The Carter Center has released the final report from its international election observation mission to Zimbabwe on 23 August 2023. The report, which was released on 12 February 2024, concluded that the overall electoral process did not meet Zimbabwe’s regional and international commitments.
The Carter Center said the election took place in a restricted political environment with an unlevel playing field which prevented the expression of the will of Zimbabweans.
It said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) lacked independence and transparency, undermining the credibility of the process. ZEC failed to avail critical election information, including the final voters’ roll and list of polling stations to stakeholders.
According to the Carter Center, only a few electoral reforms were enacted before the election, while laws restricting freedoms of speech, movement, and association increased political tensions and polarization among the electorate and intimidated civil society groups leading up to election day.
It noted that despite election day being largely peaceful and administered well by polling officers, extensive voting delays caused by ballot shortages in several constituencies, including in some urban wards considered to be opposition strongholds, likely affected voter turnout.
In the report, the Carter Center offers recommendations to the Zimbabwean government to help bring its electoral processes closer in line with international standards for democratic elections.
These include the removal of repressive laws such as the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act and the Patriotic Act, as well as the Private Voluntary Organisations legislation.