The two major elections observer missions have now issued their final reports. The SADC
Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) released their report on 10 October 2023, bringing to an
end all the speculation that the final report would deviate from the preliminary report issues
immediately after the August elections. The EU Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) released
their final report on 17 November. Both reports received adverse comment from the Zimbabwe
The SEOM preliminary report received a very hostile reaction from the government and
ZANU-PF officials, with the major focus on the Chairperson, former Vice-President, Nevers
Mumba, which received a stiff reprimand from SADC. However, the SEOM report was
accepted by the SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit in Luanda, although it remains unclear what
SADC intends to do.
Whatever the Zimbabwe government’s opinion, it is clear to all that the election failed to
deliver the low hanging fruit that would spark international re-engagement, bolster the faltering
steps towards debt relief, and cure the coup. Rather Zimbabwe remains in crisis in every way:
political parties fracturing, the economy weakening rather than strengthening, public services
collapsing, and government by diktat. In every respect there is post-election conflict: exactly
the situation that the SADC Election Advisory Council (SEAC) is mandated to address.
Given that it was commonplace ahead of the election that Zimbabwe had become a regional
problem, it is distressing that two months after the August election, there is no movement
towards resolving the crisis. It appears that there is a complete impasse. The international waits
and watches to see what SADC will do in the light of its assessment of a failed election, and
SADC seems paralysed by indecision.
Zimbabweans have posed the way forward. A petition for moving to a political settlement,
signed by more than 80 000, suggested the establishment of an eminent person’s group to lead
the talks about talks, and the creation of a transitional authority. The potential solution outlined
in the petition has received support from various sections in Zimbabwe, including the main
opposition political party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC)What is the way forward? Where is the urgency for dealing with an escalating crisis?
This will be discussed by an expert panel.
Convener & Moderator:
Ibbo Mandaza (Director, SAPES Trust)
Walter Mzembi (Former Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry)
Moeletsi Mbeki (Chair, SAIIA)
Larry Garber (International Election Expert. Observed Zimbabwe elections in 1985 & 2018)
Brighton Mutebuka (Lawyer, Immigration expert)