law reform in the region discussed at Vic Falls
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August 03, 2004
HARARE - Southern
African civil society groups, political parties and parliamentarians are
meeting at the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls to discuss electoral
law reform in the region.
The two-day conference,
which began yesterday, is being hosted by the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (ZESN) and the Johannesburg-based Electoral Institute of Southern
A Southern African
Development Community (SADC) heads of state summit scheduled for Mauritius
later this month is to review laws governing elections in SADC states.
The conference in Victoria Falls will draw up recommendations to be presented
to the SADC summit.
An EISA project officer,
Dieudonne Tshiyoyo, said: "The conference will (discuss) electoral management
bodies and how these can be structured and appointed such that the elections
conducted reflect the will of the voters." ZESN is expected to table recommendations
for reforms required to ensure democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
President Robert Mugabe
has pledged to reform Zimbabwe's electoral laws and to appoint a new Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) to run elections in the country including a
crucial general poll set for March 2005.
Civil society groups
and the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) say
the proposed ZEC will lack independence because the President will still
have the power to hire and fire its chairman.
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