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Zimbabwe: Sadc observer team hails vote recounts
Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2008

Herald Reporter
May 03, 2008
The Herald

THE Sadc Election Observer Mission says the verification and recounting process carried out in 23 constituencies last month was done transparently and in line with Zimbabwe's electoral laws.

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, the Sadc observer mission head, Angolan Minister of Youth and Sports Mr Jose Marcos Barrica, said their observers witnessed the recounting and verification process in all the 23 constituencies.

"The verification and recounting process started on the 19th of April 2008 in all 23 constituencies, having noted some delays on the opening hour of the operation in some of them," he said.

"The delay was attributed to various logistical handicaps, such as late arrival of some political party agents, identifying and sorting of ballot boxes. However, this did not compromise the process."

Mr Barrica said procedures for opening and sealing of ballot boxes were followed.

"All observers, political party agents and candidates witnessed the process and noted that the ballot boxes were not tampered with, the seals were still intact and corresponded with the serial numbers."

He said slight problems were observed regarding the confirmation of signatures and the originality of the seals but the issues were solved amicably.

Mr Barrica noted the process took 10 days instead of three as had earlier been projected.

"In each electoral constituency, the stakeholders authenticated the procedure by signing the respective check lists at the end of the process of verification and recounting (V11 and V23 forms)," he said.

He said the Sadc team noted "a relatively tense environment" in the country during the verification and recounting process.

These included inflammatory statements by some political leaders from both the ruling party and the opposition.

Mr Barrica said the existence of violence showed political intolerance in the country, which the Sadc team blamed on political leaders who contested the election.

"However, the mission would like to emphasise that despite the post-electoral prevailing crises in Zimbabwe, the situation remains under control of the authorities."

The observer mission appealed for peace and reconciliation in the country.

"The Sadc Electoral Observer Mission takes this opportunity to: appeal to the parties and contesting candidates to abandon (sic) from being egocentric and work for the good of the Zimbabwean nation, respecting the will of the people expressed in the ballot boxes," he said.

The observer mission said reconciliation "is an imperative in Zimbabwe".

Mr Barrica said any queries and concerns regarding the elections should be resolved according to the laws of the country.

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