Comesa confident of free, fair Zim elections

Comesa confident of free, fair Zim elections
Published: 24 May 2018
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) yesterday expressed confidence that the situation obtaining on the ground would see Zimbabwe conducting peaceful, free and fair harmonised elections.

The bloc's pre-election observer mission - headed by Ambassador Ashraf Gamaal Rashed - is in Zimbabwe to assess the environment ahead of elections expected by end of July.

The nine-member delegation yesterday met Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo before holding another engagement with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The latest group adds onto the list of missions, including those from Sadc, Europe and the US, that have been here to assess the pre-election environment.

Speaking after meeting Dr Moyo, Ambassador Rashed - a member of the Comesa Committee of Elders - said the bloc would support Zimbabwe in its endeavour to conduct credible elections.

"I want to express that we are confident that the people of Zimbabwe will go through this process peacefully, in a free and fair manner which I note that the minister himself has assured that this is the objective of Government," he said.

"I conveyed to the minister our great appreciation to the Government of Zimbabwe for inviting Comesa to come and observe the elections and we look forward to fulfilling our mission.

"I would like also to express our thanks to the ministry for the excellent programme which has been done in full cooperation between the ministry here and secretariat of Comesa. Comesa will be there always along the way to support you."

Dr Moyo said the arrival of the Comesa observer mission was in line with the commitment made by the new dispensation to invite various organisations to come and observe the polls.

"This is basically walking the talk," he said.

"Our discussions centred on the issue of the pre-election observation team from Comesa and their desire. I have been briefing them about the situation in Zimbabwe from the Government perspective but on most of the issues, we will let them go freely and observe and interact with whoever they want to interact with and at the end we are going to have a de-brief."

ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba took the Comesa team through the electoral body's state of preparedness for the elections, Biometric Voter Registration (BVR), amendments to the electoral law and conflict management.

She said the final voters roll would be printed a "couple of days after the sitting of the nomination court".

Currently, Justice Chigumba said, cleaning of the provisional voters roll was being done concurrently with inspection.

Justice Chigumba

"The cleaning of the provisional voters roll is actually work in progress,' she said.

"We have opened the voters roll for inspection and we are cleaning as we go along. The corrections are not that many."

She said on inspection, they were having a few walk-ins as most people were checking their details through the mobile platforms.

The Comesa team is expected to meet with Zanu-PF, MDC Alliance, ZAPU, National Patriotic Front and members of CODE.

Meetings have also been lined up with Zimbabwe Republic Police, various Government Ministries and independent commissions.

Apart from Comesa, Zimbabwe has invited observers from the EU, European Union Commission, European Union Parliament, African Union Commission, Pan-African Parliament, Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum, the Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement; African, Caribbean and Pacific Group and ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

All nations drawn from the Sadc are expected to observe the elections.
- the herald
Tags: Comesa,


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