Poll observers from a regional southern African bloc SADC on Friday said Zimbabwe’s tense presidential and legislative elections did not conform to democratic principles.
“The mission observed that the pre-election and voting phases… were peaceful and calm however… (it) noted that some aspects of the harmonised election fell short of the requirements of the constitution of Zimbabwe, the electoral act and the SADC principals and guidelines governing democratic elections,” said head of the delegation Nevers Mumba.
The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) cited cancellation of opposition rallies and alleged voter intimidation among some of the issues that sullied the election.
The poll is being watched across southern Africa as a test of support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party, whose 43-year rule has been battered by a moribund economy and charges of authoritarianism
The election was forced to stretch into an unprecedented second day over delays in printing of ballot papers in some key districts including in the opposition strongholds Harare and Bulawayo.
The largest opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), which poses the biggest challenge to Mnangagwa, lashed the electoral process as “fundamentally flawed”.