The National Association of Youth Organisation (NAYO),born out of various youth groupings from across the political divide ,has castigated the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for its failure to deliver a credible election last week.
Briefing the media in the capital today, NAYO Secretary Misheck Gondo said although the pre election environment was largely peaceful, ZEC did not meet the expectations of a credible election outcome as can be seen by a lot of irregularities the electoral mother body demonstrated before and during the elections.
“As noted in our interim statement, the 2018 harmonized elections were largely peaceful in the pre-election period and ZEC’s performance in the 2018 elections was below the expectation of the Zimbabwean populace.
“ZEC’s attitude and performance must be rectified if future elections are to be taken seriously in this country,” said Gondo.
During the voting day, NAYO said, ZEC failed to create a conducive environment for a credible elections saying some polling stations in rural areas, lacked lighting as voting process spilled into the night making it difficult for counting processes while opening avenues for rigging.
Gondo said ZEC has grey areas that need to be improved in order to satisfy all political stakeholders concerned in an election so as to build confidence among the people.
“The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) needs to improve its communication, transparency and accountability to stakeholders and to share accurate information to political parties, citizens and stakeholders in all phases of the electoral cycle.”
The electoral mother body came under spotlight prior to the 30 July harmonized elections with the leading opposition MDC Alliance petitioning ZEC twice to address a number of issues among them, the voters’ roll, ballot paper design, printing, distribution and security.
“There were different voter’s rolls which were confusing that were given and it is the right of the stakeholders to get the final voters roll….but you find out that the final voters roll that was released five days before the election did not have photographs even though ZEC had said it was the final,” he said.
The issues NAYO observed also tallied with those noted by the international observers including SADC, AU, COMESA, and European Union among other international bodies.
Their universal observation was the unfair media coverage to all political stakeholders with the state media accused of being pro the ruling party candidates.
The 2018 harmonized elections had been marked as a critical test particularly for Zimbabwe’s re engagement process after years of global isolation due to human rights abuses and political violence during Robert Mugabe’s time as the head of state and government.