The SADC observer mission has sharply criticised Zimbabwe’s election, saying parts of the poll fall short of regional and national standards.
Regional body SADC detailed some of the huge irregularities which include poor administration by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and intimidation of citizens by Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) backed Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ).
In a preliminary report released this Friday by the observer group, Dr Nevers Mumba, head of the mission, said while the lead-up to the poll had been peaceful, delays in the delivery of voting material on election day dented the credibility of the poll.
“The mission observed that the pre-election and voting phases of 23-24 August harmonised election were peaceful and calm. However, the mission noted that some aspects of the harmonised elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act and SADC principles governing democratic elections,” said Mumba.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) which shut down over a hundred Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) rallies and an MDC demonstration using the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA) was also accused of being selective in its application of justice.
According to the SADC report, coverage of the elections by state-run broadcasters and publications was skewed in favour of the ruling ZANU-PF, despite noting a few improvements from the last general poll in 2018.
“There were stakeholder concerns about the right to freedom of assembly for election campaign purposes, whereupon the CCC reported that their rallies were being subjected to unreasonable cancellation by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. We also noted reports that there was inconsistent application of the notice period for election campaign gatherings,” said Mumba.
Mumba said the rural vote could have been compromised by FAZ activities in the country’s outlying areas where villagers were intimidated and had their names and addresses recorded for a yet-to-be-ascertained reason.
The Presidential vote is yet to be announced by ZEC.