Cambodia and Zimbabwe: when elections are compromised

Posted 7 August 2013 Transparency International

Recent elections in Cambodia and Zimbabwe highlight an important aspect of representational democracy: the influence of leaders who have been in power for many years who can use their resources to favour their own candidates and parties. In both countries opposition parties and national and international observers reported that electoral lists had been rigged and manipulated.

Zimbabweans went to the polls on 31 July to vote for a new president and parliament amid claims that the election could not be free and fair because the voting lists contained people who were dead, extremely old or duplicate names. On 28 July Cambodians went to the polls to find many people were not on the list although they voted in the previous elections, including the local election held last year; others found multiple names on the voter lists while many were given temporary voter cards by the local authorities and others appeared to have voted twice.

Neither election was blighted by violence or widespread intimidation at polling stations. Although that is to be welcomed, it should not be used as a reason for the people to herald these elections as fair.

In Zimbabwe the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, led by presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, condemned the elections. The African Union representatives monitoring the poll said it wanted more time to review the process but also that the incidents reported did not put “the elections in jeopardy.”

In Cambodia the opposition also rejected the election. Transparency International Cambodia, which monitored the election and documented systematic and widespread irregularities, called for an independent investigation. This has not been agreed to yet and is being discussed by the disputed parties and the National Election Committee (NEC).

Resolving different opinions

Transparency International condemns the incidences of fraud and vote-rigging and calls on the election committees to review the evidence in both countries. So far this is not being discussed in Zimbabwe. In hotly contested elections that have far reaching effects on the people of a country, it is imperative that the results represent the will of the people.

The fact that the election in Zimbabwe took place before the voting lists could be fully verified will make this a difficult task. In the coming days, the government, the international observers and the members of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network must work together to deliver a result that has the public’s confidence. If this means re-running certain polls because the voter lists are flawed then this must be done.

In Cambodia if an independent investigation is undertaken, it can stop the protests that opposition parties have called for at the end of the month.

In Cambodia and Zimbabwe the ruling parties have been in power for decades: 28 years in Cambodia and 33 in Zimbabwe. They not only control the election process but the key institutions, such as the courts. This makes it even harder for opposition candidates to mount challenges to those that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

via News – Features – Cambodia and Zimbabwe: when elections are compromised.


  • comment-avatar
    makotsi 11 years ago

    What ever comparisons you may come up with, reality is that a small Southern African country called Zimbabwe humbled White Europe by whallopping their proxy in a manner that was never anticipated. Remember Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again.

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    joseph reads 11 years ago

    Makotsi I support you my comments are being removed after posting. Zimbabwe did the unexpected so the west cant swallow the pride that their tactics were outmanouverd by a blacks. Icho.

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    Charles Chamunorwa 11 years ago

    The reality is Zimbabweans did not vote in this election. ZANU pf made sure that it voted itself excluding zimbabweans. The results of that election does not represent the will of Zimbabweans.Something must be done to correct this anormally. We have suffered enough.

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    terie 11 years ago

    the survival of Zimbabwe provides hope to the resource rich african but living in adject poverty. odinga fell and they wont let tsvangirai fall it would be the end of their african adventure

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    Edmund Campbell 11 years ago

    Just Reading these comments. Lets forget about who did what. The people of Zimbabwe be they black or White etc (if you were born there you are Zimbabwean be you black White or other wise) deserve a better government. If you havent noticed many of the “opressive laws” of the the Rhodesian Government were never scrapped. They were used and even added to by the existing government to use against their own people. Zimbabwe will always be a colony so long as it owes money to countries like China and the west. They have vast resources like gold and diamonds and all that money is going into a few pockets and not into restoring the country. A country that was once a thriving ecconomy is now a ruin due to bad and corrupt government. So come on people wake up and realise that what has happened is quite sad.

    Just continuing re nationality. It amazes me how many Black people from Zimbabwe live in White countries yet they are against the whites living in their country ( zim etc) of origin having the same rights as them and yet they demand the same rights as a born citizen of the White countries yet they were not born there. How bigoted?

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    mutakura 11 years ago

    Zim a country that has literaly gone to the dogs