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ZEC Chairperson’s Speech to Justice Portfolio Committee

OPENING REMARKS BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION TO THE BREAKFAST MEETING HELD WITH THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS

The Honourable Chairperson of the Portifolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Honourable members of the Committee and your Secretariat; Fellow Commissioners; ZEC Secretariat led by the CEO Mr Utloile Silaigwana; Ladies and Gentlemen; All protocol observed

A good morning to you all. It is a pleasure to meet again to share critical information on issues that relate to the Commission’s mandate. I am sure you have heard or read a lot in the media especially the social media on issues concerning the forthcoming
by-elections, the voter registration blitz as well as the voters roll.
However, the manner in which some of the information is
presented is often misleading to our people. The Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission is aware that it is accountable to
Parliament on matters concerning its mandate and is therefore
comfortable to request for such sessions where it can brief the
August House through your Committee.
Responding to issues via social media would be disrespecting the
very structures such as yours that were established for that cause
in the first place. So much has been said in the media and for the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to remain silent on those issues
would send a wrong signal to all and sundry. Further, the
Commission is in the midst of preparing for the National Assembly
and Local Authority by-elections to be conducted on the 26th of
March 2022. The Commission saw it fit that you be briefed on
then so that you are informed on the preparations being
undertaken.
The Commission is also undertaking a national voter registration
blitz and we are sure that your Committee would be glad to hear
on how the process is unfolding. The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission has its work cut out and it has annual workplan
derived from its 5 year strategic plan which it has to fulfil. The
point person in that annual workplan is the Chief Elections Officer
who is in charge of operational issues while the Commission is
responsible for policy setting.
As you may have read or seen from the media, most of the issues
that are being raised by stakeholders are operational issue and
therefore Chief Elections Officer, Mr Utloile Silaigwana will brief
the Committee on the issues we need you to know and responses
we have to some of the issues that have been raised in the social
media circles.
However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is concerned over
cases of politically motivated violence recently reported in the
media and is especially saddened by the resultant loss of life
during a rally held in Kwekwe and extends its deepest
condolences to the bereaved family.
The Commission condemns and abhors in the strongest terms
such acts of violence which have the effect of marring and
negatively impacting the electoral environment in the build up
to the by-elections set for the 26th of March 2022. It is
disheartening to note that such acts of violence are taking place
notwithstanding the Commission’s plea at a recently held Multiparty Liaison Meeting where political parties were advised to
adhere to the Political Parties Code of Conduct set out in the
Fourth Schedule of the Electoral Act and to which their
candidates made an undertaking to comply with when they
submitted their nomination papers.
The Commission would like to reiterate its calls for tolerance by all
political parties and election stakeholders and urges all political
parties and candidates to adhere to the code of conduct.
It is everybody’s responsibility to promote an environment
conducive to the holding of free and fair elections and a climate
of tolerance in which electioneering activities may take place
without fear or coercion, intimidation or reprisals. Let us all foster
and engender a spirit of goodwill where democratic discourse
can take place amid a culture of tolerance. We all have an
obligation to work towards the consolidation of peace in
Zimbabwe.
I now handover the proceedings to Mr Silaigwana our Chief
Elections Officer to brief the Honourable members of the
Committee on the issues relating to our mandate.
Thank you!