Ignoring EU Poll Recommendations Suicidal: Election Watchdog

Think tank and advocacy institution on elections and democracy, the Election Resource Centre (ERC), has warned government to take a leaf from recommendations made by the European Union Election Observation Mission following their observation of the July 30 harmonised elections.

The Mission published its report which concluded that the 30 July 2018 elections fell short from the expected international standards and gave 23 recommendations, which, Zanu PF dismissed as “Nonsense.”

However, the ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini, said Zimbabweans must appreciate that sustainable economic recovery comes at a cost.

The cost, Chimhini said, includes, “dismantling the long standing infrastructure that has affected the holding of credible elections that reflect the will of the people.”

Chimhini added: “On the part of the international community wishing to re-engage with Zimbabwe, it would be a disservice to the people of Zimbabwe to ignore the glaring electorewal inadequacies noted from the 2018 elections for economic expedience.”

The ERC director said any re-engagement efforts that are “devoid of addressing the electoral inadequacies which are now obvious to all will be nothing but hot air.”

Chimhini said electoral irregularities that tainted the previous election must be dealt with.

“Re-engagement efforts must, therefore, be preceded by concrete steps towards dismantling the system of intimidation that characterizes electoral processes especially in rural communities; dismantling the system of patronage that compromises state institutions’ capacity to discharge their duties impartially, constitutionally and professionally,” Chimhini said.

The ERC also called for the dismantling of state propaganda that misrepresents information through biased reporting by the state media.

Chimhini said the review done on the election by the EU suggests that going forward, it is no longer enough to “base re-engagement efforts on mere rhetoric alone.”

“It is no longer enough to just talk without acting. For Zimbabwe to be taken seriously in the community of nations, Zimbabwe has to be prepared to adjust its conduct especially during democratic processes,” Chimhini said.

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