U.S. observers: Zimbabwe has no democratic culture where citizens can vote freely

August 26, 2018

 

Supporters of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party react to the results of a constitutional court hearing challenging his electoral victory in Harare, Zimbabwe August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

 

HARARE (Reuters) – U.S. election observers said Zimbabwe lacked a “tolerant democratic culture” in which political parties were treated equally and citizens were allowed to vote freely.

The International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute released their critical joint statement hours before President Emmerson Mnangagwa was due to take the oath of office on Sunday following Zimbabwe’s July 30 election.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has rejected the ruling of the Constitutional Court that confirmed Mnangagwa as president after a vote that had been touted as a crucial step towards shedding Zimbabwe’s pariah reputation and securing international donor funding to revive the economy.

The U.S. observers also said in their statement that Zimbabwe’s security forces must refrain from use of excessive force during this politically sensitive period.

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