News of the South HARARE – The European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) presenting its final report on the 30 July 2018 Harmonised Elections said the electoral process fell short of international standards, raising concerns over the verifiability of results and abuse of state resources among others.
Addressing the media on behalf of Chief Observer Elmar Brok in Harare this afternoon, Deputy Chief Observer, Mark Stevens said the final report contains recommendations addressing four key areas: “the independence of the electoral body Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), improved level playing field, the legal framework and the inclusiveness of the process.”
“The EU EOM suggests, in order to enhance confidence in the process, to strengthen the independence of ZEC; to ensure ZEC provides more effective and timely information during the process to enhance confidence; and for ZEC to develop the results management process to enhance verifiability and traceability,” said Brok in a statement.
Stevens raised red flags over the independence of ZEC saying the interference of the Ministry of Justice defeats the idea of the body being independent.
He added that the idea of results being posted on all polling stations was brilliant but not effectively carried out as ZEC did not utilise this process timely t ensure verifiability.
“To help create a more level playing field and a more conducive environment for the polls, state-owned media must be more impartial in its coverage; legal measures should be introduced to enhance accountability,” Stevens said.
He said that legislation should be put in place to avoid abuse of state resources during campaigns, bringing up the idea of aid programs that may point at the use of public funds to buy votes.
On the improvement of the legal framework the mission said legislation should be brought in line with the 2013 Constitution; and appropriate time limits for the determination of pre-election disputes need to be established.
They said although the registration process was more inclusive, there were areas that had low numbers of registered voters, mainly Harare, Bulawayo and other urban areas.
“To make the electoral process more inclusive, areas of under-registration of voters need to be addressed; and Multi-Party Liaison Committees need to be used more effectively,” said Stevens.
The mission concluded saying EU’s report and recommendations are offered to support a democratic direction where there are democratic dividends delivering a better life for all Zimbabweans.
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