The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to the Republic of Zimbabwe presented yesterday its Final Report on the 30 July 2018 harmonised elections at a press conference in Harare. The report was presented on behalf of Chief Observer Elmar Brok, Member of the European Parliament, to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the government, the parliament, civil society and political parties, among others.
The aim of the visit was to present the report to national stakeholders and to highlight its recommendations, which the EU EOM believe can make a positive contribution towards improving the quality of elections in Zimbabwe in the future. During the visit, the EU EOM will discuss with stakeholders how the reform process can be taken forward and how the EU can support this as appropriate.
“The Final Report contains the conclusions of the EUEOM findings of the entire electoral process and also includes 23 recommendations for consideration by the authorities on how to further improve future elections” said the Chief Observer. “These recommendations are offered to help address a number of the shortfalls outlined in this report, including problems with the legal framework, the role of the electoral commission, and various abuses of human rights and political rights of the opposition. But such changes need to be accompanied by the requisite political will of all stakeholders. Both this report and its recommendations also serve as important benchmarks for assessing the commitment of the Government of Zimbabwe to furthering democratic transition in the country.” stressed Elmar Brok.
The recommendations address four key areas: the independence of the ZEC, improved level playing field, the legal framework and the inclusiveness of the process.
“The EUEOM suggests in order to enhance confidence in the process, to strengthen the independence of ZEC; to ensure ZEC provides more effective and timely information during the process to enhance confidence; and for ZEC to develop the results management process to enhance verifiability and traceability,” explained the Chief Observer.
“To help create a more level playing field and a more conducive environment for the polls, state-owned media must be more impartial in its coverage; legal measures should be introduced to mitigate abuse of incumbency and of state resources; and, campaign finance regulations should be introduced to enhance accountability” said Elmar Brok.
“To improve the legal framework for the elections, legislation should be brought into line with the 2013 Constitution; and appropriate time limits for the determination of pre-election disputes need to be established”, added Brok.
“To make the electoral process more inclusive, areas of under-registration of voters need to be addressed; and Multi-Party Liaison Committees need to be used more effectively”, concluded the Chief Observer.
Looking to the future, Brok said, “There is a thirst for democratic change in the country and the people want to see democratic dividends delivering a better life for all Zimbabweans. The EU’s Report and Recommendations are offered to support such a democratic direction. It is fundamentally important that both government and opposition pursue democratic aspirations of the citizenry and deliver necessary reforms. The test of any successful democratic transition is when the opposition of today has a fair chance to be the government of tomorrow. I wish the government and the people of Zimbabwe well for the future”.