Observers begin weighing in on Zimbabwe vote

Election observers from southern African nations have commended Zimbabwe for a peaceful, orderly election, though they also identified some shortcomings in how it was conducted.

The Southern African Development Community says Zimbabweans had the "opportunity to exercise their constitutional right," and applauds the government for allowing more international observers for Monday's vote.

Manuel Domingos Augusto, the Angolan foreign minister and SADC representative, calls the elections "a political watershed in Zimbabwe's history, as they may open a new chapter leading towards socioeconomic recovery and consolidation of democracy."

Augusto says efforts should be made to allow the millions in Zimbabwe's diaspora, barred from voting abroad, to vote in future elections.

He also refers to criticism of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the late release of the voters' roll, as well as bias toward the ruling party by state media and traditional leaders.

He urges anyone with grievances to refrain from violence.

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