Multi-stage monitoring and declaring elections ‘free and fair’: The June 2000 Zimbabwe election

This paper explores practices in and approaces to observing election and calling elections ‘free and fair’ in the context of the Zimbabwe parliamentary election of June 2000. The analysis incorporates considerations of the ‘politics of election observation’ and the ‘politics of calling elections’ and examines these factors in the context of the hosting country. The paper assesses prevailing theoretical approaches to the observation of elections, and notes the prevailing ‘three-phase’ orientation. In contrast with the literature, which generally proposes a three-phase approach, this analysis explores the usefulness of a six-phase approach to assess the depth of observation in Zimbabwe. The paper then deals with the issue of extent and depth of observation in the case of ZImbabwe 2000. The questions are asked whether observers covered all relevant phases of the election, thether they had adequate access to relevant information and events, and what reasons prevailed for widespread practices of limited observation. This part of the analysis presents the data that supports the theoretical arguements for a six-phase approach to election observation. Next, the paper asssesses the nature of the ‘election calls’ that the missions issued with regard to the 2000 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections. It informs the theoretical part of the analysis through its highlighitng of the extent to which the lack of systematic observation of pre- and post-election phases, and their incorporation into observer reports, would contribute to ensuring both the quality of subsequent elections, and the credibility of observation practice. The paper ends with a postscript, drawing tentative links between the observation trends of the June 2000 Parliamentary and the March 2002 presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: by elections, June 2002 Zimbabwe election, Multi-state monitoring
journal of african elections vol1 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa