The World Liberty Congress condemns the blatant theft of the recent Zimbabwean elections by the ruling party, ZANU-PF. The August 2023 elections not only featured unfair obstacles for the mobilization, registration, and promotion of opposition parties and candidates, but also resulted in the alteration of results after the polls had closed. It is critical that in the days and weeks that follow, the international community condemns the elections as a sham, and provides the support necessary for the holding of credible elections. The people of Zimbabwe have the right to participate freely in the political future of their nation, as is enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution.
The list of irregularities and violations of electoral integrity is both extensive and flagrant in nature. On the eve of the election, 41 staff members from two independent civil society organizations tasked with monitoring the election results were arrested, charged with “subversive and criminal activities.” Furthermore, more than 140 rallies of the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), were banned, and opposition parties and their supporters have consistently dealt with threats and intimidation. In opposition strongholds, shady characters were taking down names of those who voted for the opposition. From the beginning, the ruling regime took steps to undermine the integrity of the elections in a premeditated and sinister manner.
Political dissidents in Zimbabwe are well acquainted with the harsh repression of the ruling party. Opposition leaders, such as Job Sikhala of the CCC, are currently sitting in prison facing trumped-up charges. On the street level, citizens who express support for the opposition are also faced with credible threats of violence. Just before the election, Tinashe Chitsunge, an opposition supporter, was stoned to death by men associated with ZANU-PF.
Not for the first time, ZANU-PF has cast aside democratic institutions in order to preserve its power. All international electoral observation missions concluded that the elections did not meet regional or international standards. These include the SADC Election Observation Mission, the African Union Election Observation Mission, the European Union Election Observation Mission, the Carter Center and the Commonwealth.
The WLC stands with the people of Zimbabwe and calls on all relevant international bodies and governments to condemn this overt attempt to rob Zimbabweans of their political rights. The SADC and the African Union should mediate with the Mnangagwa regime to facilitate a new election under a fair and credible environment. This moment is of utmost importance for the future of democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe. If Emmerson Mnangagwa is allowed to steal an election with impunity, it will represent a fatal blow to any remnants of democracy and institutionality in the country, and result in further consolidation of authoritarianism.