Following the invitation by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe to observe the 23 August 2023 Harmonised elections, the African Union (AU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) deployed a Short-Term Election Observation Mission from 16 to 29 August 2023. The Mission comprises of eighty-two (82) short-term observers (STOs) from twenty-nine (29) countries across Africa and is led by His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the Republic of Nigeria, deputised by Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda and a member of the COMESA Committee of Elders. They were supported by H.E. Domitien Ndayizeye, former President of the Republic of Burundi and Chairperson of the African Union Panel of the Wise; His Excellency Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Her Excellency Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, Secretary General of COMESA.
The joint AU-COMESA Election Observation Mission (EOM) was preceded by the deployment of a joint technical Pre-election Assessment Mission from 3 to 7 July 2023. The Mission assessed the pre-election environment and general level of preparedness for various election stakeholders.
The findings of the pre-election assessment guided the deployment of the STOs and stakeholder engagements.
The objectives of the joint AU-COMESA Mission were two-fold: first, to assess the technical compliance of the 2023 electoral process in line with AU and COMESA principles and normative frameworks and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as Zimbabwe’s national legal framework; secondly, to ascertain that the environment was peaceful for the conduct of democratic elections and acceptance of the electoral outcome.