14 maart 2002
Zimbabwe Watch Statement on Presidential Elections

Zimbabwe Watch is of the opinion that the election process which encompasses the pre-election, polling days and post election was seriously flawed and cannot be said to be "free and fair".

The pre-election period was marked by a sustained government orchestrated campaign of intimidation, violence and harassment. The polling days were characterised by gross irregularities that effectively disenfranchised and denied thousands of people the right to vote with the sole aim of ensuring power at all costs.

Thousands of Zimbabwean citizens were disenfranchised as a result of the lack of transparency in the registration process and the wide discretionary powers of the Registrar-General in deciding who would be included in or omitted from the electoral register It is thus no surprise that this outcome has been achieved.

If President Mugabe had been confident of popular support he would not have prevented voters from registering, instructed the police to break up rallies and meetings, had the leader of the opposition arrested and reduced the number of polling stations in the opposition strongholds.

The electoral process from start to finish ignored the norms and standards, which govern elections throughout the SADC region and to which Zimbabwe had committed itself to.

Supreme Court ruling were cast aside, the Constitution flouted, independent media and civil society were marginalized.

Independent verification of the results in many areas, is almost impossible after opposition monitors were arrested and/or barred from polling stations and the unavailability of the voter roll and the supplementary voter roll to the major opposition party.

The counting process was also flawed when the government detained more than 1400 people on Monday March 11th,- most of them MDC polling agents and civil society election monitors, who were meant to monitor the counting process.

Those arrested have not as yet been charged. Zimbabwe Watch raises its concern for the safety of those arrested in the light of the well-established pattern of 'disappearances', cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the Zimbabwean security forces.

Zimbabwe Watch calls upon the international community and especially the international African community who sent observers teams to Zimbabwe, to strongly condemn the election process in Zimbabwe.

The democratisation process in Africa will face a serious setback if they accept Mugabe as a legitimately elected president. The acceptance of a flawed election will in the long term set back the process of democratisation, and of the development of true African democracy.

It is important that lessons are drawn and applied from the conduct of the preparations and the holding of the elections in Zimbabwe and that African leadership makes clear that rigged and stolen elections are as unacceptable as military interventions in politics.

Zimbabwe Watch, a consortium of Dutch NGO's expresses grave concern about the situation in Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the Presidential elections held earlier this week. report_elections_zw.PDF (16 Kb)

Zimbabwe Watch conducts lobby and advocacy towards the Dutch government, the European Union, the United Nations and the public.