A three-day National Multi-Stakeholder Post-Election Review Conference organised by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is underway in Nyanga.

This comes as the commission seeks to formally bring the 2018 election cycle to its logical conclusion in preparation for the next elections in 2023.

Delivering her opening remarks at the conference, ZEC Chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the aim of the conference is to reflect on 2018 harmonised elections and use the input to prepare for the 2023 elections.

The 2018 harmonised elections were held after some reforms to the Electoral Act which include section 5, 22a, 32,59, 52a and the code of conduct for political parties and candidates.

These amendments are partly credited for a peaceful pre-election environment that was commended by both local and international observers.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, who represented Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said despite these achievements, there is need to really dig deep and analyse all the processes in order to come up with best ways of further improving the electoral processes ahead of the next polls.

“The review exercise is meant to take stock of the processes and procedures employed during the last elections with a view of strengthening and improving the conduct of future elections. I am aware that the list of invitees includes some other government departments, statutory commissions, political parties and foreign observer groups. This creates a platform to assist ZEC to effectively review its electoral processes,” Mrs Mabhiza said.

Justice Chigumba also emphasised on the need for stakeholders to come up with recommendations that will help shape the future of the electoral processes.

“I would like to emphasise that the credibility and acceptance of the electoral process it is not the responsibility of ZEC alone but of all stakeholders. So the lessons that will emerge from this process will assist not only ZEC as the elections administrator but all election stakeholders in contributing towards the attainment of credible and acceptable electoral processes,” she said.

“We are not above criticism. We are not infallible and any criticism and suggestions that are meant to add value to our processes will be graciously embraced. It is our hope that the government will continue to fulfill its constitutional obligations in as far as the funding of electoral processes is concerned, taking into consideration the elections are not an event but a process,” ZEC Deputy Chairperson, Commissioner Emmanuel Magade said.

The conference will also see ZEC launching a gender equality baseline survey (GEBS), which will inform initiatives aimed ensuring gender equality and inclusive participation of women, men, the youth and people with disabilities in all electoral processes.