U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, has released the following statement on the July 30, 2018 election in Zimbabwe:

“Over the past several days, I have had the privilege of observing Zimbabwe’s historic elections. After decades of misrule by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe deserves to have a government worthy of its people.

“After a day of peaceful voting on July 30th, the violence on August 1st that claimed the lives of at least six people and injured many more was a throwback to the old days. The use of the Zimbabwean military to respond to political protests, or the use of the police force to disrupt press conferences, does not signal a new era, rather it echoes a dreadful past.

“In order to instill confidence in the election results, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must now make good on its commitment to release comprehensive polling data in a transparent manner that includes results from each polling station signed off by party agents who were present for the casting of ballots and the tabulation of results. Challenges to the results must be pursued through legal channels.

“During my visit to nearly a dozen polling stations scattered throughout rural Zimbabwe, I saw citizens, some young and agile, others bent with age, walking miles for the chance to cast a vote that mattered. I saw representatives of ZANU PF and MDC Alliance sitting together, chatting amicably and helping each other keep proper tallies. In everyone I encountered, I saw the hope for a brighter, more democratic and prosperous future for Zimbabwe.

“Here’s hoping that future is at hand.”