THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index, Back to Special Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • The case for an efficient and transparent results management system
    Election Resource Centre
    July 24, 2013

    The Election Resource Centre expresses its concern at the apparent delay in setting up and sharing of a transparent results management system for the upcoming 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.

    Furthermore, 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 centre.

    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 purposes.

    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.

    Our concern 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.

    Establishing 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 sheet

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.