from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – SOME civil society organizations whose equipment police seized after raiding their data centre failed to verify the results of the just-concluded Zimbabwe elections.
While staff of the Election Resource Centre (ERC) Africa and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) were released on bail this past weekend, the confiscated equipment was withheld.
Eventually, incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa was late on Saturday declared the winner of the divisive poll, securing a second five-year term at the helm of the country.
On election day, Wednesday, police had arrested the activists from the above civil society of organisations at a hotel in the capital, Harare, and alleged they were unlawfully tabulating election voting statistics and results from polling stations throughout the country.
Among the equipment confiscated include laptops, smartphones, smartwatches, modems, an external hard drive, printer and power backup unit.
“The security forces’ uncalled for and unjustified actions not only prevented an independent non-partisan verification of the official results as announced by the ZEC, but cast a shadow over the entire election process,” ERC and ZESN.
Results announced by the under-fire Zimbabwe Electoral Commission indicated Mnangagwa (80) secured 2,35 million votes (52,6 percent).
The candidate of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) was placed ahead of ten other candidates, including his main rival, Nelson Chamisa (45) of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), who polled over 1,967 million voted (44 percent).
CCC has rejected the results, adding to the apprehension in the southern African country that has a history of disputed election outcomes.
– CAJ News