The US Embassy in Zimbabwe their latest comments made on the 29th August 2023 make interesting reading (click here) with respect to Free and Fair elections, which we see did NOT occur in Zimbabwe.

"For example, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other international electoral observation missions cited problems with transparency, independence, fairness, and credibility at all stages of the electoral process. The United States notes in particular the systemic bias against political opposition during the pre-election period and reports from respected civil society groups that ZEC officials pressured election observers to sign altered polling station result forms. We call on the ZEC to make the disaggregated polling station results publicly available to increase confidence in the result tabulation process."

"We also strongly condemn the intimidation and disruption of lawful election observers throughout the electoral period."

"These actions belie President Mnangagwa’s repeated pledges to respect rule of law, transparency, and accountability. The United States is engaging regional leaders to share our concerns, including what this means for the international community’s nascent efforts to reengage the Zimbabwean government."

The Commonwealth Commission

Read or download the Commonwealth Statement Here 

Thank you for coming to this Commonwealth Observer Group Press Conference. I will present the interim observations of the Commonwealth Observer Group on the electoral process thus far, noting that the tallying process is still ongoing. The final report, setting out our full findings on the entire process and our recommendations, will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General in due course.

Prior to election day, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had provided various assurances of its preparedness and readiness to conduct the elections as scheduled. However, on election day the late opening of polls due to the late arrival of ballot papers in the major urban areas of Harare and Bulawayo, raised concerns and heightened tensions, noting that these areas represent a significant proportion of the overall population. While we note ZEC’s explanation regarding challenges with logistics and the impact of late court cases, we would welcome a more detailed explanation from ZEC in the coming days, and we will reflect further on this matter in our final report.

We observed, and received various reports, that an NGO called Forever Associate Zimbabwe (FAZ), had set up ‘exit poll survey’ tables in close proximity to polling stations, with governing party regalia. From our briefings with other civil society organisations and stakeholders, it was made clear that exit polling is currently not permitted within the legal framework of Zimbabwe.

International Press Coverage

  • The SADC observers said although the electoral environment was largely peaceful, the polls failed a credibility test. The EU observer mission said the election took place in a climate of “fear”.
  • Thousands of Zimbabweans waited on voting day for more than 12 hours in queues as the electoral commission failed to deliver ballot papers on time. Mnangagwa was forced to extend voting by another day.
  • Without disclosing his next course of action, Chamisa said his party had evidence that it won the presidential vote.
  • He accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of failing to run the polls and announcing the wrong result.

On Friday, Alexander Rusero, a politics professor at Africa University in Zimbabwe, welcomed the SADC report on the elections.

  • “Unfortunately, I do not think ZANU-PF is being advised appropriately,” Rusero said.
  • “There was no way this election was going to be 100% perfect given the irregularities,” he said. “What is important is to celebrate, to say, in spite of all those irregularities, there are still certain positives. … Unfortunately, government strategic department is doing a disservice to the republic of Zimbabwe.”
  • In the election, President Mnangagwa is seeking a second term, running against 10 candidates, including the main contender, Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change.
  • Voting was extended to a second day Thursday after election day was marred by polling station delays and shortages of ballots in opposition strongholds Bulawayo and Harare.
  • There has been a heavy police presence in Harare since Friday night, ahead of the release of official presidential election results, expected by Monday.