The Zimbabwean Harmonised Elections of 23 August took place in a progressively tense atmosphere in some locations due to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) failure to provide critical electoral material, which resulted in many polling stations opening with severe delays, some late into the night and the following day. Voters queued for long periods of time to be able to vote, reflecting their democratic aspirations. During the election process, fundamental freedoms were increasingly curtailed, both in the passing of regressive legal changes like the patriotic provisions to the Criminal Code and by acts of violence and intimidation, which resulted in a climate of fear.
The candidate registration process and the campaign led to an environment that hampered voters from making a free and informed choice on election day. The election was also impacted by significant issues regarding the independence and transparency of ZEC, which could have done more to inform the public. It also missed opportunities to increase public trust in the integrity of voting and results management. Ultimately, while election day was peaceful, the election process fell short of many regional and international standards, including equality, universality, and transparency.