Sadc: Zimbabwe on track for free and fair polls

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Zimbabwe is on track for credible, free and fair elections as the pre-election environment has been peaceful while the majority of people are confident of the electoral processes, Sadc has said. The regional bloc said the run-up to the July 30 polls was conducive for credible elections.

This came out after a meeting between Acting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Simon Khaya Moyo and Sadc ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday.
The meeting was at the request of the envoys.

After the meeting, ambassadors from countries constituting the Sadc Troika were tasked with addressing the media.
Namibian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Balbina Daes Pienaar, whose country is the Sadc deputy chair, said the regional bloc’s technical teams were on the ground observing electoral processes.

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“As we are talking, election campaigns are in full swing around the country and it is important for us to be part of this process to observe how the election campaigns are being conducted,” she said.

“I can tell (you) together with my colleagues that the situation so far is very peaceful. Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and this can be seen. (There is) no violence so far and we are really happy that the run-up to the elections is quite encouraging. We believe that the elections will be free, fair and credible. We are committed to producing free, fair and credible elections. Our country observer missions will be arriving soon and I am sure latest by July 15 we should have a good group of observer missions.”

Angolan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Pedro Hendrik Vaal Neto, whose country chairs the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, said the majority of Zimbabweans had confidence in the electoral process.

“We have been observing how the process is going and we are pleased to see that all participants are interested in keeping the process totally peaceful and the commitment of the Government and institutions to have free and fair elections.

“We believe there will be a lot of participation from the whole population and we have been contacting the people individually here and the people seem to be confident of the process.”

Angola is going to lead the team of Sadc observers and Luanda will dispatch officials to Zimbabwe for the polls tomorrow.
South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mphakama Mbete said they had an open meeting.
South Africa is the current Sadc chair.

“Overall, we got a sense from the Acting Minister that Zimbabwe has a high level of maturity and really wants to have this major project in the evolving and growing democracy to succeed,” he said.

“We think the meeting was transparent and open. There was nothing which was hidden and the minister was clear that if we observe anything that we think needs attention, the door of the Government is open.”

He said Minister Khaya Moyo gave them an overview of the situation since last November to date.
“In the event of the new dispensation that started at the end of last year, it became very important for the leadership of the country under President Mnangagwa to have proper, free, fair credible and transparent elections which will then lead to a normal Government that will be elected for the next five years with a full mandate of the people of Zimbabwe to govern this country,” Mr Mbete said.

“The Minister outlined to us the key developments, how people are going on freely to campaign and to prepare for the elections including all the political parties and players, how people seem to have recovered and are moving on with their lives since the tragic events in Bulawayo.”

He added: “He touched on topics such as the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, that it is indeed an independent structure which was formed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe across political affiliation and that matters raised about ZEC have to be resolved with ZEC. This was very important for us to take note of. As far as he was concerned the situation is set towards free, fair, credible and democratic elections. He outlined and emphasised the openness of Government to address issues raised by any international player that is here and is interested in the situation.”

He said Minister Khaya Moyo had told them that all observers were free “to go to any corner of Zimbabwe.”
“He highlighted some fundamentals in terms of the approach of the ruling party (Zanu-PF) that no violence will be allowed and in that regard practically electoral courts have been set up all over the country to deal with any reports, complaints and violence. Such courts are expected to act swiftly so that the elections achieve their objective.”

He said they would also meet other political parties and election stakeholders.

Source – Herald

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