Controversy Erupts: Zimbabwe elections declared unfree and unfair

ZEC boss Justice Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has come under fire from opposition parties, as the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) joins the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in criticizing the commission for its handling of the recently concluded harmonized elections.

UZA, led by presidential candidate Elisabeth Valerio, issued a statement on Monday, highlighting various issues that marred the electoral process, including significant delays in delivering ballot papers to certain polling stations and instances of politically motivated violence.

In the election results, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner with 52.6 percent of the vote, while CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, his closest rival, secured 44 percent of the national vote. Zanu PF maintained its parliamentary majority with 136 seats, while CCC won 73 seats.

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Elvis Dzvene, spokesperson for UZA, voiced concerns over the unclear printing on the presidential ballot paper, alleging that it disadvantaged their candidate, who received 6,989 votes. Dzvene pointed out that Mnangagwa’s image was clearer on the ballot paper, raising suspicions of bias.

Dzvene further expressed disappointment with ZEC’s failure to provide local authority ballot papers on time, despite earlier assurances. This delay potentially contributed to voter apathy, as citizens at affected polling stations were forced to vote at night without adequate lighting, posing safety concerns.

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UZA also raised issues regarding voters being disenfranchised due to missing names on the voters’ roll and the unprofessional conduct of some polling officers, which resulted in voting delays.

Dzvene criticized the involvement of Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ), alleging their affiliation with Zanu PF, and accused them of engaging in voter intimidation tactics that undermined the credibility of the election.

Additionally, Dzvene mentioned politically motivated violence and the presence of exit poll survey desks near polling stations adorned with Zanu PF symbols, which caused intimidation among voters and questioned the fairness of the election.

The CCC has previously expressed dissatisfaction with the election process, a sentiment echoed by international election observer missions.

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