HARARE – Zimbabwe’s recently-held elections that saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa eclipse Nelson Chamisa with a razor thin victory failed to meet international standards, European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has said.
Presenting its final report on the July 30 vote, the EU EOM said the elections were neither traceable nor verifiable due to the inability of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) posting results outside all polling stations.
It added that “the misuse of State resources, instances of coercion and intimidation, partisan behaviour by traditional leaders and overt bias in State media all in favour of the ruling party negatively impacted on the democratic character of the pre-electoral environment.”
EU EOM deputy chief Observer Mark Steven, said while the campaign was largely peaceful and, overall, political freedoms during the pre-election campaign were upheld, there were various factors that fell short.
The report was presented on behalf of chief observer Elmar Brok, Member of the European Parliament, to Zec, the government, the Parliament, civil society and political parties, among others.
“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 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,” stressed Brok.
The recommendations address four key areas that include the independence of the 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,” 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” said Brok.