THE European Union Observer Mission chief election observer, Elmar Brok, yesterday said Zimbabwe should “undo” past wrongs by a free, fair and credible election this year and urged the Zimbabwe Clectoral Commission (Zec) to provide analysable biometric voter registration data to instil confidence in the July 30 polls.
Brok cautioned Zec against bringing the credibility of the elections into question by engaging in anything that would raise a “red flag”.
The EUOM position followed opposition MDC-T and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa’s call for Zec to involve the opposition parties in the printing, storage, transportation and distribution of ballot papers to enhance and improve the transparency and credibility of the elections.
“These elections are a critical test of Zimbabwe’s reform process. Given the context of past elections, great efforts need to be made to ensure public and political confidence in the 2018 polls. Necessary efforts include transparency and inclusivity, confidence in the integrity of the voters’ roll, emphasis on secrecy of the vote and the peaceful conduct of the polls,” Brok said.
He said the July 30 election was a litmus test for Zimbabwe and should be conducted in a free, fair and credible manner.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Brok said the military involvement in elections must not invoke past memories, where the army was accused of poking its nose into electoral processes.
He was responding to a question on implications of the offer by the military to assist Zec with transport during the election.
“It is important for the credibility of the whole process that the people are not given the feeling that disputed mechanisms might be used and, therefore, I think if the military, for example, were to transport that (election material), then I think some parties, some candidates will be nervous about that because of the history,” he said.
“It is important there is a minimum feeling of the situation that people might believe there are some wrong things are underway.”
Brok said the military had assured the nation that it would respect the Constitution and accept the election result.
He hoped that there would not be any military personnel’s involvement in the electoral planning process that would give people the feeling that their vote was not secure this year.
Brok added that the EU was aware of what happened in the past, especially in rural areas, where Zanu PF has, in the past, unleashed its activists and members of the National Youth Service, known as the Green bombers, in the countryside to coerce the villagers into voting for the ruling party.
Citizens have lost lives, limbs broken and homes razed to the ground as the ruling party activists and youth militia unleashed terror on opposition supporters.
Brok added the current atmosphere should not be destroyed in the last weeks, with “the wrong impression of processes being done the wrong way”.
“These elections are a critical test of Zimbabwe’s reform process. Given the context of past elections, great efforts need to be made to ensure public and political confidence in the 2018 polls,” he said.
“Necessary efforts include transparency and inclusivity, confidence in the integrity of the voter roll, emphasis on secrecy of the vote and the peaceful conduct of the polls.”