The Sunday Mail
The outcome of the 2018 Presidential election will be announced within the prescribed five-day period, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission adopted measures to expedite transmission of results from polling stations to the National Results Centre.
While every polling station will publicly display its returns, the law says the collated results of the Presidential poll can only be announced at national level by the chief elections officer.
Result forms, Zec says, will be transmitted directly from district command centres to the National Results Centre.
Previously, results went through the ward, constituency, district and provincial command centres before being transmitted to the National Results Centre for collation and subsequent announcement.
The new arrangement is envisaged to ensure that results are announced timeously.
Zec acting chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana told The Sunday Mail that, “The Presidential result is slightly different from the others because in terms of the law, the ward and the constituency results should be announced as soon as possible, but it is only for the Presidential election that it says must be announced within five days.
“So, if election takes place on the 30th, as is going to happen, by the 5th day, which is on the 4th of August, the Presidential election results must be announced.
“But let me also say this because it is important for us citizens to know: five days is not a lot of time because we are using the polling station and the ward result to announce the result for the Presidential election, so it means even a polling station that is in the Zambezi Valley must count before the result is announced in full.
“But to further quicken the process, we said from the polling station, the results are taken to the ward election officer and once he finishes collating the results for the Presidential election, the ward election officer will straightaway — instead of going via the constituency command centre — transmit the results straight to the district elections officer, who will straightaway come here to the National Results Centre for collation.”
Because there are 23 candidates contesting in the Presidential election, Zec has cautioned that this process might take some time.
Results for National Assembly and local authority elections will go through ward, district and then provincial centres. For proportional representation seats, Mr Silaigwana explained, results would be calculated at provincial level using returns from National Assembly elections.
Before opening the polling station, the presiding officer will declare the number of ballot papers available and their serial numbers.
Agents from all participating political parties will be involved in the entire process. Agents are allowed to ask for a recount at the polling station where they suspect counting anomalies.
“Once voting takes place, the presiding officer, together with the election agents from the various parties from various candidates, will do what we call verification.
“Our citizens must now know that soon after 7pm, where there is no one in the queue, the presiding officer will seal the ballot boxes so that there is no other material that will go in,” said Mr Silaigwana.
Once the parties finish the ballot paper account, the presiding officer will open ballot boxes to begin the counting process.
After counting has been completed, results will be given to agents from all political parties.