By Daniel Chigundu
European Union Election Observer Mission says the electoral reforms needed to make elections credible are purely the responsibility of the country and its citizens.
Zimbabwe has generally held disputed elections since 2000 although the July 2018 polls were regarded to be a step in the right direction though with a lot of room for improvement.
Speaking during a meeting with the Parliamentary Legal Committee, EU Mission deputy chief election observer Mark Stevens said in as much as they have brought forward the various recommendations, the process of reforms lies with Zimbabwe.
“Our job is to leave a constructive footprint for the future otherwise there is no value to observation; also what I think is a right balanced perspective and impartial perspective which include positive features and also critical features.
“We highlight the critical features not just to highlight critical features but try and be honest and then move forward but as I stressed earlier it’s very much a Zimbabwean process and it’s a discussion about how you foresee change and what change you think is appropriate for Zimbabwe but it is aspiration to try and move forward,” he said.
Stevens added that the recommendations in their final report are also reflective of what various stakeholders in Zimbabwe are discussing and thinking about with regards to elections.
“We tried to discuss these recommendations with quite a broad range of stakeholders to try and get a sense of what is already being discussed in Zimbabwe what the different stakeholder what to see changed.
“So we tried to bring together our ideas for these on-going processes so you will see a number of recommendations there are in a way encouraging processes which are already on-going or already under discussion like the depolarisation of the media sector, like further improvement of voter registration which is already a massive change up to these elections so we seek to encourage national processes in this regards,” he said.
The observer mission also revealed that it was confused by how the media reported on its final election report and urged the committee to read the report for themselves to get a clear understanding of the recommendations and areas of possible change.
“So am happy to hand the report over to you, I take on board your comments that snippets of it are out in the media, but I have been a little bit confused by media reporting of it, to be frank, and I would urge that you read the report.
“I think different media houses reported what they wanted to say and not necessarily what we said or how we said it because we tried to give a very balanced view and that is why we are happy to hand you over this report,” he said.
In Zimbabwe, the public media is usually biased towards the ruling party while the private media somehow favours the opposition.