AU statement on Zim polls

HARARE - Below is the African Union (AU)'s preliminary statement on Zimbabwe's July 31 harmonised elections.

I. Introduction

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, deployed a 60 member African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) to the 31 July 2013 Harmonised Elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe in accordance with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007) and the OAU/AU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa (2002).

His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, led the AU-EOM supported by the Deputy Head of Mission, Her Excellency, Dr Aisha Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs, African Union Commission. Members of the Mission are drawn from the Pan-African Parliament, African Ambassadors to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and Civil Society Organisations. The Mission is supported by a team of experts from the African Union Commission (AUC), the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).

II. Mission Methodology

The African Union (AU) Mission’s observation of the 31 July 2013 Harmonised Elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe adopted the Long Term Observation Methodology, which covers the pre-election, election and post election phases. The first component of the AU Mission involved the deployment of 9 Long Term Observers (LTOs) on June 15 who observed several components of the electoral cycle including: voter registration, candidates’ nomination, campaigning, voter education, the training of election officials, special voting and other aspects of the pre-election phase.

The second component was the deployment of 60 Short Term Observers (STOs) who joined the LTOs on 23 July 2013.

After arrival in the country, the Mission Leadership met with the relevant authorities and various electoral stakeholders, including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), presidential candidates, political parties, government officials and civil society groups. The Mission deployed 26 teams of observers to all 10 provinces across the country to observe the final stages of the campaigns, pre-polling activities, and polling and counting in 350 voting stations.
                                                                                                         
III. Election Day findings

Drawing on the plethora of information gathered in the pre-election phase; and based on its observations and consultations with a range of stakeholders; the AUEOM hereby issues the following preliminary statement:

IV. General Environment

1. The poll was an important phase in a series of measures undertaken by the Inclusive Government, under the terms of the Global Political Agreement of 2008, during which Zimbabweans approved a new Constitution. The Mission notes further that the new Constitution, enacted in May 2013, contributed immensely towards the improvement of the political climate in the country for holding peaceful elections.

2. On 31 July 2013, Zimbabweans went to the polls with enthusiasm and in large numbers to elect their President, Parliamentarians and Local Authorities. The voting and counting processes took place in a peaceful and tranquil environment. Most of the polling stations observed by the AUEOM opened on time and were generally fully staffed, with all the required materials, and adequately secured by the Zimbabwe Republican Police [ZRP].

3. The poll followed a generally peaceful campaign period for which the Mission commends Zimbabwean citizens and political parties who consistently conveyed messages of peace and non-violence to their supporters and the public at large.

4. The voting was carried out in an atmosphere devoid of violence, harassment and disturbances.

Preparedness of the Electoral Management Body

5. The Mission notes that the institutionalisation of an electoral management body in Zimbabwe, in line with AU principles for democratic elections, has improved confidence in the integrity and professionalism of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to manage elections.

The Mission notes the improvement in the manner in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission managed the logistics of the 31 July, election after the lessons learnt from the special voting process.

6. The Mission further notes the initiatives taken by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission to recruit and train officials who were professional in the conduct of the process on Election Day.

7. The Mission observes generally, that from a historical perspective and in comparison to the 2008 elections, Zimbabwe has made an important transition in the conduct of its elections.

8. However, the AUEOM, also takes cognisance of several short-comings in the preparations for the poll and on polling day:

Inspection of the Voters’ Roll by the public and provision of copies to candidates;

a. While Sections 20 and 21 of the Electoral Act requires ZEC to provide a copy of the Voters Roll within ‘a reasonable’ period of time, the Mission notes that the final Voters Roll, was made publicly available two days before the election - rather late for meaningful inspection and verification by voters, parties and candidates to take place.

b. Whereas, the Mission takes note of the rationalisation provided by the Registrar-General of Voters (RGV) to the Mission leadership in respect of the financial and time constraints faced by the RGV in compiling, updating and finalising the Voters Roll within the limited timeframes following the proclamation by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe of the 31 July as the election date, it is our view that the reasons for the non-availability of electronic copies of the final Voters Roll should have been publicly communicated to ease the anxieties that have been consistently expressed by several stakeholders throughout the pre-election period.

c. Given the strategic importance of a Voters’ Roll to the conduct of a transparent electoral process, it is the Mission’s view that the RGV and ZEC should have collaborated to ensure that all stakeholders were timely and regularly updated on the constraints and challenges relating to the Voters’ Roll; and efforts being made to rectify them to meet the 31 July deadline.

The Mission believes this could have minimised the persistent negative pre-election perceptions regarding the Voters’ Roll. Further, greater transparency on the matter may have allayed fears raised by political contestants on the veracity of the voter’s roll.

d. The Mission continues to express grave concerns about the matter of the Voters’ Roll:

Despite assertions by the RGV that hard copies of the voter roll were availed to all political parties, - other than for one political party - observers have found no evidence that hard copies were generally available to all who required them and who by law should have them.

e. Related to this, the Mission notes serious concerns raised by some stakeholders regarding the duplication and omission of voter names, which must not be allowed, casting doubts on the possible outcomes of the elections. The concerns about the voters roll are critical in determining the degree of disenfranchisement or disqualification of legitimate voters from voting.

f. It is the Mission’s view that, the Voters’ Roll should be made available on time and displayed publicly in accordance with the law.

Printing of ballot papers

g. The Mission notes that the number of ballot papers printed (8.7 million), corresponding to 35% above the number of registered voters, was significantly higher than international best practices (5 -10%) and raises concerns of accountability of unused ballots.

It is the Mission’s hope that ZEC will accomplish the task of accounting for the ballots to the satisfaction of stakeholders and all interested parties.

h. The Mission further notes that a significant number of local government ballot booklets had missing ballot papers and were not serially identified.

One such case was noted at a polling station at Town House where two local government ballot booklets had only 99 papers instead of 100.

High incidence of voters turned away

i. The Mission notes with great concern the high incidence of voters who were turned away at polling stations. Illustrative of this widespread phenomenon, in a polling station in Gwanda, Matebeleland South, 85 voters were turned away.

Reasons adduced by polling officers varied from voters appearing at the wrong ward and names not found on the Voters’ Roll.

Late publication of final list of polling stations

j. The late publication of the final list of polling stations, barely 48 hours to the opening of polls, may have contributed significantly to the high number of voters who were turned away for being at the wrong polling stations and/or redirected to other polling stations or referred to the Command Centre.

AU observers generally noted the recurrence of this phenomenon in various polling stations they observed.

It would help to allay the fears and reduce agitation about possible disenfranchisement if ZEC would make public the total number of eligible voters that could not exercise their civil right and duty of voting.

High number of assisted voters

k. The Mission notes the occurrence of high number of assisted voters in many polling stations nation-wide. Examples include polling stations in Muzarabani District, Mashonaland Central; at Musengizi, at the time of observation, 97 voters out of 370 were assisted; Kapembere Primary School 77 voters out of 374 were assisted and Bore Primary School 85 voters out of 374 were assisted.

Furthermore, at a polling station observed by the AU Mission in Manicaland there were 97 assisted voters out of a total of 370 voters.

l. While the current electoral laws provide for assistance by presiding officers, electoral officers and police officers, the involvement of such officials may influence or restrict the free will of the assisted voter.

Media

m. The media was highly polarised along party lines and generally biased in their reporting, in clear violation of Article 160 J of the Electoral Act.

The Mission reiterates that the State broadcaster could have provided a balanced platform for all competing parties and alternative voices in accordance with Article 17(3) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

The African Union Mission hereby clarifies that this is a preliminary statement based on observations and consultations undertaken until the end of Polls.

The Mission will therefore continue to observe the process until its conclusion, when a final assessment will be made.

The AU Long Term Observers will remain in-country until 14 August 2013 to observe the post-election phase.

The AU Mission will release a more detailed final report with recommendations that will be shared with the Zimbabwean authorities and availed to the general public through the African Union website within a two month timeframe.

Conclusion

The Mission wishes to express its hope for a successful conclusion to the 2013 Harmonised Elections, and urges all electoral stakeholders in Zimbabwe to continue to communicatemessages of peace and non-violence to sustain the reigning calm political environment.

To this end, it is critical for all contesting political parties to pursue the established legal channels and dispute resolution mechanisms in resolving disagreements that might arise.

Comments (19)

I need to tell all the people in the MDC T to do the following 1-Never ever go to the courts 2-All those MDC T candidates who win and those who whose results were stolen never join Mugabes gvt let him take from his zanu pf part to fill all the positions for both houses of assembly and the councils no one from MDC T Should join these thugs let them form 100% zanu pf gvt. 3 To my fellow MDC T member lets go and do our normal ways of survival either in poverty or what it does not matter but never ever to any political office of mugabe. 4- I need mugabe to make all the people of zimbabwe happy as he was promising. 5-Again to my fellow MDC members who worked hard during the inclusive gvt so that things were seem to be better for all people of zimbabwe but making it as if mugabe was doing it eg you bring USA Dollar.Please withdraw all your services and what so ever give mugabe everything and also take everything that belongs to you if people are to die of hunger let then die if they are to die of corera let them die Mugabe has all the solutions even next week he must introduce chinese money Yen he must stop using everything for the inclusive gvt more over he must bring back his zim dollars. 6-.When MDC request extention of voters reg mugabe refused 7- when mdc requested voters roll mugabe refused 9 when mdc requested reforming ZEC he refused all the commissoners of zec are CIO and military personell everyone knows this 10- The above are just a few important things so it means mdc must stop working with zanu pf they will use you to the expense of total indep 11.CHINAMHATA DONT give us advice rule alone we will watch you rulling you can feed everyone do all your promises alone when you fail you want to blem mdc do it alone

dofo - 2 August 2013

Amen!! Yaa let them do it alone!!

Bona - 2 August 2013

Devide and rule is ZANU's strategy. It will give office to some some opposition members and kick out the majority. Strategically all political parties fighting for democracy should not join ZANU . Along the way Mugabe' s dogs that arr garding him will eat him. They were about to do it before 2008 when The MDC joined GVt. Had the MDC refused to do so ZANU and Mugabe couuld have colapsed by now. Let us not repeat that mistake again.

Zizi - 2 August 2013

Makatamba natsuro magen'a! You see, I will give you few indicators: 1. Mugabe campaigned with ONLY 10 start rallies, 2. You were reminded of 1980 ZANU PF landslide victory, 3. The security forces, war vets and the boisterous ones Jabulani Sibanda and Chinotimba were cool and quiet, 4. You heard Gire saying haupinde mustate house, 5. Voters' role was not released until the last minute, 6. The polling stations were known only after 48 hours This is uncharacteristic of this regime and it's amazing... kainge kakaronga magen'a....kaitoziva zvako!

Jingli - 2 August 2013

ZANU PF said to its people, "This year let us not do violence to force people to vote for us , because violence brings attention to observers, let us concentrate on the voters' roll and vote rigging , then we will tell AU and SADC our friends to come and say, "Elections were free and fair." To all Zimbabweans who support democracy , these elections were not free and fair and the results which favour ZANU PF with a landslide are not credible ! ! ! So votes have been manipulated in favour of ZANU PF and everybody knows this, because ZANU PF has been an unpopular party since their recent misrule where the zimdollar became useless, schools closed and hospitals closed, roads are full uf potholes and so on. So how can they say they have won when they know perfectly well that they have stollen votes and rigged the polls so openly?

Deposed - 2 August 2013

this is a pathetic situation really. we do not need obasanjo to lecture to us about free and fair. How many times has he come to zim as the head of observer mission, he even pronounced 2008 1st elections as free and fair..what a joke. it is really sad for africa as a whole to see such a shamble of elections and pronounce it fair. I agree with bennet....bring down the house.

familyguy - 2 August 2013

The perceived learned guys thinks they won the game....yes they won deceiving the deprived citizens, ...yes they won by riding on their own created problems giving the already suffering youth dirty and evil acquired $10 notes,....yes they won to oppress the already oppressed people,... yes they won to steal, kill, maim, rape and abuse they own parents, sons and daughters of their own motherland,.. yes they won looting the much needed natural mineral resources to turn the table of our already bleeding country and export it to Zhiizhozhoo a city in China...., yes they won killing the already buried agriculture production sector...( kurimawo here chibage chokutengesa chiri chinyoro miguri 10 for $1,thats land redistribution and empowerment, yes they won to relegate to dustbin the already dis functional industry, yes they won en massing their own people to foreign countries where we are being enslaved, raped, laughed at.......yes they won killing the already deprived school children their birth right to learn in preparation of developing their country,...... yes they won to enslave the long suffered and hard working civil servants,..... yes they won....yes they won......yes they won...Cry our beloved Country Cry.........the struggle of suffering will continue,... to the few evil elite celebrate but don't betray your conscience !!!!!!!

mutungagore - 2 August 2013

what a shame cry our beloved country only GOD knows time will tell

simbai - 2 August 2013

Once upon a time there was a ring leader of a gang of thieves and his name wasTsuro Magenga . His neighbours and other nearby households knew that Tsuro Magenga was a thief , so one day all Tsuro's neighbours and a whole lot of other people from nearby neighbourhoods came to Tsuro Magenga's house to confront him and said to him that they wanted their goods that Tsuro had stolen from them and Tsuro said that he had not stolen anything from anyone. Tsuro then said that he had witnesses to prove that he was not a thief. So Tsuro took his mobile phone and phoned his friends to come as witnesses to say that Tsuro was not a thief. Tsuro's friends came to his house, the first friend's name was called AU, the second one was called SADC, the third friend was called Police , the fourth friend was called Judiciary System. All these friends were gang members of Tsuro's gang and neighbours did not know this. So the friends one by one said to Tsuro's neighbours , "Tsuro is not a thief , then the friends said, "We have found nothing stollen in Tsuro's house , Tsuro is not a thief." So the neighbours said lets go to court, then in the courts Tsuro's friend called Judiciary System was the judge and he said to the neighbours, " All Tsuro 's witnesses, AU, SADC and Police who are in this court sitting over there, have said Tsuro Magenga is not a thief , so case dismissed ," said Judiciary System ,(the judge) , and he was a gang member of Tsuro's gang. So Tsuro's neighbours lost the fight to get their things back that Tsuro had stolen from them and they went home despondent and disappointed that the Judge was even on Tsuro's side and the neighbours knew that they would never never ever get their things back from Tsuro at any time. So to this day Tsuro,s neighbours live in fear because they know that Tsuro is an untouchable thief who will continue to steal from them with impunity at any time and whenever he likes to steal from them at any time.

Tsuro Magenga - 2 August 2013

And this Tsuro Magen'a guy went to an area called MatSouth where no thieves had ever stolen any boxes of honey. He stole all the honey boxes and disappeared into the night. He used his supporters from all corners of the neighbourhood to witness that Tsuro did not steal the honey boxes, he simply got the honey boxes for free despite the fact that the peoplel of MatSouth were themselves starving. Judiciary Sytem argued that Tsuro usually is not loved in MatSouth but people have a democratic right to change their minds from hatred to love whenever they choose. And Tsuro once again was set free as his neighbours who had travelled from far away places sang Tsuro's victories which they alleged depended on his old age wisdom and decency under difficult political circumstances.

Chenjerai Hove - 2 August 2013

morgan is such a bad loser,shame on him

TSVANGIRAI - 2 August 2013

Come on people, Zanu PF could not rig where they are not wanted. There's still a good 40-60% of idiots who still love the party. Shame MDC did not have foresight for all this! Only way out is for zimbabweans to fight their way by the obvious route left! Either way, it's death being led by Zanu. Go for it and do the obvious thing

khumbulani mwandla - 3 August 2013

l dont care now hw it happened but the international community must noe now that poorest country the named is very rich in think tanks.Rigging or no rigging vakomana muzimbabwe mune vanhu vanoronga ndabvuma.NdinoiBigger Zanu Pf yahwina Guyz fairly or unfairly they are masterz aya madhara.l follow historical events btb this is the best resilient political party l neva read abt.Viva CDE MUGABE AHHHHHHH

MHIRIZHONGA - 3 August 2013

who in their right minds will vote Zanu Pf, we are going to suffer for the next 5yrs,the MDC T should shun Zanu gvt and shld now concentrate on forming a gvt in exile

Onward - 3 August 2013

Anoti nyoo ndiani. tiite rerun inoitwa run and observed ne UN. Sadc and AU vakatarisa. Itii NYOOOO. izvozvi. We are prepared for the worst.Musanyeperane hai tongeki mhani. anozviziva robert. Ava kuto panica kudeployer ma green bomber.kkkkkkk. DOFO taura hako. Olendlebe uzwile.

zorodzai - 3 August 2013

Given the foregoing observations by the AU and SADC ,it will be insane to conclude that these elections were free and fair. How are they reconciling ,high number of voters turned away,the irregularities on the printing and availing of the voters roll, the high number of assisted voters etc. These guys are not sincere to say the least

mhakasve - 3 August 2013

Positives are few in this report which means this election is true null and void and questionable and cannot pass as an election any country leader who comes to witness the inaugauration of Mugabe is a hypocrit and very stupid. This statement in itself says it all because we have more people who voted than 1 registered 2 exists. Go Mt Dariwn Uzumba and come up with 20000 adults. Go to Bikita and come out with that total number of adults considering some did not even bother go to vote.

maita - 3 August 2013

MDC-T must take issue to the SADC Tribunal rather than our local courts.

never dhliwayo - 3 August 2013

Once upon a time there was a leader of a gang called ZANU PF, and the name of this gang leader was called Tsuro Magenga. One day Tsuro Magenga called his rival for a fight in a boxing ring , in front of a huge audience of ordinary Zimbabweans. The rival's name was called Tsvangson. The boxing ring belonged to Tsuro Magenga, the referees belonged to Tsuro Magenga's gang, the judges belonged to Tsuro and all top officials at the boxing ring belonged to Tsuro's gang. So Tsuro Magenga invited his friends to come to the fight. Tsuro's friends names were AU, SADC, Chinamasa, Nikuv, Chinese, Mudede, Makarau, ZEC and Masoja and many other top men of his gang. So Tsuro called SADC to referee, then Tsuro jumped into the boxing ring with his boxing gloves and called Tsvangson into the boxing ring with his boxing gloves and Tsvangson jumped into the boxing ring. Then the bell to start the fight was rung, "Ding!!! Ding!!" the bell went. Then the fight started , then to Tsvangson's surprise, AU, Chinamasa , Nikuv, Chinese, Mudede, Makarau, ZEC and Masoja and other gang members all jumped into the boxing ring with their boxing gloves and they all jumped on Tsvangson and Tsvangson fell down and Tsuro and his gang sat on Tsvangson , then while Tsvangson was on the ground where he fell, SADC, the referee started counting from one to ten , then SADC said that the fight was over, and took Tsuro's hand and raised the hand and said , "The winner is Tsuro Magenga." Then Tsuro Magenga was handed a trophy that he had won . Then Tsvangson and the audience cried out , "Tsuro is a dirty fighter , it is a fraudlent fight , this was not a fair fight at all !!!" But SADC turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the complaints and said that the fight was free and fair and declared Tsuro Magenga the winner.

Granddad Wa Tsuro - 3 August 2013

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