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United States Expresses Concern Over Alleged Alteration of Zimbabwe's Election Results Forms, SADC Attack

Matthew Miller
Matthew Miller

The United States says it is concerned about reports that some polling observers in Zimbabwe have been forced to sign altered election results forms amid a worldwide outcry over the manner the southern African nation conducted its August 23 general elections, widely condemned by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), European Union (EU) and other organizations.

Matthew Miller, U.S. Department of State spokesperson, said America is in the process of engaging regional leaders to share its concerns about the situation in the country.

Miller said, “Although the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) has announced results of the country’s recent presidential election, multiple observation missions have expressed deep concerns and stated that the country’s electoral process did not meet regional and international standards for credibility. For example, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other international electoral observation missions cited problems with transparency, independence, fairness, and credibility at all stages of the electoral process.”

He said U.S. has noted in particular the systemic bias against political opposition during the pre-election period and reports from “respected civil society groups that ZEC officials pressured election observers to sign altered polling station result forms.”

The electoral body has dismissed reports that some polling station results have been signed illegally, stressing that some Zimbabweans are circulating mere rumors on social media related to the country’s controversial elections.

But Miller urged ZEC to make the disaggregated polling station results publicly available to increase confidence in the result tabulation process.

“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.”

He strongly condemned the intimidation and disruption of lawful election observers throughout the electoral period.

The Zimbabwean government on August 23 arrested staff from several prominent civil society organizations, engaged in lawful election observation in accordance with the Electoral Act.

“These arrests prevented efforts to independently verify ZEC’s announced results, a fundamental component of democratic processes in the region and around the world. 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.”

George Charamba, presidential spokesperson, and Nick Mangwana, the country’s information secretary were unavailable for comment as they were not responding to calls on their mobile phones.

Charamba told VOA Zimbabwe is an exclusive interview Monday afternoon that there is no political crisis in Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa told reporters in Harare that he is happy about the outcome of the elections.

According to ZEC, he got 52.6% of the votes cast in the presidential election and his rival, Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change, received 44%. The opposition leader has already rejected the outcome of the presidential election, saying the results were manipulated by ZEC to benefit Zanu PF.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Chris Mutsvangwa, has dismissed these allegations as “baseless”.