The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has denied allegations of collaboration with Team Pachedu in collating and tabulating election results during the August 23 elections.
These allegations were raised in a report compiled by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) on the 2023 harmonized elections.
ZHRC’s report claimed that “thirty-nine CSO members from ZESN, ERC, and Team Pachedu were arrested for suspected collusion in collating and tabulating election results for the purpose of prematurely announcing election results.”
In a strongly worded statement, ZESN categorically refuted these allegations, asserting that it has never collaborated with Team Pachedu in any capacity.
“ZESN would like to categorically state that it does not and has never worked closely or collaborated with Team Pachedu to collate and tabulate results. ZESN partnered with the Election Resource Centre (ERC) as part of its mandate to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe through domestic oversight on all electoral processes such as voter registration, nomination, pre and post electoral environmentandpolling day processes among othersas provided for under Section 40 G (1) (d) of the Electoral Act,” the organisation stated.
The organisation underscored the specific provisions outlined in Section 40 G (1) (d), which empower accredited observers to provide the Commission with a comprehensive review of the election, taking into account various factors such as impartiality, freedom of political parties, fairness of access to media, and the proper conduct of polling and vote counting.
ZESN reiterated its commitment to upholding the principles of the Zimbabwean Constitution, the Electoral Act, the ZEC Code of Conduct for Observers, and its own values as an independent and non-partisan organization.
It further affirmed its adherence to the SADC Principles and Guidelines on the Conduct of Democratic Elections and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
Addressing the allegation of premature announcement of election results, ZESN categorically stated that it respects the Constitutional mandate of ZEC to declare election results, as outlined in Section 66 A of the Electoral Act.