Political and Electoral Rights under Constitution and Electoral Act
All Zimbabwean citizens are entitled to various political rights. These are provided for in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution in paragraph 23A. These provisions were included in the Constitution in 2009.
Subject to the Constitution, every Zimbabwean citizen has the right to—
- free and fair elections to elect the President, members of the House of Assembly, Senators and members of local government bodies;
- free and fair referendums whenever they are called in terms of this Constitution or an Act of Parliament.
Subject to the Constitution, every adult Zimbabwean citizen has the right—
- to vote in secret in these elections and referendums; and
- to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.
The Constitution provides that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must ensure that elections and referendums are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law. (Paragraph 100C)
The Electoral Act in section 3 also sets out principles that should be observed during elections.
It provides that subject to the Constitution and the Electoral Act, every election must be conducted in a way that is consistent with certain principles. The general principle is that the authority to govern derives from the will of the people demonstrated through elections that are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and properly on the basis of universal and equal suffrage exercised through a secret ballot.
It then goes on to deal with principles relating to citizens and political parties.
Citizens have the right—
- to participate in government directly or through freely chosen representatives, and is entitled, without distinction on the ground of race, ethnicity, gender, language, political or religious belief, education, physical appearance or disability or economic or social condition, to stand for office and cast a vote freely;
- to join or participate in the activities of and to recruit members of a political party of his or her choice;
- to participate in peaceful political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of Government;
- to participate, through civic organisations, in peaceful activities to influence and challenge the policies of Government;
Political parties have the right—
- to operate freely within the law;
- to put up or sponsor one or more candidates in every election;
- to campaign freely within the law;
- to have reasonable access to the media.