Domestic observers detained and “disappeared” in Zimbabwe

In a shocking move and blatant attack in the democratic process, armed police raided the data centres of Zimbabwe’s two main domestic observation groups, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and the Election Resource Centre (ERC).

Although exact details are hard to come by, it appears that 37 people have been detained and effectively “disappeared” as their location and condition is not yet known, although it is believed that they are being held at Harare Central Police Station. Their lawyers have been denied contact with them.

The move appears to be carefully designed by the ZANU-PF government to prevent ZESN and the ERC from producing a parallel vote tabulation would demonstrate reveal election rigging, amidst reports that Nelson Chamisa has made major inroads, while President Mnangagwa has recorded some embarrassing results. If the government is panicking about a potential loss of power, more violence and repression seems likely over the next 48 hours.

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