Zimbabwe congratulated on holding peaceful elections

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Zimbabwe

The African Union (AU) and other regional bodies on the continent on Friday commended Zimbabwe for holding a peaceful election.

In separate preliminary statements following this week’s general elections, observer missions from the AU, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) hailed the peaceful environment that characterized the pre-election period and voting day.

Zimbabweans voted on Wednesday to choose a president, new members of parliament and representatives of local governments. Voting was extended to Thursday in some parts of the country, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo, due to logistical challenges.

“The AU-COMESA EOM (Elections Observer Mission) observed that the 2023 harmonized elections were conducted up to the counting process, in a generally peaceful and transparent manner despite logistical challenges with the availability and distribution of local authority ballot papers in some areas,” said Goodluck Jonathan, head of the joint AU-COMESA election observation mission. “The AU-COMESA EOM commends the people of Zimbabwe for their patience, resilience, and commitment to express their will at the polls.”

“As the country awaits the announcement of results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the mission urges all stakeholders to remain committed to the rule of law and democratic principles until the conclusion of the process,” he said.

Jonathan said the mission is continuing to observe the tallying process and will issue a comprehensive report within two months.

Nevers Mumba, head of the SADC EOM, said the mission observed that the pre-election and voting days were peaceful and calm. “The mission commends the people of Zimbabwe for maintaining a peaceful political environment during the pre-election period and on voting day.”

He said the mission will release its final report after the validation and proclamation of final results, adding that the SADC long-term observers will remain on the ground to continue with the post-election observation until Sept. 1.

In the event of any electoral disputes, the mission appeals to all contestants to channel their concerns through established legal procedures and processes, Mumba said. “The mission urges all political parties and the people of Zimbabwe, and all other stakeholders to allow the ZEC to announce the final results as legally mandated.”

Despite the challenges related to the delayed opening of polling stations, polling generally took place in a peaceful and secure environment, said Mphasa Mokhochane, head of the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (ECF-SADC), in a preliminary statement.

The ECF-SADC is an independent regional organization of election management bodies of SADC member states.

“The mission congratulates the people of Zimbabwe on the manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the electoral period, despite the logistical challenges experienced during the process,” Mokhochane said.

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