Political parties and their members will be liable for criminal prosecution for pre-empting the official announcement of results of any national election, new poll regulations have revealed. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is the sole body mandated to run and announce poll results countrywide.
Regulations released last week also stipulate that before being nominated as a party candidate, a person would have to be certified by an officer whom a political party indicates to ZEC. This is expected to go a long way in curbing incidents where more than one candidate from one political party submit their names before the nomination court to stand for a particular constituency.
On the announcement of poll results before official declaration by ZEC, the Electoral Amendment Bill provides for a fine or imprisonment of up to six months or both.
The Bill is now expected to be tabled before Parliament for debate when it resumes sitting next week and will be passed with or without amendments.
“No office bearer or member of a political party shall purport to declare and announce the results of any election before it has been declared officially by an electoral officer,” read the regulations.
In the 2008 harmonised elections, MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti was arrested after he convened a Press conference where he announced that his party leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, had, according to their calculations, won the presidential election by more than the constitutional threshold that did not require a presidential run-off.
Full Article: Unofficial poll result announcers face jail.