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MDC Alliance preparing court papers to force release of election results

This is despite the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) indicating that it will begin announcing preliminary results on Tuesday afternoon.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) released its preliminary findings in Harare on the country’s elections on Tuesday 31 July 2018. Picture: Masechaba Sefularo/EWN

HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance in Zimbabwe says it is preparing court papers to force the country's electoral commission to release the results of the election.

This is despite the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) indicating that it will begin announcing preliminary results on Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has released its preliminary findings in Harare on the elections.

It's reflected some concerns around the independence of ZEC which has been the subject of criticism from the opposition.

Over 6,000 observers from the network were deployed across the country to oversee the elections which took place on Monday.

ZESN chairperson Andrew Makoni has touched on complaints around the ballot paper which were previously raised by the MDC alliance.

“Concerns remain about the independence of ZEC amid executive interference in key electoral processes. Concerns were raised by electoral stakeholders with regards to the design, printing and dispatch of the ballot paper which was done without consultation.”

Makoni says ZEC did not permit the observation of the production of the ballot papers, among other concerning trends.

ZESN has also noted poor communication with stakeholders and the public. It’s also noted the skewed coverage of political parties by state media, which it says the ZEC made no attempt to regulate.

IMPROVED VOTERS' ROLL

The network says it also noted some improvements in the compilation of the voters' roll.

ZESN has welcomed the introduction of the biometric voter registration system which improved accuracy in capturing voter details.

Makoni says the introduction of the biometric voters' roll brought about two significant changes compared to the 2013 elections.

“ZESN analysis shows that approximately 2.7 million registrants in the 2013 preliminary voters' roll are not on 2018 [voters’ roll]. Secondly, the collection of biometric information would have made it earlier to remove duplicate registrants.”

He says while ZESN found the current roll to be an improvement from the last elections, ZEC failed to avail the preliminary roll or the exclusion list before 25 July when it was too late for it to be analysed efficiently.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS TO BE ANNOUNCED

Zimbabweans are waiting for a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon where some results are expected to be released from the country's election.

Earlier, election observers said the poll was too close to call.

ZESN says there is a likelihood that the number of women in the national assembly will decrease following the election.

The network says it has noted that the electoral act is “silent” on the matter of women being equally represented in politics.

Makoni says hate speech towards women candidates on social media could also have contributed to a declining number.

“There were 1,648 candidates vying for the national assembly and only 237 of them were women so we are likely to see an even lower number of representation of women in the national assembly.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)