Friday, March 23, 2018

We’ve Nothing to Hide, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Tells EU
22 MAR, 2018 - 00:03
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Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday told the European Union election exploratory team that it had nothing to hide and is open to scrutiny before, during and after the harmonised elections.

The electoral body also gave the EU team a blow-by-blow account of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system saying it was not living anything to chance to ensure credible elections.

ZEC also said it was prepared for an eventuality, principally a run-off in the event that the elections do no produce an outright winner.

The EU team, led by the bloc’s Head of Democracy and Support Unit, Mr Patrick Costello, is carrying out pre-election assessment ahead of the elections expected by end of July.

The team yesterday met the ZEC, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda and MDC Alliance representatives led by Mr Nelson Chamisa. Speaking after the meeting, ZEC acting chairperson Mr Emmanuel Magade said the electoral body had nothing to hide.

“The full Commission minus the chairperson (Justice Priscilla Chigumba), who is in Russia and one other Commissioner had a lengthy discussion with the EU team and we categorically told them that we have nothing to hide and as a public entity we are more than happy to subject ourselves to scrutiny,” he said.

“Where we do things right we expect commendation and where we have shortfalls we take warranted criticism graciously. They asked a number of questions and we went out of our way to explain the minute details of the processes. My impression is that they were reasonably satisfied with our explanations.”

Mr Magade added: “We told them that we are not living anything to chance and we are prepared for a run- off in the event that there is no outright winner as provided for by the law. We also assured them of our determination to scrupulously observe the law in terms of management of elections. Not only are we servants of the people, we are also servants of the law. Ultimately, we are accountable and answerable to the people of Zimbabwe.”

He said the EU team gave the electoral body the processes that would be involved if the bloc decided to send an Observer Mission.

“This involves when the teams would be expected to come and that they would be dotted all over the country and that our interface with them would be predicated upon a Memorandum of Understanding between EU and ourselves,” Mr Magade                                                                                        said.

“The MoU would spell out the rules of engagement. They wanted to know if we had a detailed roadmap for the elections, but we gave them a general outline of the roadmap underscoring that some of the processes are dependent upon a proclamation having been made by the President. They wanted to know about Diaspora vote and we told them that we are waiting for the courts to make a determination.”

Meanwhile, in their meeting with the EU, MDC Alliance presented a list of the usual unsubstantiated demands, which they said would ensure free, fair and credible elections.

The Alliance outlined the 10 demands in its Plan and Environment and Credible Election (PEACE) launched yesterday.

The coalition said it wanted the demands responded to before the elections.

The EU is meeting various stakeholders and have already met traditional leaders, Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Foreign Affairs and International Trade secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha among other interested parties.

President Mnangagwa has opened up the electoral processes to ensure credible, free and fair elections, a move that has seen Government inviting the EU for the first time in 16 years.

Government has also given other international observers, including the United Nations, the green light to monitor the elections.

Today the team is expected to meet zanu-pf officials, the police and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

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