So, you may have heard there’s an election tomorrow in Zimbabwe. It’s been taking up a lot of my time recently as we gather information about the situation on the ground and talk with civil society organizations preparing for election observing.
Currently, the atmosphere is much as it was prior to the initial presidential and parliamentary elections of March 2008 – largely calm with some incidents of intimidation and violent clashes between political party supporters reported.
It wasn’t until after a contested run-off election for the presidency was announced for June 2008 that Amnesty documented the sharp increase in electoral violence – including at least 200 deaths and thousands tortured and displaced.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has declared it's ready for the elections, despite all evidence to the contrary.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has declared it’s ready for the elections, despite all evidence to the contrary based on the chaotic “special voting” process held two weeks ago. Elections officials and security agents were allowed to cast their vote early because they would be on duty tomorrow. However, many polling stations opened late and were lacking necessary basic resources such as indelible ink, stamps, ballot papers, and the voter roll.
The voter roll itself is another huge issue. The ZEC is supposed to provide a copy of the roll to political parties so they can assess it for accuracy and monitor for fraud on election day. At this time, this has not been done, raising concerns by many of manipulation and inaccuracies that will be exploited to determine the outcome of the election.
If you want to follow the elections as they roll out in real time, there are several websites established purporting the intent to document results from polling stations. You can check them out electionride.com, zimelections2013.com, sokwanele.com, and simukai.org. Also, follow me on Twitter at @SoAfricaAIUSA and monitor the #hashtags #zim2013, #zimelection(s), #zimdecides and #263chat.