Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Faces Staffing Crisis: 126 Vacancies Unfilled

Zec Struggles Amidst Key Vacancies, Raises Concerns Over Operational Impact

by Adenike Adeodun

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) finds itself grappling with significant staffing issues as revealed in its 2023 annual report. Despite fulfilling many of its statutory obligations, concerns arise over the impact of 126 unfilled vacancies on the commission’s ability to effectively carry out its duties.

Outlined in the report are detailed accounts of Zec’s activities throughout the year, covering essential aspects such as voter registration, budget allocation, and staffing updates. Notably, the report unveils the termination of six employees, raising questions about the commission’s internal dynamics and HR policies.

Moreover, the report sheds light on the presence of 58 police officers seconded to Zec, highlighting the critical role of security in electoral processes. With an establishment of 680 posts, Zec struggles to fill 126 vacancies, a significant gap that could potentially hinder its operational efficiency.

Despite efforts to recruit new talent, the commission faces challenges in attracting suitable candidates, with nine job offers rejected due to unattractive salary packages. Additionally, Zec reveals the recruitment of approximately 150,000 seconded staff from eligible institutions, underscoring the magnitude of support required to manage electoral activities effectively.

While Zec managed to access 74% of its allocated budget for electoral processes, falling short of the full amount poses financial constraints that could impact operational capabilities. However, despite these challenges, the commission reports a substantial increase in voter registration, recording over 700,000 registrants in 2023.

Former Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba, acknowledges the demanding nature of the year, marked by fulfilling statutory functions amidst constitutional mandates. Despite the various challenges faced, Zec strived to meet corporate governance expectations, convening six times throughout the year.

Chief Electoral Officer Utloile Silaigwana reflects on the tumultuous year, describing it as the most hectic in Zec’s history. The commission navigated through the daunting task of conducting both electoral boundary delimitation and harmonized elections, as mandated by the Constitution over a span of two years.

While the prior year focused on delimiting electoral boundaries following a population census, 2023 saw Zec called upon again to conduct harmonized elections. Despite these immense challenges, Silaigwana asserts that Zec remained steadfast in fulfilling its constitutional mandate, ensuring the integrity and fairness of the electoral process.

Zec’s 2023 annual report underscores the commission’s resilience in the face of staffing shortages and operational challenges. As the custodian of electoral processes in Zimbabwe, Zec remains committed to upholding its constitutional mandate, despite the formidable tasks that lie ahead.


Source: Newsday

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