EU gives ED wider win mar­gin

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Kuda Bwititi Chief Re­porter

THE Euro­pean Union Elec­tion Ob­server Mis­sion says its tab­u­la­tions show Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s July 31, 2018 elec­tion vic­tory mar­gin was ac­tu­ally wider than that an­nounced by the Zimbabwe Elec­toral Com­mis­sion if it is in­ter­preted as a per­cent­age of valid bal­lots cast.

It has also de­clared that the MDC-Al­liance’s elec­tion pe­ti­tion chal­leng­ing the Pres­i­den­tial poll out­come was patently weak as it pro­duced 47 V11 forms out of a pos­si­ble 11 000.

“In­trigu­ingly, the fig­ure of 50,8 per­cent of votes ini­tially an­nounced for the win­ning can­di­date, which is the most widely re­ported, ap­pears not to have been a per­cent­age of the to­tal num­ber of valid votes cast (if it is so, it should be 51,5 per­cent), but it is the re­spec­tive per­cent­age of the to­tal num­ber of votes cast (in­clud­ing in­valid votes),” said the mis­sion.

On the op­po­si­tion’s poll pe­ti­tion, the EU said: “De­spite the im­por­tant num­ber of pre-elec­tion court cases that chal­lenged cer­tain is­sues that the ap­pli­ca­tion al­leged amounted to con­sti­tu­tional and elec­toral law breaches, the found­ing af­fi­davit made lim­ited ref­er­ence to these.

“More­over, the ap­pli­ca­tion did not in­clude ev­i­dence for some of the aver­ments made, while among the sup­port­ing ev­i­dence only 47 V11 forms (out of a to­tal of some 11 000) were ad­duced.”

The mis­sion com­mended Zimbabwe’s peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment and po­lit­i­cal free­doms.

“The elec­tions were com­pet­i­tive, the cam­paign was largely peace­ful and, over­all, po­lit­i­cal free­doms dur­ing the pre-elec­tion cam­paign, in­clud­ing free­dom of move­ment, assem­bly and speech, were re­spected.

“Elec­tion Day passed peace­fully, was gen­er­ally well-man­aged and con­ducted mostly in an or­derly man­ner.”

The ob­servers noted that the 20 pe­ti­tions against Na­tional Assem­bly re­sults were “a re­mark­able de­crease in com­par­i­son to the num­ber of pe­ti­tions filed fol­low­ing the 2013 har­monised elec­tions”.

State­ments by MDC Al­liance leader Mr Nel­son Chamisa that the op­po­si­tion would only ac­cept a re­sult that de­clared him the win­ner caused un­cer­tainty among vot­ers, the EU said.

ZEC Chair Jus­tice Priscilla Chigumba was yes­ter­day un­avail­able to com­ment on the EU re­port.

But a top ZEC of­fi­cial said: “If they in­ter­pret the fig­ure as 51, 5 per­cent, they are well within their rights to do so. What is im­por­tant is that their fig­ure fur­ther con­firms that our dec­la­ra­tion was valid be­cause their po­si­tion is in line with the bench­mark of 50 plus one for the win­ner.

“In­ter­na­tional best prac­tices also stip­u­late that there can al­ways be a mar­gin of er­ror. How­ever, we still in­sist on our of­fi­cial fig­ure of 50,67 per­cent.” (Part of the re­portage for this ar­ti­cle was sup­ported by the Vol­un­tary Me­dia Coun­cil of Zimbabwe to in­ves­ti­gate the theme ‘‘The MDC-Al­liance rigged it­self in the 2018 har­monised elec­tions)

Pic­ture — Mem­ory Man­gombe

Chil­dren en­joy them­selves at Longchen Plaza Amuse­ment Park in Harare yes­ter­day.

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