Poll observers from a regional southern African bloc SADC on Friday said certain aspects of Zimbabwe’s tense presidential and legislative elections did not conform to democratic principles. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) cited cancellation of opposition rallies, biased state media and alleged voter intimidation among some of the issues that sullied the election. “Some aspects of the harmonised election fell short of the requirements of the constitution of Zimbabwe, the electoral act and the SADC principals and guidelines governing democratic elections,” said head of the delegation Nevers Mumba. The observers deployed by the 16-nation SADC group, however said the period running to the election and the voting phases were “peaceful and calm”. The poll is being watched across southern Africa as a test of support for 80-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party, whose 43-year rule has been battered by a moribund economy and charges of authoritarianism The election was forced to stretch into an unprecedented second day over delays in printing of ballot papers in some key districts including in the opposition stronghold Harare. The largest opposition, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), which poses the biggest challenge to Mnangagwa and had more than 100 of its campaign meetings banned, lashed the electoral process as “fundamentally flawed”. SADC added that “it was the contention of a number of stakeholders that the state-owned media houses remain biased against the opposition”.