The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Friday said massive irregularities and poor administration marred Zimbabwe’s elections held on Aug. 23.
Sharing a preliminary report on the polls in Zimbabwe with the media in Harare today, SADC’s mission chairperson from neighboring Zambia, Nevers Mumba, said the mission noted that some aspects of the elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act, and the SADC guidelines.
Mumba singled out the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) which he said was supported by the dreaded Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) in intimidating voters.
He also pointed out the blatant violation of basic human rights, including “curbs on freedom of assembly, a ban on opposition rallies and judicial capture.”
Mumba, who was of late scolded by Zimbabwean Presidential spokesperson George Charamba for getting too close to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, lambasted Zimbabwe’s newly enacted Patriotic Act, blaming the law for infringing upon freedom of expression.
The SADC report, which Mumba read out to the media, also said news coverage of Zimbabwe’s polls by state-run broadcasters and publications was tilted in favor of the ruling Zanu-PF unlike in the last 2018 elections.
On Aug. 23, Zimbabweans cast their votes in the second election after the 2017 coup that deposed the late longtime President Robert Mugabe.
The election is viewed as crucial as incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seeking his second term, is vying against the main opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition For Change (CCC) party, and other opposition candidates.
This election will also determine the new makeup of the 350-seat parliament and more than 1,900 local council positions.
Voting was delayed at most polling stations in the capital Harare as certain voting materials such as indelible ink and council ballot papers were not in place.