2023 ELECTIONS: US govt speaks out – There’s much at stake for the people of Zimbabwe and the region

US President Joe Biden

The United States Department of State says it is engaging regional leaders to share its concerns over Zimbabwe’s discredited elections in what puts a damper on the country’s fragile re-engagement efforts with the superpower.

Incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner of last Wednesday’s poll with a 52,6 percent majority vote, enough to earn him his second term since toppling former President Robert Mugabe in a military assisted coup November 2017.

His close challenger Nelson Chamisa of CCC polled 44 percent.

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But local and international observers said in their reports that the poll did not meet the dictates of the national constitution and set regional and international standards governing the running of free and fair elections.

The US, which has kept tabs on Zimbabwe’s political processes for years, is keen to escalate the matter with Zimbabwe’s regional peers.

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Mathew Miller, the US department’s spokesman, noted that although the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) gave the poll a clean bill of health, this was largely contradicted by multiple observer missions that condemned the controversial poll for failure to pass the credibility test.

For that, the US will take up its concerns about the poll results with regional leaders, said Miller.

“The United States is engaging regional leaders to share our concerns, including what this means for the international community’s nascent efforts to reengage the Zimbabwean government.

“There is much at stake for the people of Zimbabwe and the region.

“We urge all Zimbabweans to remain peaceful and pursue grievances through established legal channels,” Miller said in a statement.

The US department of state also condemned attacks which were directed at SADC observers by the government and Zanu PF following the release of a damning report over the August 23 ballot.

“Furthermore, threats directed against members of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission are dangerous, and we call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to cease these inflammatory and unacceptable attacks.

“These actions belie President Mnangagwa’s repeated pledges to respect rule of law, transparency, and accountability,” said the department.

The United States also raised concerns over “systemic bias” over reports from Zimbabwe’s civil society groups that ZEC officials pressured election observers to sign altered polling station result forms.

“We call on the ZEC to make the disaggregated polling station results publicly available to increase confidence in the result tabulation process,” said the department while condemning the arrest of observers on the day of polling.

— ZimLive

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