US observers: Zimbabwe delay causes ‘volatility’

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The U.S. observer mission to Zimbabwe’s elections says delays in releasing the result of the presidential vote are causing “suspicions, tensions and volatility.”

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian president and head of the observer mission of the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute warns that “the more the presidential vote is delayed, the more it calls into question the population’s confidence in the election process.”

She says that “the presidential results should be announced as quickly as possible to bring confidence in the elections back to the people.”

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it will announce “sometime tomorrow” when it can start releasing presidential results. It has five days from Monday’s election to release them.

The opposition is accusing the commission of deliberately delaying.

The U.S. observer mission says the commission should take immediate steps to publish a spreadsheet of the voting results that can be scrutinized by the public. The mission also criticizes the “extreme bias of the state media” and the layout of the presidential ballot, which put President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the top right-hand corner.