Columbus Mabika and Anesu Tonde
A delegation from the United Nations (UN) Electoral Needs Assessment Mission is in the country to evaluate the capacity and needs of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utloile Silaigwana said the visit aimed at determining whether the UN should provide electoral assistance to Zimbabwe or not.
“I can confirm that the UN Electoral Needs Assessment Mission delegation is in the country and we met with them on Monday (last week). We discussed the possible needs and areas of support to the electoral processes in line with the existing ZEC-United Nations Development Programme Memorandum of Understanding,” he said.
“Basically this is an assessment mission with a view to recommend whether the UN should provide electoral assistance that may be required such as capacity building, support to stakeholder engagements and other support to the various ZEC needs to improve the conduct of elections,”
Mr Silaigwana said African Union chief electoral officer Mr Akinyemi Adegbola was part of the delegation.
The visit by the UN delegation comes at a time Government has committed to undertaking electoral reforms.
Government is currently in the process of amending the Electoral Act in line with recommendations made by observer missions during the 2018 harmonised elections.
Electoral reforms are part of Government efforts to transform the political and economic environments.
The reforms are also in line with the New Dispensation’s pledge to incorporate views of other players into different laws that affect society and open up the democratic space.
As part of a broad electoral reform package, Government is considering the provision for the electronic transmission of Presidential election results which allows for the swift release of final result tallies opposed to the current legislative regime where ZEC has up to five days to announce results.
The electoral body is in the process of obtaining objective reviews from seconded staff, political players, civil society organisations and election observers who participated in last year’s harmonised elections on how the election was managed and to capture the aspirations of all Zimbabweans on how they want the election managed.
ZEC has also unveiled a strategic plan that intends to realign its operations with the electoral cycle compliant emphasising on rebranding, alignment of electoral laws and regulations to the Constitution.
Mr Silaigwana said ZEC was focusing on stakeholder engagement, improvement of procurement processes through the establishment of an independent procurement management unit and moving towards programme-based budgeting.
The team remains in the country meeting other arms of Government and will re-engage.