ERC urges ZEC to address Stakeholders concerns

ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba


Elections advocacy group, the Election Resource Centre has called on the electoral mother body Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to address concerns raised by stakeholders over the draft delimitation report presented in Parliament last Friday.

Political parties and analysts have raised concerns over the report citing that it had an influence on boundaries of constituencies which are tilted in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

In a statement, ERC said the failure to adequately address the issues raised may result in the contestation of the report thereby affecting the 2023 general elections.

“While the report has generally resulted in a more equitable distribution of voters across the 210 constituencies in Zimbabwe, the ERC notes concerns raised by stakeholders on the report. Main concerns being the calculation of the allowable ‘variance’ for the number of registered voters per constituency and ward. The alleged erroneous methodology used to calculate the variance potentially discredits the delimitation process.

“The ERC urges the Commission to address the concerns raised by stakeholders. The failure to adequately address the issues raised may result in the final delimitation report being contested and thus affecting its use for the 2023 Harmonised Elections. A return to the pre-existing 2007/2008 boundaries goes against the principles of the equality of the vote as the boundaries of the current constituencies and wards are grossly unequal. Inclusivity and transparency in addressing the concerns raised will ensure buy-in of all relevant stakeholders.

“Given the short time remaining for the delimitation report to be adopted for the 2023 Harmonised Election. ERC calls on all significant stakeholders, in particular the Electoral Commission, Parliament, and Political Parties, to step up, address the issues brought up, and carry out their mandates,” ERC said

The advocacy group said electoral body is expected to ensure maximum transparency of the procedures and their outcome and this is vital to guarantee the credibility of the electoral process, secure the confidence of the voters and respect the aspirations of the Constitution.

ARTUZ 2023 Term 1 Situational Report

The 2023 schools first term is now in session and it has begun on a very tricky note. The term opens amid the expectation of government delivering on its promise of free education. Despite the high hopes , reality on the ground says otherwise.

Reports across our provincial boundaries indicate that student attendance was 71% for boarding students in private schools and 60% boarding students in government schools. In rural areas especially in Masvingo there was low teacher and learner attendance because of the anticipated harsh weather conditions. In terms of preparedness,schools are at zero because most schools rely on Beam funds which were only disbursed for first term of 2022. Teacher preparedness is low due to incapacitation against a hyperinflatory environment.

Teacher attendance also varied between urban schools and rural schools. In settings like Chitungwiza, attendance for both teachers and learners was high despite that learners were turned back home because of fees arrears which later reduced pupils attendance. This also had an effect on the learning activity as most teachers did not deliver lessons in the absence of the majority of students.

The economic hardships and anticipated harsh weather conditions have been major factors affecting access to education in the first week of 2023 term 1 . The situation exposed the lie in government’s promises of free education.

Most learners from vulnerable backgrounds depend on BEAM funds . Government also claimed to have rolled out free education through provision of tuition grants. But we can’t call that free education because where there is free education learning for all without bracketed funding.

Thence , at the beginning of term 1 in 2023 the government has been exposed for its failure to deliver free education and poor remuneration has further made it hard for teachers in marginalized communities to attend work or has also been a form of demotivation.

To add more , the nation wide transport crisis resulting from failure of the ZUPCO monopoly has also contributed. The collapse of the ZUPCO franchise led to creation of unregulated shadowy cartels like ZIPTA , ZUDAC and GHACO which clandestinely influence and implement transport fare hikes on account of either demand or weather conditions. For example travelling from Chitungwiza during rainy days ranges from a dollar and fifty cents to two dollars for a trip that cost a dollar on average and normal circumstances.

The general observation is poor policy planning and myopic decision making in managing the economy has further marginalized the workers and disadvantaged the consumers of service like learners.

Therefore we recommend that government curbs corruption , improves increase budgeting for social services to reduce inequalities and improve access among citizens. Lastly we still demand that government restores our 2018 Pre-October Salaries of USD 540 such that teachers match the standard cost of living and attend work inorder to ensure that learners are not prejudiced .

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