Secretary for elections Jacob Mafume yesterday told NewsDay that apart from crafting its own private members Bill on elections, it will push for the adoption of recommendations contained in the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (Zesn) compendium of election observers’ recommendations and also a draft Bill already presented to the House of Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda.
“Time is running out and nothing much has been done in terms of aligning our electoral laws to elections best practice as envisaged by our Constitution and also by Sadc principles and guidelines. We have had by-elections since 2018 and you will realise that the MDC has raised serious issues that have not been addressed which include vote-buying and tinkering with the voters’ roll, among other things,” Mafume said.
Among the topical issues in the 2018 general elections was the transmission of presidential results, which resulted in violent demonstrations rocking Harare post elections and leaving six dead after soldiers opened fire on fleeing unarmed protesters in central Harare.
In statements captured by Zesn, observers recommended a change of regulations, procedures and training in the handling and transmitting of electoral results.
“Zec should adopt and publicise transparent procedures for the transmission, tabulation and announcement of results, for example, in the form of a regulation elaborating detailed procedures, in the election manual to afford the contesting political parties and accredited election observers the right to observe all stages of the results tabulation process. Require Zec to verify the provisional results in real time and release results in timely fashion,” the Zesn statement reads.
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Zec was also asked to ensure a more accurate computerised transmission of results system which promotes accuracy, especially after the electoral management body revised its figures twice after announcing the final tally.
“The mode of transmission of results from the polling station to the national results centre should also be reviewed to speed up release of election results to maintain credibility. The commission should consider establishing a post-election electronic transmission system to promote accuracy in the results announced and transparency,” observers noted.
Two years after the elections, there has been no debate in Parliament to ensure that laws are aligned and recommendations infused into the electoral system, Mafume said.