By Joyce Mukucha
In light of the 2021 National Budget announced by the Minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube on Thursday, 26 November, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has called on the Minister and Parliament to ensure adequate resources are availed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
In a statement issued on the 7th of December 2020, ERC emphasised that adequate budgeting for ZEC was essential, taking into account the impending by-elections, the delimitation processes, and the 2023 harmonised elections.
The ERC pointed out that comprehensive voter education, registration and election administration are key pillars of democracy and adequate resources must be availed to ensure ZEC is able to fulfill its Constitutional mandate.
“ZEC was established to conduct elections democratically and efficiently as the Commission plays a crucial function as administrators of elections, ensuring universal suffrage and guarantors of electoral integrity and political legitimacy.
“The net effect of insufficiently funding ZEC will result in inadequate preparedness and will reduce the quality of the by-elections , delimitation exercises, and other electoral activities,” reads the statement.
The organisation indicated that in the past, funds have been disbursed late resulting in last minute preparation and execution of electoral processes resulting in elections that do not adhere to international best practice.
Delimitation, it has been learnt, is one of the most important electoral processes heading towards the 2023 elections and has a direct impact on the quality of the elections in terms of universal suffrage and representation.
“Over the years, the Commission’s funding has not been adequate and in tandem with the electoral cycle activities which has led to insufficient continuous voter registration and inadequate voter education.”
The budgetary inadequacies and the Commission’s financial vulnerabilities have been shielded by the constant support offered by international developmental partners and local Civil Society Organisations supporting other activities like mobilization and awareness.
However, the ERC reiterated that adequate reserves must be availed to the Commission to ensure effective administration is carried out.