The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is proposing several electoral reforms that will be incorporated into the amended Electoral Act.
This comes as the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has presented a draft document on a raft of electoral reforms to ZEC.
ZEC Commissioner, Joyce Kazembe, told The Sunday Mail that they have started to implement some of the recommendations suggested by foreign and local observers after the 2018 elections. Said Kazembe:
We always get these recommendations after elections. We had a meeting in Nyanga for those who had observed, foreign and local observers as well as Civil Society observers, and we took into account the recommendations that they made.
We have begun implementing the recommendations through the electoral reforms.
Currently, we are just looking at the submissions from the Parliamentary Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, since we have been engaging them.
They just sent a document with proposed reforms, some of them which we proposed even in 2013.
We have made an input, agreed with them on certain things, and on other things, we did not agree.
Quite a number of issues in the Electoral Act need changing, for example, media monitoring. What we are using currently are the 2008 media regulations, which are highly outdated.
We tried last time, it did not work. However, we are hoping this will be amended this time around.
Kazembe said ZEC was working on accommodating visually impaired people and those with other physical challenges. She said:
There is also an extension of a postal ballot to anyone who will not be able to vote on voting day, in particular, officials on duty; we get a lot of staff from State institutions.
We are also contemplating extending this to people with disabilities since we have been limiting ourselves to people with no physical challenges. So, we are trying to be as broad as possible.
… So we will give them a postal vote and we will have a register which says, this person is in hospital, indicating the polling station.
These postal votes will be arranged according to the constituency, polling area and ward.
All these details will be in an envelope including the number of ballots that we have, that is the President, constituency and wards.
These will be sent to the person wherever they will be. There will be indications of how the ballots will be brought here and counted, long before everyone else has voted.
So that by the time everyone votes, these envelopes should be at the wards the person has indicated, so that the vote is not lost.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold harmonised elections in 2023 when citizens elect the President, Members of Parliament and Councillors to serve five-year terms.