Just more than 10 000 polling booths opened Monday around Zimbabwe where voting for a new president began at 7 am. Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Harare ‑ Sadc, the African Union and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) have endorsed Zimbabwe’s election, saying they opened new opportunities and marked new opportunities for the country.

Addressing journalists and other election stakeholders Wednesday morning, the Sadc Election Observer Mission (EOM) said despite findings such as delays in release of the voters’ roll, lack of transparency in the printing and procurement of election material as well as having a ballot paper layout which favoured one candidate over others, the election “represented a political watershed in the history of the country”, saying this opened a new chapter.

The mission encouraged aggrieved candidates to channel their grievances through set up structures.

African Union EOM head, former Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, said the 2018 election “marked an important moment in the democratic transition” in the country.

Comesa EOM head Ashraf Gamal Rashed noted unbalanced media coverage in the build-up to the July 30 election, saying the State media only favoured one party.

He said the election was an “epic moment” and “important opportunity” for Zimbabwe to “build on a new foundation”.

But Nordic African Centre for Local Democracy and Electoral Support press contact Charlie Inggs said it was “too early” to make substantive comments on the outcome of the election.

“The mission is hopeful that the queues, voter enthusiasm and commitment exhibited by polling staff, as observed on Monday 30 July, will be matched by the compilation of results and a commitment to honouring the choice of the Zimbabwean electorate,” he said.

African News Agency (ANA)