ERC condemns harassment of observers

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) has condemned the harassment and intimidation of its accredited observers who observed the 23 and 24 August 2023 harmonised elections.

ERC and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) staff members and volunteers were arrested on allegations of congregating to collect and collate Zimbabwe’s 23 August poll in preparation for the unlawful announcement of the election outcome.

They were however released on US$200 bail with stringent reporting conditions which will see them reporting to the police thrice a week.  

They will be back in court on September 28 for their routine remand.

The ERC said its observers have been summoned to polling locations to sign “new” V11 results forms as there are errors on previous ones, and in other instances, they have been summoned to bring any phone used to communicate with ERC offices on election day.

The ERC said the intimidation of observers has had a detrimental effect on the freeness and fairness of the 2023 harmonised election.

“The ERC calls on all electoral stakeholders including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, to put a stop to the intimidation of election observers,” the ERC said in a statement.

The ERC added that there is no legal framework that enforces election observers to return and sign amended results sheets or return copies of results sheets outside of a court order mandating them to do so.

The ERC also said that two of its employees were tailed by unmarked cars from Rotten Raw Magistrate Court to their respective locations following the conclusion of the case of 35 ERC and ZESN employees and volunteers who were released on bail.

The ERC said the intimidation of its observers is a clear attempt to silence them and prevent them from carrying out their important work of observing elections and ensuring that they are free and fair.

The ERC called on all stakeholders to respect the work of election observers and to ensure that they are able to carry out their work without fear of intimidation.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button