Parliamentary and civic rights watchdog, Veritas, is seeking a declaratory order from the High Court to ensure that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) runs all its election-related activities transparently in accordance with provisions of the Constitution and international instruments.
Veritas is seeking the court’s ruling on 20 specific activities conducted by ZEC, including all voter education programmes and material, and the publication of the names of those struck off the voters roll and the reasons for this.
It is also asking the court to rule that ZEC publish the names and government departments of all civil servants seconded to the commission in the management and running of the 2018 elections.
In the High Court application due to be heard in Harare tomorrow, Veritas has cited ZEC and the Attorney-general as the respondents in the case. ZEC is opposing the application. Veritas will be represented by lawyers from Mtetwa & Nyambirai legal practitioners.
In its founding affidavit, Veritas states that transparency is a key principle of a free and fair election enshrined in sections 156 (a) and 239 (a) of the constitution and reiterated in section 3(a) of the Electoral Act.
It also states that transparency in the conduct of the election process is also a key element of the Sadc Principles and Guidelines on Democratic Elections, as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance to which Zimbabwe is a recent signatory.
Veritas claims that ZEC has a clear constitutional duty to ensure that the public is kept informed at all times of all matters related to the commission’s work and electoral processes and must disclose its various activities under the Electoral Act in the form of publishing and making public all standard operating procedures and internal policies and manuals that relate to the administration of the elections.
ZEC is challenging the application on the basis that as a constitutionally established independent commission, it is not subject to the direction or control of anyone, and that the undertakings called for in the draft order either create new rights or undermine the independence and authority of the commission.
– The Standard