End of 2018 Harmonized Election Statement Delivered at Africa Synod House on 31 July 2018 at 10 am Zimbabwean Time.
We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) – Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) and Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) continued to observe Zimbabwe’s 2018 Harmonised Elections up to the end of counting of ballots.
ZCBC and IMBISA noted positive achievements in the conduct of the 2018 Harmonised Elections:
- The environment remained peaceful up to the close of the poll;
- Those still in the queue at the close of the polls were allowed to vote.
- Counting in most polling stations started immediately after the close of polls at 7pm according to the Electoral Act.
- The counting process proceeded peacefully throughout the night.
However, there are few concerns we identified in the observation process that improvement in our future electoral processes:
- Lighting remained a challenge in some polling stations throughout the voting process, especially in the morning and evening hours. Some voters had to shift a bit out of the polling booth for window lighting to identify their electoral choices.
- The pictures and names of contesting candidates on the ballot papers were too small and difficult to read. This is one reason why some voters took time in the polling booths. They struggled to identify their preferred candidates on the small pictures and prints.
- There was a significant number of assisted voters, especially in some rural and marginalised communities. This challenge calls for adequate and continuous voter and civic education in remote areas.
We are still waiting for reports from our observers throughout the country to make an overall verdict on whether the 2018 Harmonised Elections were free and fair. ZCBC and IMBISA will produce a comprehensive election report and share with everyone in due course. Let us remain peaceful and wait patiently for the final results which will be announced by ZEC.
Let us continue to pray for the Zimbabwe we all want.