Zimbabweans Unconvinced POLAD Proposed Electoral Reforms Will Be Implemented

Zimbabweans have commented on the just released Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) Declaration for Electoral Reforms which carries issues, the platform wants implemented ahead of the watershed 2023 general elections.

POLAD successfully lobbied to have among other issues a single column ballot paper for the Presidential elections, increased nomination period from one to five days, giving all contesting candidates public media coverage of at least two hours on electronic media and five articles in print media among others.

The POLAD declaration also stipulates that election results should be announced within 72 hours instead of the current 120 hours. While these could give the 2023 elections a new look, a cross section of Zimbabweans are not convinced that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), state media and the Justice ministry will give in as that is likely to cost the ruling party considering the high stakes in the next elections.

Effort Mhlanga from Chipinge said though POLAD had succeeded to come up with its own paper on electoral reforms, the state machinery that runs elections will not accept to make the whole process open and transparent

“In 2018, ZEC tried to be transparent by uploading results online and we know how that ended, am I convinced that the government will implement all the POLAD proposals, I don’t think so,” said Manono.

A Chiredzi resident, Cannius Mazinyani said he will not read much into the POLAD breakthrough as there is little hope that the proposals will be adopted by the various state agents.

“Even if ZBC gives other contesting parties two hours of coverage, Zanu PF will get 10 or 20 times more and it then defies the whole purpose. You will find that opposition will be slotted at odd moments of the bulletin while prime time is given to Zanu PF” said Mazinyani.

A Harare resident Tawanda Muchaneyi said government will implement the proposed reforms which he said are not likely to improve Zimbabwe’s electoral process.

“To me their proposals are not very critical, these are things that ZEC can do without stopping rigging, they will still rig in favor of Zanu PF regardless of these reforms, so it’s nothing to celebrate,” said Muchaneyi.

One of the POLAD principals said Zimbabweans need to see and appreciate that they have tried.

“We want people to see what we have tried,” said NCA leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku.