Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement on elections in Zimbabwe:
“I am deeply concerned by the credible reports of irregularities following last week’s presidential vote in Zimbabwe. Given these allegations, Robert Mugabe’s apparent re-election should not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed his dictatorial thirty-three year tenure in office.
To claim that the election in Zimbabwe was free and fair would be to ignore the haphazard voter registration process leading up to and surrounding the vote. Though U.S. monitors were prohibited from observing the vote, we know that registration was rushed and not transparent; the voter rolls were withheld from the public until the eve of the election; critical reforms to the security forces and the media intended to ensure a fair electoral process were never implemented; and likely supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were turned away from polls in large numbers.
While unlike the country’s last presidential election, there were no reports of widespread violence this time – I nonetheless believe this vote cannot be regarded as a true and accurate expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people. Even Zimbabwe’s own domestic election observers have stated that this election was ‘seriously compromised’. The international community and other African leaders must make it clear that they will not stand by silently as Mugabe tries subvert the democratic process once again.”