Commissions Watch 6 August 2018 [ZHRC Preliminary Election Monitoring Report 23 - 31 July 2018] COMMISSIONS WATCH ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION [6th August 2018] Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) Preliminary Election Monitoring Report: 23 – 31 July 2018 INTRODUCTION Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), is mandated to protect, promote and enforce human rights in Zimbabwe. Section 243(1) (c) confers the responsibility on the Commission to monitor, assess and ensure observance of human rights and freedoms. This function is inclusive of the right to free and fair elections as provided for in the Constitution and the Electoral Act, (Chap 2:13). In light of this mandate, the ZHRC has been monitoring all electoral processes to contribute to the promotion of an environment conducive to conducting of free, fair, transparent and credible elections. The Commission deployed a total of 23 teams spread across the 10 Provinces of Zimbabwe. The monitors were able to collect information which forms part of this preliminary report. Apart from monitoring the political situation, the ZHRC teams earned out their functions of complaints handling and investigation, as well as human rights education and promotion as provided for in section 243 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. METHODOLOGY This report is based on the information received from the monitors deployed across the country and from complaints received. ZHRC FINDINGS Overall the environment was peaceful compared to previous electoral periods in the country. However, the ZHRC monitors found that in some provinces the pre-election environment was marred by a number of electoral malpractices which included the following; THREATS AND INTIMIDATION A number of cases of threats and intimidation were received from 10 Provinces in contravention of section 133B(c) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13]. By 29 July 2018, a total of 31 cases had been received by the ZHRC of voters being compelled to vote for a particular party by those in places of authority such as Chiefs and Headman. The situation was especially worrisome in Mashonaland East Province which received reports of intimidation and threats in most of the 16 constituencies in violation of the right to freedom of expression as stated in section 61 of the Constitution, and to freedom of assembly, association and choice as provided for in section 58 of the Constitution. It was further noted that the greatest number of threats and intimidation arose from the social media which threats were of great concern because of their insidious nature.