In 2004 the electoral management system was re-structured. This restructuring was based on recommendations by the Electoral Supervisory Commission, by the political parties and by civil society organisations. The reforms also took account of the Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections adopted by the SADC Heads of State and Governments in Mauritius in 2004. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was then established as an independent body in line with the recommendation in the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections that elections should be run by an independent management body and not by a government department like the Registrar-General which previously held that responsibility.
The Present ZEC
The current ZEC was constituted in terms of Constitutional Amendment 19 (Act 1 of 2009) which was a result of the Global Political Agreement. There are now nine Commissioners, who hold office for a term of 6 years. There is a Chairperson and a Deputy-Chairperson both of whom are appointed on a full time basis. Four of the eight Commissioners other than the Chairperson must be women.
The Chairperson is appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. The Chairperson must be a judge or former judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court, or a person qualified for appointment as such. The other eight members are appointed by the President from a list of not fewer than 12 nominees submitted by the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
In respect of the 8 Commissioners appointed under this new system, the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders first invited applications for these posts. It then shortlisted applicants. The shortlisted applicants were subjected to a vigorous public interview process by a panel of Parliamentarians. The Constitution provisions required that Commissioners be chosen “for their integrity and their experience and competence in the conduct of affairs in the public or private sector.”
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