The Sunday Mail
Rumbidzai Muparutsa and Tanaka Kadenge
THE African Union has deployed 64 observers to all 10 provinces ahead of Zimbabwe’s July 30, 2018 harmonised elections. Zimbabweans vote for a President, National Assembly members and councillors in an election that has attracted local, regional and international observer and monitoring missions.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, AU election observer mission head and former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr Hailemariam Desalegn, said the teams’ terms of reference were observation of principles governing democratic polls.
“We have 64 observers this time, deployed in all 10 provinces,” he said. “Zimbabwe is a great country and its people deserve credible, transparent and peaceful elections, so our observing mission should focus on the African Union charter on Democracy and Human Rights in the conduct of elections. It has provisions and guidelines on election observation and the code of conduct for observers.” Mr Desalegn said his team would observe statutory regulations and cultural boundaries.
“We should abide by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and all its electoral laws and provisions so accordingly they (observers) have to obey all those things. The observation should be partial, neutral and constructive. We have to also respect the customs and traditions of the Zimbabwean people and as a member of the AU, Zimbabwe is a part of all these provisions.”
Ethiopia’s ex-premier said pointers were that Zimbabwe would hold a credible poll.
“If the elections are not concluded in a peaceful manner, the people of Zimbabwe will be hurt. Our message, as continental organisation representatives, is we encourage everybody to conduct any complains and grievances on the basis of the existing legal frameworks,” said the head of the AU Observer Mission.
The AU dispatched a team for pre-election assessment in early July. Meanwhile, The African Cause Trust (TACT) has deployed four hundred and fifty election observers for tomorrow’s harmonised elections.
In a statement yesterday, TACT’s chairperson Mr Elton Ziki said the group will cover all the country’s 10 provinces.
“TACT has deployed observer personnel to cover all ten provinces in the country, with oversight across all the polling stations and polling areas as set out by the Zimbabwe Electoral Act (ZEC),” said Mr Ziki. TACT’s observer mission person nel are guided by the electoral observers code of conduct given by ZEC, as well as the African Union Guidelines for African Union Electoral Observation and Monitoring Missions.
TACT will follow-up cases reported to them directly as well as others which they will pick up from the press and online.
“Certainly, after receiving such reports, our teams have been and continue to interrogate how various State players have responded to such reports in both apprehending perpetrators and ensuring communities heal from such negative incidences,” said Ziki.
Upon conclusion of the electoral processes, TACT will issue a preliminary statement on the findings of the mission and eventually publish a detailed report on its assessment.