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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • 2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles

  • Post Election Update No. 2 - Vote recount in 23 constituencies
    Zimbabwe Election Support Network
    May 13, 2008

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    The Zimbabwe Election Support Network is an election observation network of local non-governmental organisations whose mission is to enhance a democratic, transparent, free and fair electoral process and environment by coordinating election related activities through member organisations.

    In the aftermath of the March 2008 Harmonised Elections, the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) ordered election recounts in 23 constituencies.

    ZEC issued a notice (GN 58A/2008 dated Saturday 12th April) to the effect that it would be recounting votes in respect of 23 constituencies. The notice stated that in terms of section 67A of the Electoral Act that the Commission [ZEC] was of the opinion that reasonable grounds exist for believing that a miscount of votes occurred that would have affected the result of the elections concerned, has ordered that a recount in respect of the Presidential, House of Assembly, Senatorial and local authority elections be undertaken at the constituency centres.

    The need for these recounts was attributed to inconsistencies noted between the V11 and V23 forms submitted by election officials to the ZEC national command centre.

    The opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) filed an application with the High Court of Zimbabwe seeking the stoppage of the recounts. This application was however dismissed on the 18th of April 2008, a day before the recounts were set to begin. The vote recounts therefore went ahead on Saturday 19th April 2008 as scheduled. Candidates, their election agents and accredited observers were invited to be present.

    The law

    The Electoral Laws Amendment Act, 2008 amended Part XIII of the Electoral Act "Preparation for and Voting at poll by inserting a new section 67A which gives candidates and political parties the right to a recount of votes if they can satisfy the Commission that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there was a miscount that affected the result. Even in the absence of a request from candidates and parties, the Commission will have power to order a recount if it considers the votes were miscounted.

    The Act provides that "Within forty-eight hours after a constituency elections officer has declared a candidate to be duly elected in terms of section 66(1), any political party or candidate that contested the election in the ward or constituency concerned may request the Commission to conduct a recount of votes in one or more of the polling stations in the constituency." [Section 67A(1)]

    Subsection (2) further provides that a request made by political party or candidate must be in writing, signed by an appropriate representative of the political party or candidate making the request; and must state specifically the number of votes believed to have been miscounted and, if possible, how the miscount may have occurred; as well as how the results of the election have been affected by the alleged miscount.

    The Commission may on its own initiative order a recount of votes in any polling stations if it considers there are reasonable grounds for believing that the votes were miscounted and that, if they were, the miscount would have affected the result of the election. [Section 67A(4)]

    Further, accredited observers and representatives of candidates and political parties that contested the election shall be entitled to be present at any recount ordered in terms of this section.

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