US and UK Concerned about Zimbabwe’s Elections

Via the BBC:  US and UK concern over Zimbabwe election results

The US and UK have expressed concern after official results from Zimbabwe’s elections gave President Robert Mugabe a seventh term in office amid claims of electoral fraud.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the results did not "represent a credible expression of the people".


Major Western groups were not invited to send observer missions to monitor Wednesday’s election.

The US has described the vote as "deeply flawed".

"In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people," Mr Kerry said.

Former colonial power the UK also expressed "grave concerns" over reports of large numbers of voters being turned away from polling stations.

British Foreign Minister William Hague urged a thorough investigation of all allegations of violations.

Meanwhile the European Union which maintains sanctions on Mr Mugabe and his senior aides, said it was worried about "alleged irregularities and reports of incomplete participation" in the election.

Monitoring groups disagreed over the conduct of the election.

The most critical account came from the largest group of monitors, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), which had 7,000 workers observing the vote.

The organisation said problems with voter registration had left up to one million people unable to cast their ballots, mostly in urban areas regarded as MDC strongholds.

However, South Africa is sending congratulations:

South Africa issued a statement from President Jacob Zuma extending "profound congratulations" to Mr Mugabe following the "successful, harmonised elections".

This is a disappointing stance, given South Africa’s successful transition to democracy.   Because, without a doubt, Mugabe has been no force for democracy in Zimbabwe and his time in office has hardly been good for the citizens of that country.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. al-Ameda says:

    South Africa issued a statement from President Jacob Zuma extending “profound congratulations” to Mr Mugabe following the “successful, harmonised elections”.

    I wonder if President Zuma has ‘profound’ concerns about Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout in in many states across the United States?

    Seriously, Mugabe, like Mobutu and Bokassa, is yet another president-for-life Third World kleptocrat who stands in the way of advancing his people beyond poverty. I’m not sure what we can do except to be very public in our disapproval.

  2. Habbit says:

    I have met several families from Zimbabwe, none necessarily privileged, who would disagree with your outside-looking-in assessment of their treatment.

  3. @Habbit: Zimbabwe ranks 172 out of 182 countries in the UNDP’s Human Development Index rankings (source), making it one of the must underdeveloped countries in the world.

    There are plenty of other things to look at, such as Freedom House’s assessment of freedom in Zimbabwe (It is classified as “Not Free”). See here.

    If you are interested, also Google Zimbabwe along with terms like hyperinflation and cholera.

    Mugabe is a hero of the independence movement thirty years ago, and that still gives him a lot of cache with many in the population. On balance, however, he has been an authoritarian strongman of the worst sort.