In Zimbabwe, election disputes continue unabated. As in previous elections, critics dispute the elections held on August 23, 2023, highlighting serious electoral fraud and intimidation of rural voters, opposition political parties, local election monitors, and observers. These disputes cast aspersions on the credibility of the election outcome. They also raise questions about the legitimacy of the “elected” president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. For the first time, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) confirmed that elections in Zimbabwe were neither free nor fair.

The contributions to this special issue engage discussions of electoral disinformation, intimidation and violence, and the credibility of the 2023 elections. Admire Mare, an African Peacebuilding Network (APN) alumnus,  reflects on electoral disinformation in the current age of social media. Simbarashe Gukurume, Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa (Next Gen) and APN alumnus, examines the critical role of observer missions in ensuring free, fair, and credible elections. He analyzes the SADC observer mission’s preliminary report and the responses to it within and outside Zimbabwe. Additionally, he considers its significance for the future of electoral democracy in Zimbabwe and southern Africa. Tracey Muradzikwa, 2023 Next Gen fellow, explores the role of traditional leaders in political mobilization and intimidation in rural areas. Edmore Chitukutuku, Next Gen and APN alumnus, engages with peace and security issues pertaining to the elections by examining how the policing of elections by the Zimbabwe Republic Police affects the election credibility and voter security, opposition political parties, and election monitors and observers.