Wednesday, 10 April 2019

LEARN FROM SA : ZEC BOSS TELLS POLITICIANS


THE country’s politicians and political parties can draw lessons from their counterparts in South Africa who adhere to their Electoral Code of Conduct and tolerate one another even during the election season, an official has said. 

In an interview following a recent visit by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and political parties represented in Parliament to South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Zec acting chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana said the visit was an eye opener for political parties and the electoral commission.

This visit came as South Africa will be holding its national polls next month on May 8. Mr Silaigwana who was part of the team that visited IEC said they observed that South Africa’s politics is more mature and tolerant unlike what happens locally during the election season.

“We also looked at their Code of Conduct and what we learnt is that political parties in South Africa do respect and adhere to their Code of Conduct. They respect the electoral rules. There is a level of tolerance depicted by the political parties. Their Code of Conduct provides for sanctions if a political party violates it, the IEC has power to effect sanctions,” said Mr Silaigwana.

 “For example it can ban a political party from campaigning or deduct votes depending on the type of violations. It is a very strong Code of Conduct. I will also give an example how a bit mature the political parties are in dealing with electoral conflicts.

“They had a situation where a member of one party pulled down posters of another political party. The leadership of the party which had its member pulling down posters of other political party had to go public condemning their own member.”

He said political parties also give room to the IEC to execute its duties without interference.

Last year, following the country’s harmonised elections some members of the MDC Alliance started demanding that Zec should announce results yet the electoral body had not exceeded the timeline to do so.

 “In South Africa they have seven days to announce the election results but because they have high technology they announce much earlier. But before the results are announced no one complains or no one announces their own results but everyone waits until the process is completed,” he said.

MDC Alliance Harare East MP Mr Tendai Biti was earlier this year fined for announcing fake election results.

Mr Silaigwana said the visit to IEC could help the country resolve conflicts.

“The visit to IEC was really to learn about electoral management systems focusing on the multi-party liaison system and other conflict resolution mechanisms. It was an initiative taken by Zec in response to domestic, regional and international observer reports,” said Mr Silaigwana. Chronicle

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