HARARE, May 23 — Zimbabwe’s independent electoral watchdog, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), on Thursday reiterated its call for the political dialogue launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week to include all electoral stakeholders.
Non-participation in the dialogue by some of the political parties that contested in last year’s elections raises issues around legitimacy of the dialogue, the organization said, adding that the dialogue conveners must ensure that no political player is left out.
Mnangagwa launched the dialogue with 17 political parties that participated in the elections, but the main opposition party, the MDC Alliance, is not participating.
“ZESN reiterates its position that the dialogue must be inclusive of all electoral stakeholders namely civic society organizations, churches, the media, women, persons with disability, and youths among others,” it said in a statement.
The ZESN said it hoped that the dialogue would culminate in an Electoral and Political Reforms Taskforce or a Working Group comprising of Parliament, institutions supporting democracy, political parties, civil society organizations and faith-based organizations and other key stakeholders to closely monitor timeous implementation of recommendations proffered by local, regional, and international election observers to last year’s elections.
It said the national dialogue must deliberate on political, administrative and legal reforms that are needed to enhance the credibility of Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.
Some of the key demands that the ZESN wants considered during the national dialogue include the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission; reviewing of provisions around the delimitation of constituencies; tightening of provisions on the role of traditional leaders and reviewing of results management and transmission systems.
The watchdog also reiterated its call for the government to invest in efforts that promote national healing, peace, and justice in light of residual mistrust among some election stakeholders as a result of contested electoral outcomes.
“The national dialogue should factor in inclusive and comprehensive discussions on electoral and political reforms so that future electoral processes are not disputed and comply with domestic, regional and international standards that govern the conduct of democratic electoral processes,” the ZESN said.
The MDC Alliance contested in the constitutional court results of last year’s presidential election that was won by Mnangagwa but it lost the court challenge. – XINHUA