In its final report on the July 30 elections, the European Union Election Observer Mission (EUEOM) said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) lacked full independence and appeared to not always act in an impartial manner.
EUEOM said ZEC’s independence was undermined by the Ministry of Justice under Ziyambi Ziyambi. Part of the report reads:
ZEC’s independence is, to some degree, undermined by the involvement of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in the approval of regulations adopted by the Commission. Further, the complaint that large numbers of ZEC staff are former security force personnel, and had been employed during previous contentious elections, was never fully clarified by the institution, raising concerns regarding ZEC’s independence and impartiality. Thus, doubts remained about its capacity to carry out its mandate without government and security force interference, as seen in past polls
EUEOM said the decision by ZEC to arrange the presidential ballot in two columns, and notably in a way which placed Mnangagwa at the top of the second column led to accusations that ZEC’s position on the matter was biased, as it appeared to give the incumbent president an undue advantage. EUEOM also recommends that:
- ZECs independence needs to be strengthened, free from governmental oversight in the approval of its regulations.
- ZEC must provide effective and timely information on all steps of the electoral preparations, making all information of public interest, including ZEC resolutions and verifiable polling station level results, immediately and easily accessible