HARARAE, April 2–The Zimbabwe government says that amendments being proposed to the Electoral Act will not compromise the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The Electoral Amendment Bill, gazetted on Jan 3, 2014, seeks to correct anomalies and discrepancies in the Electoral Act as well as make it conform with provisions of the new Constitution, says Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi.

Chasi told the Senate here Tuesday when debating the Electoral Amendment Bill, which was later adopted at Committee Stage, that the ZEC would operate as an independent body since the Constitituion was adopted last year guaranteed its autonomy.

Masvingo Senator Misheck Marava had asked whether the amendments would not tamper with the autonomy of ZEC.

“It is important we lay a strong foundation which lasts because if ZEC’s powers are going to be tempered with all the time. The entrenchment of the executive powers into ZEC can neutralize the powers of ZEC, the new Constitution has categorically said that these must be independent commissions,” he said.
“Let us give ZEC the independence that they deserve.”

Chasi assuered: “We are very sincere about what we want to do. We welcome all the contributions that have been made by the public. It is very clear in the Constitution that the ZEC is an independent body.

“The government has no intention whatsoever to interfere with its work. It must carry out its mandate according to the law. Nobody will tell the commission what to do or what not to do so long as there is compliance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“This Electoral Bill is an example of the work that we are doing in the background to ensure our laws are in conformity with what the Constitution says. More and more similar work will be brought to this August house.

“Let us set up the framework for it will be a key component to the democratic ethos that we want as a country so the independence of ZEC will not be compromised.”