The Herald

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The joint International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) observer mission in the July 30 harmonised elections co-chaired by former Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has hailed the expeditious publication of results, saying it showed openness in the conduct of the electoral process.

In a statement, the mission also commended Government’s decision to conduct a live television broadcast of presidential election challenge by losing candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa in the Constitutional Court, saying it showed the desire to have transparency.

“ZEC released presidential election results in the aggregate on August 3 and within 24 hours provided polling station level results on CD-ROMs to stakeholders, which was an important act of transparency that allowed independent analysis of the results,” read the statement.

“Statistical analysis by citizen observers, who also noted pre-election and election day problems, found that the ZEC announced presidential results to be within a credible statistical range, though the margin of error indicated that a presidential run-off election was also within that range.

“On August 22, the Constitutional Court held a hearing to review the challenge to the announced presidential election results,” said the mission. “The televised proceedings provided transparency, and the sides were allowed to briefly present arguments and address questions from the court in a respectful and orderly process.”

Some of the improvements the mission said it had noted included public commitment to credible elections, advances in the political climate, welcoming of international observers and a fresh voters roll.

“Zimbabweans came out on election day in great numbers,” the mission said. “The voter turnout of approximately 85 percent demonstrated the populace’s desire for democratic governance and enthusiasm to participate in the electoral process.

“The polls were generally administered in accordance with procedures, and the voting environment was peaceful.”

The delegation bemoaned the decreased number of female legislators compared to the 2013 Eighth Parliament.

During their meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda, the Parliament officials said there was need to harmonise the national Constitution with that of political parties to compel them to observe gender parity.

The report followed a visit a fortnight ago by a six-member mission to conduct a post-election assessment.

The mission met stakeholders who included Adv Mudenda and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

The post-election delegation was led by former United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Johnnie Carson and Mrs Constance Newman, both former US Assistant Secretaries of State for African Affairs.