Acting Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) secretary, Doreen Serumula has told the Parliament Committee on Governance and Oversight recently that the findings of a recent study showed revealing insights.
She noted that the national stakeholder evaluation report has uncovered that the delayed repeal of the Electoral Amendment (2016) hurt preparations for the 2019 General Election.
Serumula added the high number of election petitions offered a learning opportunity in preparation for future polls. “Some of the findings include the lack of civic and voter education mandate, which impede robust engagement with electoral stakeholders; lack of IEC Act compromises the independence of the IEC; the manual voter registration process as labour intensive; and the human error-prone, abuse of social media to the detriment of the integrity of the electoral process, appreciation of the conduct of the evaluation workshop as a platform for consultation on electoral processes, and low participation of marginalised groups due to lack of resources and absence of special dispensation,” she said. Serumula noted that some recommendations that were made by the stakeholder evaluation were either submitted, taken to Cabinet, or the Executive.
The recommendations according to the acting IEC secretary are that the executive should consider the recommendations to pass laws and amend the electoral legal framework. She added
On other issues, Serumula pointed out that like any other institution, COVID-19 has affected them negatively. She revealed that some of the challenges they face include failure to conduct by-elections and hold stakeholder engagement. Other impediments are moving on with budget utilisation, fill vacancies that have not yet been filled such as the commissioner post since 2019, the secretary post since 2020 and proceed on the delayed action on recommendations submitted to the Executive and stalled IEC Bill for enhancement of the independence of the IEC.