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  • 2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles

  • Preliminary statement on the Zim June 27 elections
    SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM)
    June 29, 2008

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    On 2 May 2008 the results of the presidential election were finally announced. None of the four candidates received an outright majority required by the Electoral Act. Accordingly, on 19 May 2008, ZEC announced that the run-off election would be held on 27 June 2008 between the candidates of the MDC, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and the ZANU PF, Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who had secured 47.9% and 43.2% of the votes respectively.

    The ZEC also announced that by-elections would be held on the same day in the Gwanda South, Pelandaba-Mpopoma and Redcliff Constituencies where elections could not proceed on 29 March 2008 due to the death of candidates before the election date.

    The SADC was, again, invited by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe to observe these elections in terms of the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defense and Security Co-operation, and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

    Following this invitation, the Chairperson of SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Co-operation (OPDSC), His Excellency Eng. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola, officially constituted the SEOM and mandated the Executive Secretary, Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salomao, to organize its deployment. The Chairperson of the OPDSC, appointed Hon. Jose Marcos Barrica, Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Angola to head SEOM.

    Pursuant to this mandate, Diplomatic Missions of SADC Member States accredited to Zimbabwe assumed the role of an advanced team. After the necessary logistical and administrative preparation the full SADC Electoral Observer Mission was re-deployed to Harare from 28tyh May 2008.

    The SEOM maintained contact with other international observer missions such as the African Union (AU), and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. During the interactions, notes were exchanged.

    As part of their fieldwork, SADC observers were deployed to all provinces in Zimbabwe. The observers interacted with political parties and candidates canvassing for support, ZEC officials, non-governmental organizations, police officers and citizens.

    The Mission observed the elections in line with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

    During the pre-voting period, the ZEC, despite operating under a politically charged environment, was able to prepare for the election by among other things, handling of postal votes, training of electoral officers, the setting up of polling stations, and delivery of voting materials.

    The SEOM consisted of 413 members from all SADC Member States, except Madagascar. They were deployed into ten (10) provinces which were divided into 210 constituencies and 9 100 polling stations. The background of the members of the Mission ranged from parliamentarians of both ruling and opposition parties, members of civil society and civil servants. Field teams were, as far as possible, composed and deployed in a manner that made them representative of Member States.

    The SADC Mission conducted its observation in a rigorous and systematic manner. Field teams submitted daily reports which were consolidated and analyzed by members of the SADC Secretariat. Allegations raised with the SEOM were, likewise, pursued in a systematic manner through further observations and requests for further information from the relevant authorities or role-players. Based on the aforegoing the SEOM wishes report on the following observations and findings

    Observations and findings pre-election phase
    Politically motivated violence and intimidation: The period leading up to the run-off election was characterized by politically motivated violence resulting in loss of life, damage to property, and serious injuries sustained and hindering political activities.

    All role-players acknowledged the existence of politically motivated violence but differed regarding the nature, extent, causes and origins of this violence and its impact on the electoral process. On numerous occasions victims of politically motivated violence allege that the security forces did very little to stop the violence of arrest the perpetrators of violence.

    The prevalence of politically motivated violence was uneven, being most acute in Mashonaland East, West and Central, Manicaland, Masvingo, and Harare. This politically motivated violence led to the internal displacement of persons and impacted negatively on the full participation of citizens in the political process and freedom of association.

    On 25 June 2008 the Head of SEOM issued a statement expressing its deep concern on widespread politically motivated violence, and appealed to the relevant authorities, particularly supporters of political parties and candidates to refrain from all forms of violence. The Mission also urged the law enforcement agencies to ensure that there was law and order in the country.

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