Commonwealth commends ‘peaceful’ Zim poll

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Harare (New Ziana) – The Commonwealth election observer mission on Friday said this week’s general elections were held in a peaceful and orderly atmosphere.
In a preliminary report on the polls, mission chairperson Amina Mohamed said conditions for the conduct of a credible election had been put in place inspite of the late delivery of ballot papers experienced in some areas.
Voting in parts of three provinces was delayed because of the late delivery of ballot papers, but government extended the polling period in the affected areas to compensate for lost time.
“The atmosphere was peaceful, the conditions were in place for a credible election. Election Day proceeded in an atmosphere of relative peace and calm, and we observed that the turnout of many voters, especially women and youth, is testimony to the desire of all Zimbabweans to make their voices heard and contribute to the country’s ongoing democratic consolidation,” Mohamed said.
“We commend the people of Zimbabwe for the enthusiasm and largely peaceful approach in the exercise of their franchise,” she said.
Mohamed said the high voter turnouts, especially of women and youths, was particularly impressing.
“I was completely impressed by the number of Zimbabweans that came out to vote. All of us need to congratulate the people of this country for coming out in such large numbers, for being patient and waiting for many hours to cast their vote and their belief in the democratic process that their country is going through,” she said.
But she said the mission had noted some shortcomings in the organisation and management of the election that needed addressing.
“In conclusion, our overall assessment of the voting process is that it was well conducted and peaceful. However, there exist a number of significant issues that impact on the credibility, transparency and inclusivity of the process,” she said.
“It has been an honour for us to be a part of this important process. As we already noted, this is a critical moment for the people of Zimbabwe. Elections are an opportunity for you to choose your leaders, but to do so in a peaceful environment, in which the rights of all citizens are respected, and the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and other key participants in the electoral process, is respected and supported,” Mohamed said.
New Ziana

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