African Union and SADC endorse Zim elections

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By Staff Reporter

RIOTS erupted in Harare Wednesday as MDC Alliance supporters protested at against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) which they accused of rigging the July 30 elections in favor of Zanu PF.

At last count, Zanu PF had won 144 parliamentary constituencies or of 207 with the main opposition MDC Alliance winning 61 seats.

After confirmation of the landslide win for the ruling party, MDC Alliance supporters were involved in running battles with the police, who used tear gas and water cannon to disperse them.

This came as both the African Union and SADC observer missions endorsed the polls as generally free, fair and credible.

“The 2018 election is an important moment in Zimbabwe’s democratic transition and provides an opportunity for the country to change course, in particular broadening the political space and allowing citizens to exercise their constitutional rights in a democratic way.

“By and large, the process was peaceful and well administered,” said AU Election Observer Mission head, Hailemariam Desalegn, a former Prime Minister Ethiopia.

Desalegn said there had been a marked improvement in the political space in Zimbabwe, with parties freely campaigning with no major incidents of violence.

He said the legal framework for the conducting of elections had also improved markedly with the coming in of a new constitution and legislation such as the Electoral Act.

“Despite these improvements, the legal framework contains several gaps for example various regulations and the Electoral Act aren’t properly aligned to the 2013 Constitution,” he said.

SADC Electoral Observer Mission delegation head, Manuel Domingo’s Augusto, also the Minister of External Relations for Angola, endorsed the elections, saying they had been held in terms of the country’s constitution.

“It is significant to note and appreciate therefore, that the SEAC and the Long-Term Observer Mission observed that there had been a remarkable transformation in the exercise and protection of civil and political rights in Zimbabwe compared to the 2008 presidential run off,” he said.

However, as the two observer missions endorsed the elections, MDC Alliance supporters were staging protests in Harare disputing the results.

Their main bone of contention was the presidential election results, which were yet to be announced.