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HomeElections 2023Mnangagwa’s Legitimacy Under Threat After Shoddy Polls

Mnangagwa’s Legitimacy Under Threat After Shoddy Polls

The Carter Center, an international organization that monitors elections, has released its preliminary assessment of the August 23 general elections in Zimbabwe, saying they were held in a restrictive and unfair political environment that undermined their legitimacy.

The Center said the electoral process failed to meet Zimbabwe’s regional and international obligations for democratic and inclusive elections, as the contestants faced an uneven playing field and the voters were not able to freely express their will.

According to the Center, its observers witnessed several problems on voting day, such as long delays due to ballot shortages in some areas, lack of access to critical election information, and possible breaches of the secrecy of the vote in rural areas where assisted voting was prevalent.

The Center also condemned the raid and shutdown of two independent civil society groups, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network and the Election Resource Center, by the authorities on election night, calling it a violation of their political rights and urging the government to drop all charges against them.

The election results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on August 26 showed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa won 52.6% of the vote, while his main rival Nelson Chamisa got 44%. Chamisa has rejected the results and vowed to challenge them in court.

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The results for the parliamentary and local council elections were also declared by the ZEC at the local level, but technical glitches made its website inaccessible to the public for a long time.

The Center emphasized that in order to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election process, the ZEC should publish detailed results at the polling station level as soon as possible, so that political parties and observers can verify them against their own records, following international best practices.

The Center said it will continue to observe the post-election developments and issue a final report with recommendations in due course.

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