Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
THE European Union (EU) yesterday released its final report on the July 30 harmonised elections, which largely regurgitated MDC-Alliance claims aimed at discrediting the widely hailed polls. Other international observers, among them the African Union and Sadc have endorsed the elections won by President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF as free, fair and credible, and a true reflection of the will of the people.
Zanu-PF trounced the MDC-Alliance, amassing 145 seats to the MDC-Alliance’s 63, with the Mugabe project, the National Patriotic Front (NPF) managing one seat and independent candidate Mr Temba Mliswa retaining his Norton seat in the 210-member National Assembly.
In the presidential contest, President Mnangagwa trounced MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa with 50,67 percent of the votes cast, to 44 percent.
Presenting the EU Election Observer Mission final report yesterday, deputy chief observer Mr Mark Stevens said the campaign period was largely peaceful, with freedoms of movement, assembly and expression respected, and both the main presidential candidates held numerous rallies across the country.
He, however, went on to regurgitate the MDC-Alliance claims, which included, but were not limited to layout of presidential ballot, modalities for printing and distributing ballots, alleged State media bias and conduct of postal voting.
The EU conceded that the 2018 election was conducted in an unprecedented level of freedom compared to previous elections, with voters actively participating in campaign, while civil society was free to engage without hindrance.
“The right to stand was provided for, the elections were competitive and political freedoms during the campaign were respected. On Election Day, voters enjoyed the right to vote and both campaign and Election Day were largely peaceful,” reads the report.
“The introduction of a number of legal and administrative changes was welcomed, including increasing the number of polling stations, limiting voters to voting only at registered station, and limiting the number of excess ballots to be printed.”
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Secretary Mr Ndavaningi Nick Mangwana yesterday said Government would comment after being presented with the report.
“We have not been presented with the report yet and we are meeting with that delegation on Friday. We do not have it (the report), so we cannot comment until we have been presented with it,” he said.
Zanu-PF secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said SADC and AU had endorsed the elections and he was no privy to the standards referred to by the EU Observer Mission.
“It is their opinion and it remains so. We are measured by Sadc and AU standards and we met those standards. The AU and Sadc said so. We cannot be measured by standards we know nothing about,” he said.