Zimbabwe elections marred by irregularities
OSLO, Norway, August 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- “Norway is pleased that the elections in Zimbabwe passed off peacefully, in contrast to the previous elections in 2008. This is a step in the right direction. But unfortunately there are clear indications that these elections were marred by so many irregularities that they cannot be called open and fair,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Zimbabwe on 31 July. The results were announced yesterday. According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, current President Robert Mugabe (ZANU-PF) received 61 % of the votes in the presidential election, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) received 34 %. In the parliamentary election, ZANU-PF is reported to have won 196 of 270 seats.
Election observers from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have identified a number of serious flaws. The voters' roll was not made public before the election, many people in the cities were not able to register and on election day many were turned away, which could indicate that the electoral roll was incorrect. Some 35 % more ballot papers were printed than there were voters. Contrary to the law, there was a persistent pro- ZANU-PF bias in the state media.
“After many years of insecurity and poverty, the people of Zimbabwe deserve a better life. Unfortunately, these election flaws make it difficult to view the election results as an expression of the will of the people,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.
The African election observers have not yet published their final report. The opposition MDC-T will consider whether to take legal action and demand new elections.
“We are now awaiting the outcome of these processes, which will also affect Norway's relations with Zimbabwe in the years ahead. It is very important for Norway that countries we cooperate with show a genuine willingness to promote democracy and human rights,” Mr Eide said.