As Zimbabweans brace for the potentially explosive 2023 harmonized elections, the United States of America has called upon the Harare administration to ensure that they commit to a level playing field through the application of ‘laws to all candidates and parties, and guarantee public media gives nationwide, equal, non-partisan airtime for all candidates during the election period’.
The US said Zimbabwe must hold an election widely accepted as free and fair by independent international monitors, and that it sufficiently improves the pre-election environment in the broader pursuit of ensuring that it is consistent with global standards ahead of next year’s elections.
In a statement released this Wednesday morning, the US Embassy in Harare also called upon the poll-governing Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), to timeously release a verifiable voters roll in a bid to achieve credibility.
On the issue of the recently held by-elections, the US ‘commended’ all stakeholders who played a role in the polls, but expressed concern over the ‘harsh rhetoric, intimidation, and violent assaults in the lead-up to election day.’
Said the embassy on social media:
“We commend all the volunteers, observers, party agents, polling agents, police officers, and voters who made March 26 by-elections happen and took their time to invest in Zimbabwe’s democracy. We appreciated the opportunity to observe by-elections, but remain very concerned about harsh rhetoric, intimidation, and violent assaults in the lead-up to election day. Voters have the right to participate in political processes free from fear & violence. #VotesWithoutViolence
“ZDERA requires Zimbabwe to hold an election “widely accepted as free and fair by independent international monitors,” and to sufficiently improve the pre-election environment to be consistent with international standards.
“To achieve this… We urge ZEC to publicly release an auditable electronic voters’ roll far in advance of 2023 elections so citizens can help to strengthen the credibility of the voters’ roll and reduce the numbers of potential voters turned away from polling stations #FairPlay ”
“To achieve this… Zimbabwe’s government must commit to a level playing field, apply laws to all candidates and parties, and guarantee public media gives nationwide, equal, non-partisan airtime for all candidates during the election period. #FairPlay“