that those elections and referendums are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law.
At the close of the ZANU PF 18th Annual Conference held in Goromonzi in December 2019, while presenting the state of the party address, Hon. Victor Matemadanda, the ZANU PF Political Commissar and also the Deputy Minister for Defence and War Veterans is quoted to have uttered statements to the effect that his party will use any means necessary to defend the “revolution”, that elections will not remove ZANU PF from power and that if elections fail, other means necessary would be used to retain power.
The statements were widely covered in the print and electronic media in Zimbabwe and three months down the lane, the interpretation by the media of what was uttered has not been contested.
It is the Election Resource Centre (ERC)’s contention that such utterances, emanating from a Deputy Minister of Defence, a position of authority in government has the potential effect of undermining future elections in Zimbabwe.
If left unaddressed, the utterances compromise freeness of the election if an impression is created that political power can be secured and kept through other means other than those prescribed in the Founding Values and Principles of the Constitution Section 3 (2) and Section 88 on Executive Authority.
The utterances by the Deputy Minister, therefore, undermine ZEC’s mandate of ensuring that elections and referendums are conducted in line with Section 239 of the Constitution.
The ERC hereby formally lodges a complaint against Deputy Minister Matemadanda whose utterances undermine public confidence in elections as a functional vehicle through which executive authority derives from the people of Zimbabwe.
ZEC is reminded of its obligations in terms of:
1. Section 239 (j) to give instructions to persons in the employment of the state for the purpose of ensuring the efficient, free, fair, proper and transparent conduct of any election or referendum and
2. Section 239 (k) to receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaint as it considers appropriate.
As such, it is anticipated that ZEC will take appropriate action in the interest of free, fair and transparent elections in Zimbabwe.