Thursday, September 05, 2013

(TALKZIMBABWE) Election system tamper-proof: ZEC chairperson
This article was written by Our reporter on 11 August, at 07 : 43 AM

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has reiterated that last month’s harmonised elections were credible, free and fair, saying the system is tamper proof and those who say otherwise should bring the evidence.

She reiterated that those spreading rumours of rigging were doing so “from a position of ignorance”. The ZEC boss conceded that holding the elections within a short time frame was always going to be a challenge but hailed her team for rising up to the challenge.

Several election observers passed the polls as free and credible while the MDC-T and its Western allies insist that there was rampant rigging during voting.

However, without singling out the MDC-T which on Friday filed a petition at the Constitutional Court seeking the nullification of the presidential election citing poll irregularities, Justice Makarau challenged those making rigging allegations to produce evidence to back their claims.

“The elections were free firstly because we did not receive any report of anyone who was compelled to vote in a particular way.

“We did not receive any report of any case of violence inside or outside the polling stations throughout the country,” she said.

“The atmosphere was peaceful. People were free either to go and vote or to stay at home and Zimbabweans were free to go and vote for a candidate of their choice.

“As ZEC, we are saying the elections were fair since no political party was prejudiced in all our processes. We treated all political parties fairly.”

Justice Makarau added that although the voters’ roll was not provided on time to all political parties, the processes and procedures did not favour any political party.

Justice Makarau noted that the voting process left no room for any party to rig the elections.

“The process was very, very clear,” she said.

“We spelt out the electoral processes. Those processes did not give room for rigging because all the party agents were present from the time we opened our polling booths until closing time.

“I would be surprised if anybody says there was something amiss.”

Justice Makarau noted that the more than 18 000 polling agents who represented the contesting parties accepted the results at the polling station they were stationed at when voting ended at 7pm.

The ZEC chairperson, however, said that the commission faced a number of challenges in its execution of its mandate.

“The biggest challenge, I would say, was the tight time-frame we had to operate in. The funds were released late and they came in drips and drabs,” she said adding that work was already underway to ensure that challenges faced in the last election are addressed.

“There are areas that we need to start working on now as we prepare for the next elections. There are grey areas that we may feel will need amendments to the law. We will have a re-look of some parts of the process,” she said.

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