US Embassy commends Zimbabweans for voting despite obstacles

The United States Embassy in Zimbabwe has commended the people of Zimbabwe for demonstrating patience, calm, and resilience while exercising their civic right to vote on August 23.

 The recently held election was marred by delays especially in Bulawayo, Harare and other parts of the country after the late distribution of ballot papers which delayed polling.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) acknowledged the late distribution of the ballot papers at some polling stations and blamed it on printing delays arising from numerous court challenges.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seeking a second term, used his presidential powers to extend voting to Thursday night at dozens of polling stations.

The embassy said in a statement, Friday, that it shares the deep concerns expressed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other international electoral observation missions about the electoral process in Zimbabwe.

SADC’s preliminary statement on August 25 said the elections “fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act, and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2021).”

The US Embassy said the electoral process was marred by delays, undue restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of expression, as well as reports of voter intimidation and the disenfranchisement of candidates, particularly women.

The embassy also expressed concern about the arrest of civil society members who were conducting lawful, non-partisan election observation work.

The embassy also called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to tabulate and announce results in a timely and transparent manner.

“We encourage all stakeholders to exercise similar patience and uphold a peaceful environment as we await ZEC’s announcement of official results, and to pursue any grievances through established legal channels,” the embassy said.

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