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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
The case for an efficient and transparent results management system
July 24, 2013
Resource Centre expresses its concern at the apparent delay in setting
up and sharing of a transparent results management system for the
harmonised elections on 31 July 2013. The ERC is aware that
one of the major factors that undermined the credibility of the
2008 election was the opaque and delayed results management process.
Resultantly, the nation plunged into carnage, characterised by violence
and intimidation that led to the loss of life to some citizens.
Scores of people were tortured and maimed in the period leading
to the June
29 runoff in 2008.
There were further
observations in March 2008; to the effect that the process at the
national command centre lacked transparency and was laboriously
slow. Despite the fact that results were transmitted correctly from
the polling stations to the constituency centres the process thereafter
became very opaque as election officials lacked formalized instructions.
Since then we
have noted the manifest attempts by electoral stakeholders to improve
the results management system. Firstly the Electoral
Act now requires that results for the Presidential and National
Assembly Elections be released five days after the election.
the amended Electoral Act also requires ZEC to publish results by
polling station and not only an aggregated total. This will significantly
enhance the ZEC Commissioners’ ability to verify the results
tabulated by its field-structure at the various Command Centres
before its chairperson announces the final Presidential results.
As a reminder,
the new regulations require that votes are counted at polling stations
and the polling station results are then transmitted to the ward
collation centre where they are collated before being transmitted
simultaneously to the constituency centre and the national command
Whilst the individual
polling station results forms are being tabulated at the national
command centre, the tabulated ward results are being collated at
the Constituency Command Centre for onward transmission to the Provincial
Command Centre. In the end, Provincial Election Officers transmits
aggregated results to the National Command Centre for final verification
Given the critical
place of the National Command Centre as the location where polling
station results are tabulated and verified we express our concern
at the fact that the National Command Centre demonstrate limited
preparations for this important tasks, if any.
arises from a number of observations. Firstly, before the Centre
can be operational, ZEC needs to develop procedures and instructions
governing the complicated task of correctly and timely capturing
the results from the Presidential and the 210 distinct National
Assembly elections. Secondly, the Commission must also secure the
required hardware and software to conduct this type of data-capturing
operation. Thirdly, the ZEC must also identify, recruit and train
the various categories of staff required. Fourthly, it’s unclear
how the ZEC envisages retrieving the polling station results forms
from the almost 2,000 Ward Command Centre’s in a timely, secure
and transparent manner.
and operating a national results centre requires financial resources,
and the lack of funding that seems to be a common adage for this
crucial election, can affect the efficient management of the results
system. We are therefore concerned that election results operations
at the National Command Centre can be compromised by lack of funding.
As the poor
management of results has the potential to have very dire consequences
for the credibility of the poll and the safety and security of our
citizens, we urge ZEC to take all the necessary steps and spare
no expense to make sure that in 2013 all votes count.
Visit the Election
Resource Centre fact
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