Unprecedented number of election observers flock to Zim

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Gracious Madondo

This year’s harmonized elections have proven to be different from previous years as more observers are flocking into the country ahead of the actual voting on July 30.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chief law officer Dominico Chidakuza said the total number of election observers in the country has risen to 915.

“As from 10 July 2018, statistics indicate that there are 915 election observers in the country and the numbers continue to increase. There are 486 local observers and 241 local accredited journalists. At least 159 foreign observers and 29 foreign journalists have so far been accredited,” Chidakuza said.

Over the past week alone, a sizeable number of observers representing various regional and continental blocks have arrived in the country to oversee an election process that promises to usher in what analysts have said a Second Republic.

 Zimbabwe has invited and welcomed election observers from more than 40 counties to observe the forth-coming harmonized elections.

Invitations have been extended to observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as well as the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).

SADC has expressed satisfaction over the election preparation with the South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu saying Zimbabwe is ready to conduct a credible election because the country’s president has acknowledge the requirements of SADC election standards.

“Zimbabwe’s new President committed to uphold the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Principle and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in the hope of securing a regional seal of approval. Adopted in 2004, and revised in 2014, the guidelines are an important initiative that commits regional governments to credible, democratic and peaceful elections,” Sisulu said.

Sisulu applauded President Mnangagwa’s administration for inviting regional and international election observers from over 40 countries. Silulu was speaking at the conclusion of the SADC Council of Ministers held in Pretoria last week.

SADC Ambassadors from Angola, South Africa and Namibia recently meet with the Acting and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minster Simon Khaya Moyo and SADC ambassadors where they said Zimbabwe was on the right track to a free and fair elections.

Angola Ambassador to Zimbabwe Pedro Hendrick Vaal Neto, whose country chairs the SADC Organ on politics said the organ has been closely observing the election process and is pleased that the process was going very well and peacefully.

As part of the election observer mission Angola is going to lead the team of observers and Luanda dispatched officials to Zimbabwe on Tuesday this week.

To date, EU is set to dispatch 140 election observers into the country.

Head of the European Union Election Mission, Elmar Brok is on record saying the EU team for this election is quite extensive.

“Over the past week, our observers have been meeting with a broad range of stakeholders, including the electoral commission, political parties, candidates, civil society and observers. For this election period itself it will has 140 observers in total covering the voting and counting all over the country,” he said.

Brok said the EU Election Mission team will remain in the country after the election just in case there is an election re-run.

African Union said 40 more observers from the organ are set to arrive in the country from 23 July to 3 August 2018.

“The first phase comprises the development of four core team members and 10 Long-term election experts from 4 July to 10 August 2018. During the second phase, the Long –term election experts will be joined by 40 Short term election observers from 23 July to 3 August” read the report.

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