Election officials overseeing Zimbabwe’s July 31 ballot insist the country is ready to hold general elections in less than a week. However, fears of vote rigging and a lack of funding are worrying Zimbabweans. “Elections will be credible, free and fair. We are ready for the elections,” Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission [ZEC] deputy chairperson, Joyce Kazeme, told international election observers stationed in the country on Tuesday (24.07.2013). Some 600 foreign observers have been endorsed to scrutinize the country’s July 31 election as well as pre-poll voting for security officials assigned to work on election day. Close to 6,000 Zimbabwean observers will also monitor voting. International observers include representatives of the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Observer missions from the European Union and the United States were not invited to oversee electoral proceedings because of sanctions imposed on Mugabe and some of his top officials for human rights abuses. Foreign embassies in Zimbabwe, including those from EU countries and the US, have been given permission to send five diplomats each to monitor proceedings.
… According to the country’s electoral body, about 87,000 people, largely from the police service who will be on duty on election day, applied to vote ahead of July 31. Security officials slated to work on election day were able to cast their votes early
However, the early voting was marred by problems. An insufficient number of ballot papers and ink meant thousands were unable to cast their vote. Of those eligible to vote, ZEC’s Joyce Kazembe said just over 37,000 were able to do so. She added that those unable to cast their vote early will have a second chance when polls open on the official day. Concerns have also been raised about the current state of the electoral roll, worrying observers that its chaotic state could encourage fraud and irregularities.