Mnangagwa Disbands ZEC, Initiates New Rigging Tactics
24 March 2024
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Political Reporter- The Emmerson Mnagagwa-led Zanu PF government is initiating plans to overhaul the electoral system, notably by transferring voter registration duties from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to the Civil Registry Department.

These proposed changes, intended to streamline electoral processes, are raising concerns about potential manipulation by the ruling ZANU PF party.

Under the proposed amendments, which would necessitate changes to the Constitution, the Registrar-General’s Office would assume all voter registration responsibilities.

First-time national identity card applicants would automatically be registered as voters, while deceased individuals would promptly be removed from the voters’ roll upon the issuance of a death certificate.

Moreover, there are discussions about stripping ZEC of its delimitation responsibilities, suggesting a return to a prior system where an independent commission handled delineating electoral boundaries.

These moves, reportedly inspired by recommendations from Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators, are stirring controversy, particularly as they seem to consolidate power in the hands of the ruling party.

Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi disclosed ongoing consultations with stakeholders, indicating that the proposed amendments would be addressed in the upcoming 10th Parliament session. He emphasized the necessity of constitutional amendments to effectuate these changes, underlining concerns about the current division of responsibilities between ZEC and the Registrar-General’s Office.

Opposition legislators, advocating for the restoration of voter registration duties to the Registrar-General’s Office, cited historical precedence before 2009.

Minister Ziyambi highlighted how the opposition’s push to transfer these responsibilities to ZEC during the Inclusive Government era was seen as an attempt to undermine the then-Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede.

The proposed amendments, if enacted, could significantly reshape Zimbabwe’s electoral landscape. By centralizing voter registration under the Civil Registry Department and potentially removing delimitation tasks from ZEC, critics fear a concentration of power favoring ZANU PF’s interests.

These changes could have far-reaching implications for the integrity and fairness of future elections.
As consultations proceed, stakeholders are closely monitoring the developments, cognizant of the potential impact on electoral transparency and accountability.

With the RG’s Office issuing over a million civil documents in recent years, the government’s move to shift voter registration responsibilities underscores a broader strategy to exert control over electoral processes, raising concerns about democratic principles and the independence of electoral institutions.

-State Media