Commonwealth Observers release Interim Statement on Zimbabwe elections

26 August 2023
Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Zimbabwe 2023 elections, Ambassador Amina Mohamed

Assessment of voting process is that it was well conducted and peaceful, however, the group raised a number of issues that could impact on the credibility, transparency and inclusivity of the process

The Commonwealth Observer Group to the 2023 Zimbabwe Harmonised Elections has issued its Interim Statement at a press conference in Harare. It follows elections in the country on 23 and 24 August.

Ambassador Amina Mohamed, the Group’s Chair, praised Zimbabweans for their enthusiasm and largely peaceful approach in the run-up to and on election days. Voting was extended by one day due to the late arrival of ballot papers in the major urban areas of Harare and Bulawayo. 

She added:

“We are here as friends of Zimbabwe, and it is my hope that our presence affirms the unwavering support of the Commonwealth family to this country as it seeks to consolidate its democratic values.”

The Group was invited to observe elections by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This was the second successive Commonwealth Observer Group to Zimbabwe’s elections since the country left the Commonwealth in December 2003.

In its statement, the Group offered several preliminary recommendations, including for equitable media coverage of all political actors and greater information-sharing by institutions and stakeholders to improve transparency and trust. They added that a combination of legislative and administrative reforms would improve the performance of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The Group commended election officials and party agents for their resilience and professionalism at polling stations despite some working for more than 24 hours.

Ambassador Mohamed added:

“I laud the commitment of all Zimbabweans to ensuring that Election Day proceeded largely peacefully and urge all political parties and their supporters to honour this pledge in the coming days and to use available legal means for conflict resolution.”

The Group will submit a final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, which will be subsequently shared with relevant stakeholders and made publicly available. 

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  • Victoria Holdsworth  Communications and Media Liaison Lead, Commonwealth Secretariat
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