Politics

ZESN pushes for electoral reforms, MDC-A dead quiet

ZIMBABWE’S electoral framework outlining the transmission of presidential election results from polling stations to the collation centre must be reviewed to prevent vote fraud, an independent election watchdog said.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said disputes over election results can be solved through enabling legislation allowing for the setting-up of transparent results aggregation, tabulation, transmission and publication processes.

“The legal framework must be reviewed to ensure a more transparent results transmission system where presidential results from each polling station are transmitted directly to the national results collation centre,” Zesn said in its tracking project report on the 2018 harmonised election observer mission recommendations.

Zesn has been tracking progress on the implementation of the 223 election observer mission recommendations that call for the review of legislative and electoral frameworks against the country’s constitution, regional and international principles governing the holding of democratic elections.

In the report, Zesn raised a red flag on the failure to ensure the independence of Zec as guaranteed under Section 235 of the constitution.

“Any changes to the results should be made in the presence of observers and political party agents,” it added.

“Zec should consider the total valid votes cast rather than the total votes cast in the counting of election votes and avoid errors that may necessitate the revision of announced results.

“Further, Zec must invest in a real-time results transmission system.

“Zec must pursue an open data policy that includes the prompt display of election result forms at polling stations for each polling station disaggregated by demographic variables and post those forms on its website.”

The disputed 2018 presidential election results are not the first to be dismissed by the opposition as rigged in favour of the late president Robert Mugabe and now Mnangagwa.

All electoral processes remain suspended in the country as a Covid-19 preventive measure, but in the process inviting angry outbursts from critics who have described the measure as an assault on democracy.

The opposition MDC Alliance disputes President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s July 2018 election victory, citing alleged vote cheating.

Mnangagwa won 50.8% of the vote against Nelson Chamisa’s 44.3%, according to results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

Constitutional Court judges ruled against the MDC Alliance challenging the election results with Chief Justice Luke Malaba saying the opposition failed to prove that Zec had engaged in fraud.

However, observers have blamed the MDC Alliance leadership of sleeping on the wheel and not pushing for electoral reforms in time for the elections. The party led by Nelson Chamisa has been hit by defections and internal squabbles at a time they should be actively pushing for an incident-free 2023 election. 🔺

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