HARARE – Zanu PF MPs Tuesday reduced parliament into a chorus of superfluous praise on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for conducting what they claim were free and fair elections, condemned as a fraud by independent international poll observers.

The legislators were debating the 2023 election report presented to the house by the controversial poll management authority.

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs did not attend Tuesday’s sitting as they were still serving a four-session ban imposed on them for alleged misconduct by the speaker.

Only two opposition MPs recently elected under self-appointed CCC secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu’s faction were in attendance.

Mberengwa North MP, Tafanana Zhou felt ZEC did well through its constituencies delimitation report.

He also said the poll that gave President Emmerson Mnangagwa a slender majority and continued Zanu PF’s control of parliament was “free and fair”.

“These elections were free, fair and there was no violence before, during and after the elections,” Zhou said.

“All of us, for the first time, agreed with the outcome of the elections, which meant that ZEC did very well and no one petitioned the court in coming up with or challenging the manner in which ZEC had done its job.”

Equally, Edson Zvobgo (Jnr), MP for Masvingo Central, praised ZEC for what he felt was the display of financial discipline when it rolled out national poll.

“As evidence of their good work, I notice that while the Commission was allocated ZW$860 billion for all the processes leading up to and including the election itself, it managed to spend only 76 percent of its budget or ZW$612 billion.

“To hold an election on time and under budget, using, furthermore, a currency experiencing some volatility, is a testament to the ability of professionalism of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” he said.

Ntabazinduna MP Elizabeth Masuku also praised ZEC for what she felt was the timely acquisition of election material ahead of the vote.

Chipinge East MP Lincoln Dhliwayo accused international observers of unprofessional behaviour.

“The EU Observer Mission was fingered in some unprofessional conduct which brings into question their impartiality in the whole electoral process.

“Attacks on Zimbabwe’s legislation through repeating propaganda made by anti-government forces were unwarranted,” he said.

In their reports, foreign poll observers said the ballot failed to meet the threshold set by both the region and international community for the holding of free and fair elections.

Observers said the Zimbabwean vote was marred by balloting delays, canning of opposition rallies, denial of accreditation to several foreign media, missing voters’ names from the roll at their polling station, biased state media and voter intimidation among the issues that sullied the election.