Confidence in Zec at all-time low

POLITICAL players and the general public have lost confidence in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (Zec) capacity to deliver free, fair and credible elections even after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling, which gave a seal of approval on its work.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

A Long-Term Observer Post Elections report released by the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) showed that confidence levels in the work of Zec continued to dip, especially after the ConCourt case which exposed short-comings on the work of the commission.

“Closer to the election, there was an overall decline in confidence in the impartiality of Zec. After the election, stakeholder confidence significantly declined. This can partly be attributed to perceptions fuelled by allegations by the leaders of the main opposition, the MDC Alliance, that the commission manipulated poll results in favour of Zanu PF,” the report reads.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, through his lawyer Thabani Mpofu, poked holes into Zec’s management of elections, handling of data and ballot papers, alleging that it was working in cahoots with Zanu PF.

Zesn, which deployed over 6 000 observers around the country, said its observers had recorded cases of post-election political intimidation and violence in Mashonaland West province post-elections, where a witch-hunt to sniff out opposition supporters has been launched.

“Long-term observers also made efforts to verify social media reports of human rights abuses in their constituencies. Intimidation was reported in 19% of constituencies, although reported incidents dropped to some extent over time. In Maware village, Makonde constituency ward 9 in Mashonaland West province, there were threats of a follow-up exercise to determine who voted for the MDC Alliance,” Zesn reported.

The police have since dismissed reports of post-election political violence, saying these were a creation of social media and privately-owned media.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba called on those with evidence of political violence to step forward so that such cases could be investigated.

“Investigations carried out so far have revealed that there are no threats and intimidation on anyone. As police, we would also want to reiterate that the people should report to the police if they are intimidated,” she said.

However, Zesn called on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to step up and investigate allegations of human rights abuses to ensure justice for those under siege.


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