US institutes release final election report

HARARE - Two United States organisations; the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) says while Zimbabwe had recorded incremental gains in entrenching democracy during the July 30 elections, the improvements were insufficient to demonstrate broad confidence in the process to convince the populace that citizens are actually free to make political choices.

In their joint final report set for release today, IRI-NDI Zimbabwe International Electoral Observation Mission (ZIEOM) said its findings were part of a seven-month joint mission to observe all phases of the electoral process: pre-election, Election Day and the post-election period.

ZIEOM said it recognising that it is the people of Zimbabwe who will ultimately determine the credibility of their elections and the institutes stand ready to support the democratic process if there is will for reform.

The mission added that those who seek to establish a genuine democratic transition will have to unite the country, work effectively with their political opposition and civil society, promote a tolerant multiparty system, a free and vibrant press, and vigilantly work to create a more responsive and accountable government.

“Based on its observation and in the context of 18 years of repressed political rights, deepening economic pain, and decades of deeply flawed elections, including sweeping electoral violence in 2008, ZIEOM acknowledges that Zimbabwe has shown substantive, incremental improvements.

“Improvements noted by ZIEOM included a public commitment to credible elections, are more open political climate, welcoming of international observers, and a fresh voters roll.” However, ZIEOM said these relative improvements were insufficient to demonstrate broad confidence in the process to convince the populace that citizens are actually free to make political choices through a ballot that is secret and through a process that respects the will of the people.

The report notes the tragic events on August 1 to quell protesters that resulted in the death of six civilians and the subsequent crackdown of opposition party leaders in the days following the elections caused serious concern in addition to other malpractices such as the politicisation of food aid, intimidation of voters, partisanship of traditional leaders and an inordinate media bias.

“Throughout the mission, NDI and IRI sought to express the international community’s interest in and support for credible, peaceful elections in Zimbabwe; provide an accurate and impartial report on the character of the election process to date; and offer appropriate recommendations to improve the electoral process.

“The mission was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Observation, in conformity with the laws of Zimbabwe, and in reference to international and regional standards for democratic elections including the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Guidelines and Principles for Democratic Elections and the African Union (AU) Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.”

The mission said it is grateful for the cooperation it received from all Zimbabweans with whom it interacted, including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Chairperson and election officials around the country, the leading presidential candidates, political party leaders, citizen election monitors, other civil society leaders.

Commenting on the report to be released today, ZIEOM co-director, Jessica Keegan said the report aims to shed light on particular areas of concern.

“The recommendations offer a roadmap to improve the quality, inclusivity and transparency of future elections.

“Moving forward it will be critical that the government and opposition remain steadfast in working together to address the electoral shortcomings, to move the country forward and to instil greater confidence in the public that the process meets international standards for democratic elections,” Keegan added.

She said the voter turnout of 85 percent in the elections demonstrated an enthusiasm among Zimbabweans to participate in the electoral process. “However, Zimbabwe has not yet established a democratic culture where parties are treated equitably and citizens can cast their vote freely.”

This comes hardly a month after the European Union observatory mission said while the election was largely peaceful, use of state resources and delays by the electoral commission to relay presidential results affected the credibility of the vote.

Despite the negative comments from Europe and other observers outside Africa those from the Sadc bloc said the vote was peaceful and orderly and opened the door to strengthen the country’s democracy.

Zimbabwe held its first election since Robert Mugabe was forced to resign after a November de facto coup in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa were the main contenders for power.

Comments (6)

Please America just shut up. Khashoggi is butchered in Saudi Arabia and you do not find any cause for arlam .Now you want to lecture us on human rights. So if you say something is ok its ok ,your Saudi friends bomb little kids in yemen you say nothing .

munhu - 30 October 2018

If you can remove Zidera, then we are sailing in like terms. Zimbabwe is hit with economic crisis and this only adds more troubles. If you may rather be kind and assist us as Zimbabwe we will be gratefull not continue to taint us. We understand it is objective however may America be constructive to its fellow nations. OUrinflation rate is above 155% and unemployment above 90%. Can our plee be considered, Zidera removed and sanctions removed, then our success is your success.

courage - 30 October 2018

A response to the above comments;The Kashoggi killing is still an on-going case, the Americans sent their highest diplomat in Secretary of State to get facts on the ground and then the FBI Director followed suit, right now their Congress is preparing a raft of measures/sanctions against Saudi. American have definitely been alarmed by the barbaric act and are doing something about it. Then coming to sanctions on Zim/ZIDERA - it is no-brainer that those have very-little to nothing- to do with the economic down-turn Zimbabwe has been since 1980. And besides Government with its ruling party are very much aware what they need to do to have the sanctions removed, every now and then the Americans remind them of the reforms that Government need to do. The recent last reminder was in May this year where zanupf needed to partake on a few political and electoral reforms to get sanctions removed but they didn't - thus for ZIDERA continued existence ALL blame is on the government via its ruling party not Americans or Zim oppositions.

Sinyo - 30 October 2018

On point Sinyo these guys they are being brainwashed by zanu how can you plee for the sanctions to be removed instead plee to zanu so that they implement the reforms that they were already and always told to do then zidera will be removed so don't blame US or opposition zanu knows those reforms are suicidal to them that's why vachiomesa makotsi once they agree to reforms they are gone so bhora pasi zanu haidi kuenda so pamberi nezidera don't get me wrong I'm not wishing to continue suffer but as long zanu won't implement reforms ndosaka ndichiti pamberi kkkkkk true but pain

Innocent - 30 October 2018

settling impossible conditions in zidera is in fact self defeatist.. th egovernment of the USA should advance drop the sanctions and support the people of zimbabwe in their journey to prosperity. ZIDERA conditions make it difficult for the current government to face and deal with a jittery public and an opportunistic opposition led by a self obsessed boy...

mpiza - 31 October 2018

its funny guys.....some of you are so brainwashed......u want the US givernement to clear off sanctions...why wont our governement first put in place the right reforms towards democracy...? when citizens are shot down and no arrests are made are you happy with that? when government officials are corrupt and arent questioned are you also happy with that...? When acie lumumba busts out on corrupt gorvenmnet officials and is fired for that are you also happy...? the current government hasnt shown any will whatsoever to reform towards democracy and transparency......and when democratic sanctions are imposed you rush to blame USA......i guess some of you dont even know what ZIDERA stands for.....

tinoe - 4 November 2018

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