To shouts of disbelief at a news conference, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chief Elections Officer Lovemore Sekeramayi said the delay was caused by results that were still to arrive from some constituencies.Â The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would like to advise the nation that it is currently receiving the presidential results from the various provinces, Sekeramayi said amid jeers. The verification and collation of these results will commence, in the presence of all the candidates or their national chief election agents, once all the results have been announced.Before Sekeramayi spoke, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena issued a grave appeal for calm and warned against spreading false rumours.
For those who do not accept the verdict, law enforcement agencies of the police will ensure that the people are forced to accept the outcome of the status quo, he said. It is my appeal that everyone should be level-headed and should be mindful that as a country we need law and order and security of our country and citizens.Election officials had said on Sunday after the polls closed that the first results would be ready around midday on Monday.The delay increased suspense around the country where many Zimbabweans were glued to radios awaiting the result of the most important presidential election in the country’s independent history.Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights head, Arnold Tsunga, said failure by the ZEC to provide clear and acceptable information to the public about the reason for the inordinate delay in declaring the winning presidential candidate had caused much anxiety and anguish in the population.
ZEC must be prepared to take responsibility should their conduct result or contribute to predictable polarisation and public stress that provides a basis for potential widespread violations for human rights, Tsunga, an award-winning human rights lawyer, said.The Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a network of civil society, church based and political parties, said the ZEC must be held accountable for any disturbances that may occur as a result of this delay.Sekeramayi however urged the nation to remain patient as we go through this meticulous verification process.But Tsunga said ZEC was breaking the law and said in terms of the Electoral Act as amended, winning candidates for the House of Assembly and the Senate were supposed to be collated and declared at the House of Assembly collation centres, or constituency centres, and the Senatorial collation centres respectively.These must subsequently be published but do not, by law, have to be publicly announced as is currently being done by ZEC, he said. The only results which are verified and collated at the National Collation Centre are those for the presidential election. These are then announced by the chief elections officer, he clarified.
Audience jeers ZEC's excuses for delay
Election officials said on Thursday that a huge turn-out had seriously delayed the start of counting for presidential elections.