All welcome to observe democracy in action: ED

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All welcome to observe democracy in action: ED President Mnangagwa

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa has reiterated his message that this year’s general elections will be free and fair, saying the world is welcome to come and witness the polls that are constitutionally due in July.

Posting on his Facebook page recently, the President said: “We have promised to hold free and fair elections and that is exactly what we will do. We are inviting the international community to be a part of this new chapter in Zimbabwean openness, democracy and freedom.”

Zimbabwe has invited 46 countries to observe the polls.

President Mnangagwa’s calls for a free and fair election are backed by amendments to the Electoral Act, which are already before Parliament.

Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission urged political parties to make their proposed amendments to the Electoral Act in Parliament.

The MDC Alliance recently threatened to boycott the elections if their demands for electoral reforms were not met.

In an interview yesterday, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said: “There are reforms to the Electoral Act that are before Parliament. We disseminate that information to political parties to make their input there.

“ZEC is an independent body (and) we don’t make laws, but we just make recommendations to the lawmakers. The political parties should propose the changes that they want in Parliament.”

On staffing of ZEC, Justice Chigumba said: “ZEC has no evidence of any of its permanent employees who is still a serving member of the military. If anyone has that evidence, they should bring it forward.

“All our employees went through the interview processes and the law does not stop us from employing members of the military who have retired.”

Apart from inviting 46 countries to observe the polls, Government has also invited several international organisations.

The Sadc Parliamentary Forum and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), including the Commonwealth and Non-Aligned Movement, are some of the key institutions that have been invited.

The African Union Commission, Pan African Parliament, European Union Commission and the European Union Parliament will also be part of the observers.

They will join organisations such as the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group and ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe will be authorised to observe the elections on request. During the 2013 polls, only diplomats accredited on full-time basis observed the polls.

Regional liberation movements such as the African National Congress (South Africa), Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Tanzania), FRELIMO (Mozambique), Botswana Democratic Party (Botswana) and MPLA (Angola) are also on the list of invited observers.

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