Harare, Zimbabwe: on 1st August 2018, the Head of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2018 Harmonized Elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Manuel Domingos Augusto, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola released the Mission's Preliminary Statement, at a press conference held at the Rainbow Towers Hotel, Harare, Zimbabwe, regarding the 30 July 2018 Harmonized elections that represented a political milestone in Zimbabwe's history.
In his presentation, His Excellency Minister Augusto noted that there has been a remarkable improvement in the exercise and protection of civil and political rights in Zimbabwe compared to the 2008 Presidential elections. He explained that the pre-election phase and the voting proceeded in a peaceful and orderly manner, and were largely in conformity with key legal and constitutional provisions and the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. The peaceful environment provided the people of Zimbabwe the opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights.
SEOM will continue to assess the post-election period covering the counting, tallying and tabulation of results; and other relevant aspects of the result management process.
His Excellency Minister Augusto said that as part of its observation process, the SEOM engaged a wide range of stakeholders including state and non-state actors such as the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe; Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Political Parties, Council of Chiefs, media, representatives of regional and international organizations, academia, faith-based organizations; and civil society as well as persons with disabilities, women and youth.
During the event, other independent Preliminary Statements were issued including by the African Union Election Observation Mission, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) and Electoral Commission Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC).
The press conference was among other, attended by His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Head of African Union Electoral Observation Mission (AUEOM) to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Ashraf Gamal Rashed, Member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Committee of Elders, Hounarable Justice Patrick Matibini, Speaker of Assembly of Zambia and Head of SADC Parliamentary Forum and Honourable Justice Semistocles S. Kaijage, Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission of Tanzania and Head of Electoral Commission Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC) and Dr. Stergomena Lawrence-Tax, Executive Secretary of SADC. Also in attendance were Commissioners from the National Electoral Commission of Zimbabwe, Heads and representatives of Diplomatic Missions in Harare, representatives of political parties, faith-based groups, members of the public, members of civil society, and the media fraternity.
The SEOM final report of the 2018 Harmonized Elections will be completed and issued within 30 days after the close of the poll. The report will be directed to the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).