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Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights respond to Zanu PF's efforts to subvert electoral processes

This is a press release, just received. For the context to this please see our previous post:

ZLHR logoREQUEST FOR A RECOUNT OF PRESIDENTIAL BALLOTS BEFORE RESULTS ARE ANNOUNCED IS UNPROCEDURAL AND PREMATURE

The state-controlled Sunday Mail edition of 6-12 April 2008 contains a front-page story indicating that ZANU-PF has requested the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to "recount and audit all its election material relating to last week's presidential election following revelations of errors and miscalculations in the compilation of the poll result".

Should this report be accurate, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) wishes to express its grave concern at such unprocedural action which has the potential to compromise the entire electoral process.

Assumedly, the Chief Elections Officer is purporting to currently be in the verification, collation and addition phase of the presidential election results from the constituencies although this cannot be confirmed due to the lack of information from ZEC and the non-transparency of the entire process. ZLHR understands "verification" to entail scrutiny of the original returns from the constituency centres to ensure that they have not been tampered with. Verification does not include reopening ballot boxes, and re-scrutinizing and recounting ballot papers. In relation to a presidential election, the Electoral Act, as amended, does not have any provision for a recount of the votes at all, and especially during the verification process.

Should reliance be placed on the recount provisions relating to a dispute about a duly declared member of the House of Assembly or Senate, then such a recount can only be requested once the declaration of due election has been made by the constituency elections officer or the senatorial constituency elections officer respectively.

Section 67 A (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, as amended, set out the procedure for recounting of votes on the written request of a candidate for a constituency. Such recount must be done within 48 hours of the declaration of a candidate to be duly elected. The party requesting the recount must also set out the number of votes believed to have been miscounted, how the miscount occurred (if known), and how the results have been affected by the alleged miscount. The recount will be allowed where ZEC considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the alleged miscount occurred and that, if it did occur, it would have affected the result of the election. Representatives of the contesting political parties and accredited observers are entitled to be advised of the date, place and time of the recount and to observe the process.

Best international practice would require that the same procedure be followed in respect of dispute of the results of the presidential election.

The Second Schedule (Section 110) of the Electoral Act, as amended, stipulates that once the votes from each constituency have been added together, the Chief Elections Officer shall forthwith declare the winning candidate to be duly elected. It is only after such a declaration that a request for a recount can be made.

ZLHR is further concerned that the inordinate delay in releasing the results of the presidential election, coupled with the lack of information as to the whereabouts and security of the ballot boxes during this time, has created a perception in the minds of the ordinary interested voter and member of the public that tampering may have occurred, which would compromise the integrity of the election material in any recount.

ZLHR has written urgently to the Chairperson of ZEC to provide information in this regard.

In the meantime, we reiterate our call to the Chief Elections Officer of ZEC to announce the results of the presidential election forthwith, and to ensure that ZEC maintains and displays its independence in carrying out its duties in terms of the law. We further condemn the attempts of an interested party to unlawfully influence the electoral process by pressuring ZEC to undertake illegal and unprocedural processes, thus further delaying the announcement of the results.

Comments

Nyagura says:

What a country we are in. A party can apply for a recount for unknown votes. How do they know that there was a problem in counting when the results havent been announced. Is ZEC independent.? Why does it seem that ZANU Pf knows what ZEC is hiding when infact the results are said to be collated/verified whatever....
So does it take 8 days to count 3million vote. Zimbabweans can count $30 billion in just 2 minutes so 3million ballot papers shouldn't take long. If its taking long they can use cash registers to count the ballots...

Submitted by Nyagura on 6 April 2008 - 7:59pm
True Grit says:

I look forward to reading the press release of the ZECs reply to ZLHRs letter (if there is one).

Submitted by True Grit on 6 April 2008 - 10:17pm
Akipenda says:

Very true!!! If Zimbabweans dont help themselves now.... nobody is going to help them in the near future. So.... get up, wake up and dont allow these "robbers" to deal with you so brutaly once more.

Submitted by Akipenda on 7 April 2008 - 8:54am
svs says:

Have you seen this story from the London Times?
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article3689991.ece

It has a slightly different slant than your previous post.

Good Luck!

Submitted by svs on 7 April 2008 - 12:20pm
patriotic says:

this is obviours ZANU pf lost the elections, but if MDC agrees for the election re run that's the end of story. Mugabe wins.

Submitted by patriotic on 7 April 2008 - 11:09pm
vincent says:

Patriotic
Not necesarilly true people are angry that is a fact .If one considers now that things are even worse than before the elections.Salaries have been eroded so badly that its not worth it working in the formal sector now, more over people in the rural areas have noted that the monster can be removed,I can tell you for a fact that people I have interacted with at my work place are saying if there is a run off they will go to ther rural areas to campaign for MT and I will definetly go there too because we need the change and NOTHING LESS IS ACCEPTABLE. IMAGINE THIS STAYING IN ZIMBABWE IS NOW BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH BECAUSE THINGS ARE NOW OUT OF REACH FOR MANY PEOPLE AND THES PEOPLE HAVE NO CLUE AS FOR WHAT TO DO NEXT TOSTABILISE THE ECONOMY.

Submitted by vincent on 9 April 2008 - 9:38am
Raymond says:

We are [lost]!!!. These guys have 28 years experience in rigging.

[Sok: edited for profanity]

Submitted by Raymond on 9 April 2008 - 11:02am
chasura ibenzi says:

how can u call for a recount while we are still waiting for the results.The results are well known but Bob can not believe that people have rejected him.Tough lucky

Submitted by chasura ibenzi on 15 April 2008 - 8:21pm

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