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2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles
for a recount of presidential ballots before results are announced
is unprocedural and premature
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
April 06, 2008
Sunday Mail edition of 6-12 April 2008 contains a front-page
story indicating that ZANU-PF has requested the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to "recount and audit all its election
material relating to last week's presidential election following
revelations of errors and miscalculations in the compilation of
the poll result".
report be accurate, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) wishes
to express its grave concern at such unprocedural action which has
the potential to compromise the entire electoral process.
Chief Elections Officer is purporting to currently be in the verification,
collation and addition phase of the presidential election results
from the constituencies although this cannot be confirmed due to
the lack of information from ZEC and the non-transparency of the
entire process. ZLHR understands "verification" to entail
scrutiny of the original returns from the constituency centres to
ensure that they have not been tampered with. Verification does
not include reopening ballot boxes, and re-scrutinizing
and recounting ballot papers. In relation to a presidential election,
the Electoral Act, as amended, does not have any provision
for a recount of the votes at all, and especially during
the verification process.
be placed on the recount provisions relating to a dispute about
a duly declared member of the House of Assembly or Senate, then
such a recount can only be requested once the declaration
of due election has been made by the constituency elections
officer or the senatorial constituency elections officer respectively.
Section 67 A
(1) and (2) of the Electoral
Act, as amended, set out the procedure for recounting of votes
on the written request of a candidate for a constituency. Such recount
must be done within 48 hours of the declaration of a candidate
to be duly elected. The party requesting the recount must
also set out the number of votes believed to have been miscounted,
how the miscount occurred (if known), and how the results have been
affected by the alleged miscount. The recount will be allowed where
ZEC considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that
the alleged miscount occurred and that, if it did occur, it would
have affected the result of the election. Representatives of the
contesting political parties and accredited observers are entitled
to be advised of the date, place and time of the recount and to
observe the process.
practice would require that the same procedure be followed in respect
of dispute of the results of the presidential election.
The Second Schedule
(Section 110) of the Electoral Act, as amended, stipulates that
once the votes from each constituency have been added together,
the Chief Elections Officer shall forthwith declare
the winning candidate to be duly elected. It is only after
such a declaration that a request for a recount can be made.
ZLHR is further
concerned that the inordinate delay in releasing the results of
the presidential election, coupled with the lack of information
as to the whereabouts and security of the ballot boxes during this
time, has created a perception in the minds of the ordinary interested
voter and member of the public that tampering may have occurred,
which would compromise the integrity of the election material in
ZLHR has written
urgently to the Chairperson of ZEC to provide information in this
In the meantime,
we reiterate our call to the Chief Elections Officer of ZEC to announce
the results of the presidential election forthwith, and to ensure
that ZEC maintains and displays its independence in carrying out
its duties in terms of the law. We further condemn the attempts
of an interested party to unlawfully influence the electoral process
by pressuring ZEC to undertake illegal and unprocedural processes,
thus further delaying the announcement of the results.
Visit the ZLHR
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