THE Commonwealth Election Observer Mission yesterday hailed the way the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) managed the just ended harmonised elections and said the group’s secretary general, Mrs Baroness Patricia Scotland, will soon head for Zimbabwe to deliver the organisation’s final report.
The Mission met President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare to bid farewell and reiterated its satisfaction with the way the harmonised elections were held, adding that they were going to prepare their final report which will be brought to Harare by the group’s secretary general.
Briefing journalists soon after meeting President Mnangagwa, CEOM Head of Mission, Ambassador Amina Mohamed, said they were encouraged by the professionalism and efficiency with which the ZEC handled the polls.
In results announced on Saturday night, ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba declared President Mnangagwa, who was Zanu PF presidential candidate, as the winner, beating his closest rival, Mr Nelson Chamisa of the Citizen Coalition for Change.
“We were very encouraged by the environment that allowed the election to go ahead in a peaceful manner. We were impressed by the manner the people of Zimbabwe went out to vote, the patience and commitment to democracy and the process itself. We were also impressed by the professionalism, efficiency and commitment as well by the polling officers, they did well and conducted the election without any flaws,” said Amb Mohamed, who is also former Cabinet Secretary for Education and Foreign Affairs in Kenya.
“We pointed to the delay in some cases of ballot papers in Harare and Bulawayo. We also commended the proclamation that was made to ensure that everybody had equal time to cast their votes, the extension of the period within which election should take place. So all in all we were very happy with the environment that existed.”
She said they came to bid farewell to President Mnangagwa and Mrs Scotland will come to Zimbabwe once they complete the final report to deliver it to the Head of State and Government.
“You know when we arrived, we came to announce our presence to His Excellency, the President, to say we are in your country and I think it is befitting as Africans to come back and say farewell.
“We have been honoured and privileged to participate in this democratic process in Zimbabwe, and we are now leaving to make sure we do the rest of the work that we must do, which is preparing our final report and make sure the Secretary General, in due course, comes back with the report to present it to the President,” said Amb Mohamed.
In its interim report presented last week, the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission said there was a peaceful pre-election atmosphere.
“Throughout the voting process, we met professional, diligent and friendly election officials and security officers. We observed that voters’ lists were visible, well placed, of high quality, arranged in alphabetical order, and accessible at polling stations, all of which made identification of voters easier. We sensed a strong feeling of excitement among all the people we interacted with,” reads the report.
“It was noteworthy that several mechanisms to deal with election disputes are in place, including the electoral courts, although there have been reports that national-level multiparty liaison committees have had limited success in resolving disputes.”
The Mission added that the high turnout was encouraging.
“Election day proceeded in an atmosphere of relative peace and calm, and we observed that the turnout of many voters, especially women and youth, is testimony to the desire of all Zimbabweans to make their voices heard and contribute to the country’s ongoing democratic consolidation. We commend the people of Zimbabwe for the enthusiasm and largely peaceful approach in the exercise of their franchise,” reads the report.