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60 countries to observe elections



ZIMBABWE has extended invitations to 60 countries and regional bodies to observe the August elections, a 20% rise from 48 in the previous election, giving the international community a chance to see Zimbabwe’s sincerity in rolling out crucial reforms, analysts say.  


The country is desperate to redeem its international image, which has been riddled with serious human rights abuses.

The country has invited 60 observer missions, which include the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, 15 Southern African Development Community countries, the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament, the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, and various countries from Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Asia.

Despite the increase in observer mission invitations, several recommendations by previous observer missions from the previous election are also yet to be implemented.

For instance, the EU EOM follow-up delegation, which was in the country in May last year, said progress on the implementation of reforms has been limited, with the majority of the priority ones yet to be addressed.

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu says the election is going to be a decider on re-engagement.

“Their presence (observers) is important in Zimbabwe. It is possibly a way for the international community to gauge whether government is moving in the right direction in terms of its reforms.

“It is also an opportunity for the international community to measure their approach to the post-election government should they see the government that is going to emerge as legitimate or should they treat it with caution as a result of how the election is going to be done.

“So, it is a process to facilitate a post-election engagement, at least for those coming from outside, and of course for Zimbabwean observers. It is to promote good electoral conduct, but also to locate areas that ought to be addressed as we move forward. There is no perfect electoral process, but it is a process of identifying gaps and finding ways of improving them in the future,” Mukundu told The NewsHawks.

The international community has also indicated that Zimbabwe’s  international re-engagement drive will depend on the credibility of the elections.

As previously reported by The NewsHawks, the British House of Lords debated that Zimbabwe’s re-admission to the Commonwealth should be based on how the country holds its general election this year, and an improvement in the human rights situation.

In January this year, the House of Lords debated Zimbabwe’s overtures to rejoin the Commonwealth, saying there is a need to scrutinise the country’s progress on human rights and democratic governance ahead of the 2023 elections.

Lord Jonathan Oates, a British Liberal Democrat, initiated a debate on Zimbabwe’s readmission bid without reforms, saying it would severely damage the Commonwealth’s reputation and the country’s struggle for democracy and human rights.

During the debate, Lord Sonny Leong of the UK Labour party said the country has not been doing enough to correct the human rights situation.

“Although there have been some positive developments in recent years, they have not been as significant, rapid or numerous as many of us had hoped, especially post-president Mugabe. The country retains the death penalty and the rights and freedoms of women and girls are unequal, as they are for the LGBT community,” Lord Leong said.

“However, with Zimbabwe holding general elections this year, I draw your lordships’ attention to the democratic process in the country. Official observers were critical of how the last elections were conducted in 2018.

“A colleague of mine who served on a Commonwealth observer group told me that he ‘personally witnessed scenes of violence and direct intimidation by government forces’ and noted that an ‘unlevel playing field’ had been created, which ‘the government considers it to its benefit to maintain’,” he said.

Meanwhile, the electoral processes have been hijacked by a shadowy Central Intelligence Organisation outfit, Forever Associates Zimbabwe (Faz), which has gone out to ensure a Zanu PF victory.

With three members in every ward countrywide, Faz has been intimidating people, particularly in rural areas, collecting voter information, rolling out door-to-door campaigns, night vigils, community events, technology-based messaging while monitoring all stages of the electoral process.

Sources say, so far, Faz has received US$10 million and 200 cars to run its affairs in preparation for elections. More resources have been promised to capacitate the secret structure.

Faz’s mandate, working together with Zec, is to coordinate logistics and decisive forces to retain Mnangagwa in power.

The organisation has also been implicated in the fielding of double candidates within the main opposition CCC during the candidate nomination process, while hijacking a chaotic voter inspection process.

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