AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - Outgoing President confirmed in office: opposition complains about election fraud and calls for new elections

Friday, 1 September 2023 elections   demonstrations   bishops  

Harare (Agenzia Fides) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party has called for nationwide protests today, September 1st, demanding a repeat of the recent elections which they believe allowed President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be "fraudulently" elected to a second term (see Fides, 29/8/2023).
The day before the Citizens' Coalition for Change (CCC) appeal came a day after Mnangagwa reiterated that the election was valid and warned there would be a crackdown on anyone who spreads chaos.
The Electoral Commission announced on Saturday evening that Mnangagwa had received around 53% of the vote, while CCC leader Nelson Chamisa was second with 44%. Mnangagwa's ruling party, ZANU-PF, was declared the winner of the parliamentary elections, but just missed the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Zimbabwe, meanwhile, in a statement stressed that the elections took place in a peaceful atmosphere, but at the same time pointed out several difficulties in the electoral processes, which have already been identified by the Justice and Peace Commission, which comprises a total of 1,500 election observers provided
(see Fides, 24/8/2023). The commission complained about delays in the opening of several polling stations, a lack of voting materials (ballots, pencils, stamps), intimidation of voters by people wearing T-shirts with a party logo at some polling stations, and voters unable to vote because their name was
missing from the electoral rolls.
"These omissions will certainly lead to electoral disputes," warn the bishops, who are calling on the Electoral Commission (ZEC) to "hold the nation accountable for the delays and omissions in obtaining election materials and the missing names on the electoral roll."
In this context, the bishops call on political parties to resolve electoral disputes through legal channels and to avoid hate speech, and on all to avoid violence. The government asks the bishops not to prevent peaceful demonstrations, which are guaranteed by the constitution. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 1/9/2023)