ZESN notes improved 2018 electoral environment: Report

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MDC-Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa casts his vote during elections held in July.
MDC-Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa casts his vote during elections held in July.

Harare – The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN), a local election monitoring board, has urged government to implement comprehensive electoral reforms to enhance the credibility of Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.

In its final report, ZESN noted improvements in law and practice during the electoral circle for the 2018 harmonised elections. The board also commended improved quality of voter education, peaceful campaigning season and provision of voting material.

In the report ZESN also noted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s improved engagement with stakeholders as compared with the 2013 elections.

ZESN also stated that “the ZEC Presidential Results for the 10,984 polling stations had some errors albeit marginal to the extent of not affecting the outcome. An analysis of the results for the parliamentary elections and the presidential elections does not show significant discrepancies between the two.”

Among its recommendations ZESN urged government to ratify and domesticate international legal frameworks that relate to electoral processes, enforce punitive measures for those who contravene the electoral code of conduct and implement laws that ensure that the right to vote is extended to all citizens, including those in Prisons and in the Diaspora.

Before elections the Constitutional Court, on May 30, barred millions of Zimbabweans based in the diaspora from voting after it dismissed an application for amendment of provisions of the Electoral Act to allow them to vote from their bases.

ZESN was the largest domestic observer group in the just-ended harmonised elections whose separate election results tallied with those announced by the country’s official electoral body disproving rigging claims by MDC-Alliance.

As part of its comprehensive effort to observe the 2018 harmonised elections, ZESN trained and deployed over 7,200 observers to every ward, constituency, district and province of the country. Out of these, 750 were sample-based observers (SBO).

The SBO is an advanced Election Day observation methodology which allows ZESN to independently verify of the presidential results as announced by the ZEC and confidently comment on the voting and results tabulation processes.