The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it is playing its part in cleaning up the voter’s roll, long perceived to be in shambles, to ensure the electoral process will be credible.

The local elections mother body also called on all Zimbabweans to shun hate speech and violence saying these taint the freeness and fairness of polls.

Civic organisations, legislators and political parties and ZEC converged at a local hotel in the capital for discussions on petitions for electoral and media laws reform ahead of the harmonised polls organised by the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust.

ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba, in response to the charge of the elections mother body being conflicted and partial, said ZEC is independent and as a creature of the constitution operates in terms of the law and also has a US$42 million deficit to contend with.

Mr Douglas Mwonzora who spoke on behalf of the United Citizens’ Alliance, a grouping of opposition political parties, highlighted the need for electoral reforms and demilitarisation of the elections mother body, while ZEC maintained that it does not have active service members of the security forces in its employ.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Advocate Fortune Chasi commended stakeholders for expressing their concerns and urged them to draft their proposed legislative amendments so that they may be introduced as private members bill and passed into law.

Special interest groups such as people with disabilities also had petitions for the electoral process to be inclusive and cater for their needs through the domestication of the United Nations Convention on the rights of people with disabilities.

There were also calls for the repeal of draconian pieces of legislation such as AIPPA and POSA to ensure free and fair elections.