Africa 11.10.2018 11:11 am

EU wants Zim election body’s independence strengthened

A Zimbabwean voter shows his ink-stained finger after casting his ballot at a polling station, 30 July 2018. Picture: ANA

A Zimbabwean voter shows his ink-stained finger after casting his ballot at a polling station, 30 July 2018. Picture: ANA

The European Union Election Observation Mission says ZEC should develop the results management process to enhance verifiability and traceability.

The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission has presented its final report on Zimbabwe’s elections and has made 23 recommendations to improve the quality of polls in that troubled country.

On Wednesday the EU Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Zimbabwe has presented its final report on the disputed 30 July 2018 harmonised elections won by ZANU-PF strongman, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The report which was also presented to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the government,  parliament, civil society, and political parties addresses shortfalls in the election process.

“The aim of the visit is to present the report to national stakeholders and to highlight its recommendations, which the EU EOM believe can make a positive contribution towards improving the quality of elections in Zimbabwe in the future,” said the observer mission.

During the visit, the EU EOM said it will discuss with stakeholders how the reform process can be taken forward and how the EU can support this as appropriate.

“The final report contains the conclusions of the EUEOM findings of the entire electoral process and also includes 23 recommendations for consideration by the authorities on how to further improve future elections,” said Elmar Brok, the chief observer.

“These recommendations are offered to help address a number of the shortfalls outlined in this report, including problems with the legal framework, the role of the electoral commission, and various abuses of human rights and political rights of the opposition.

“But such changes need to be accompanied by the requisite political will of all stakeholders. Both this report and its recommendations also serve as important benchmarks for assessing the commitment of the government of Zimbabwe to furthering democratic transition in the country.”

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The recommendations address four key areas: the independence of the ZEC, improved level playing field, the legal framework, and the inclusiveness of the process.

“The EUEOM 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,” explained the chief observer.

“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 mitigate abuse of incumbency and of state resources; and, campaign finance regulations should be introduced to enhance accountability.

“To improve the legal framework for the elections, legislation should be brought into line with the 2013 Constitution; and appropriate time limits for the determination of pre-election disputes need to be established.

“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.”

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