On 30 July 2018, Zimbabweans went to the polls to elect the country’s next President, Members of the National Assembly and Local Government Representatives. They are the first post-independence elections to be held without former President Robert Mugabe who ruled for 37 years and are widely seen as an important moment in the country’s democratic transition.
The African Union (AU) participated in the elections following an invitation from the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe by deploying both long- and short-term election observers on the 1 July 2018 and 23 July 2018, respectively. The Mission which is led by H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, former Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and assisted by H.E. Minata Samate Cessouma, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, comprises of sixty-four (64) observers – 14 long-term and 50 short-term observers – drawn from AU member states and institutions.
In this preliminary statement, the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) offers a summary of key observations from the electoral process thus far, including the political context, legal framework, election administration, campaign, participation of women and media environment, as well as election day voting and counting process. This statement is preliminary because it is issued while the tabulation and announcement of results are ongoing and, therefore, an assessment of the entire electoral process cannot be provided at this stage.