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US: Zimbabwe’s presidential election falls short of regional, international standards for credibility



The United States is firmly committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe in their quest to freely and fairly choose their leaders through transparent elections. We applaud those who peacefully exercised their right to vote.

However, we must acknowledge that there are significant concerns raised by multiple observation missions regarding the recent presidential election in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) has announced the results, but these concerns persist.

Both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and various international electoral observation missions have pointed out issues related to transparency, independence, fairness, and overall credibility throughout 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. On August 23 the government arrested staff from respected civil society organizations engaged in lawful election observation in accordance with the Electoral Act.

These arrests prevented efforts to independently verify ZEC’s announced results, a fundamental component of democratic processes in the region and around the world. Furthermore, threats directed against members of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission are dangerous, and we call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to cease these inflammatory and unacceptable attacks.

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.

There is much at stake for the people of Zimbabwe and the region. We urge all Zimbabweans to remain peaceful and pursue grievances through established legal channels.