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EU Observer Mission Questions ZEC Independence

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s independence has once again come under scrutiny following the release of the European Union Election Observer Mission to Zimbabwe (EUEOM) final report which questioned the involvement of the Ministry of Justice in the operations of the electoral mother body.

The EU observer mission also questioned the employment of ex-military personnel as part of ZEC secretariat saying it raised doubt on the Justice Priscilla Chigumba led body’s capacity to carry out its mandate without government and security forces interference.

“ZEC’s independence is to some degree undermined by the involvement of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in the approval of regulations adopted by the commission.

“Further, the complaint that large numbers of ZEC staff are former security personnel, and had been employed during previous contentious elections, was never fully clarified by the institution, raising concerns regarding ZEC’s independence and impartiality.

“Thus doubts remained about its capacity to carry out its mandate without government and security force interference as seen in past polls,” reads part of the EU report.

Deputy Chief Observer, Mark Stevens called for the strengthening of ZEC’s independence saying the commission should be free from government oversight in the approval of its regulations.

“ZEC’s independence needs to be strengthened, free from governmental oversight in the approval of its regulations,” said Stevens.

He added that ZEC lacked inclusivity and transparency in its operations which in the end overshadowed some of positives they noted during their election observation.

The EU observer mission also raised concern on the failure by the commission to publicise newly created polling stations saying this resulted in suspicions among the opposition.

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