- Last Updated on 16 April 2013
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ZimRights commends Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)'s move to finally speak on the daily debated status of the voters roll. The Sundaymail newspaper dated 14 April 2013, reported that the commission's chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has revealed that over 60 000 new voters have registered in time for this year's polls while about 345 400 names of deceased people have been struck off the national voters' roll in the last five months. The total number of registered voters was also reported to be almost 5, 7 million.
What we cherish is not only the need for accountability shown by efforts to update the people of Zimbabwe but also to include execution of constitutional duties together with the Registrar General's Office.
The report and above given figures if true, should be applauded despite remaining inadequacies since they add up to steps towards free and fair elections. We also acknowledge ZEC's pledge to ensure that the Registrar-General of Voters will embark on a mobile voter registration exercise so that registration is brought to the people rather than requesting them to travel to registration centres.
While ZimRights commends such developments, the process still falls short of conditions that guarantee a credible election in Zimbabwe. There are other factors that are equally important.
These include necessary reforms provisioned in the Global Political Agreement that were expected to address a host of pressing institutional and human rights issues. These have either not been introduced or are not being implemented. Certain individuals and political parties within the inclusive government continue to command an unchecked monopoly on the military and security forces.
As highlighted by the Robert F Kennedy Centre, amendments to repressive laws €” including the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa); the Public Order and Security Act (POSA); the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act; and the Private Voluntary Organisation Act (PVO), which places onerous registration requirements on NGOs €” have stalled, with little chance of reform before elections.
We also appeal to the authorities to heed the recent African Commission on Human and People's Rights call on all states parties to "respect their obligations under the African Charter, in addition to other regional and international human rights conventions, and take all necessary measures to preserve and protect the credibility of the electoral process. €