AU team hails Zim poll preps

AU team hails Zim poll preps President Mnangagwa welcomes African Union Commission (AU) Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Justin Mutenda)

Felex Share and Elita Chikwati
President Mnangagwa yesterday met visiting African Union Commission chairperson Mr Moussa Faki and apprised him of measures being taken by Government to ensure free and fair elections.

The meeting came as the African Union Commissioner in charge of political affairs, Mrs Minata Samate Cessouna, met Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials and gave thumbs up to the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) being used for the forthcoming polls.

President Mnangagwa briefed Mr Faki on the peaceful political transition that took place in Zimbabwe and the trajectory Zimbabwe was taking.

Speaking after the meeting, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo (Retired) said Zimbabwe was working on its electoral systems to ensure credible elections.

Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Ministers Patrick Chinamasa (Finance and Economic Development) and Dr Obert Mpofu (Home Affairs), together with Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, attended the meeting.
Lt-Gen Moyo (Rtd) said Mr Faki pledged the AU’s support for the new dispensation.

“He was expressing the African Union’s support to Zimbabwe, especially taking off from this peaceful transition which has taken place, which is unprecedented,” he said.

“It is the one (support) which the AU is pledging and continues to pledge. The AU has even continued to appreciate and make the world be clear that Zimbabwe does not need any form of restrictive measures anymore.”

On elections, Lt-Gen Moyo (Rtd) said: “So far all what he has looked at are all the issues which were raised by the AU Observer Mission in preparations of the elections of 2013. Those are the issues being addressed.”

ZEC deputy chairperson Mr Emmanuel Magade said they had a fruitful exchange “of ideas, reflections and thoughts on electoral best practises” with the AU delegation.

“They were very positive about our new electoral template involving BVR and I got a sense that they are willing to walk that extra mile in terms of giving us technical support and other forms of support to make the 2018 election a success,” he said.

“We were all reading from the same script as far as our ambition and desire to hold free, fair, credible and all-inclusive elections are concerned.”

Mr Faki also met Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda.
Lt-Gen Moyo (Rtd) said of the meeting: “He met the Speaker and they discussed the clear-cut parameters of the legal framework and the role of Parliament in Zimbabwe in the current dispensation.”

Adv Mudenda said Mr Faki applauded Parliament for its role in ensuring a peaceful transition in the country.
“We also discussed the question of the observation of the forthcoming elections which will be held between June and August,” he said.

“We agreed that the (AU) Commission should organise itself in time so that the observation teams can come here before the elections, stay here during elections and after results are announced so that we get the stamp of authority, on how the elections would have been carried out in Zimbabwe; in a fair, free and credible manner.

“We also discussed the issue of the implementation of the Agenda 2063 (AU Vision). We agreed that without implementation, these visions will simply be heaps of paper.”

Mr Faki, who also met Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, said he would issue a statement at the end of his visit today.

He gave a public lecture at the Zimbabwe National Defence University titled ‘African Solutions to African Problems’.
Mr Faki said Africa was mature enough to solve its problems.

“I have come here to deepen democracy, strengthen the rule of law and ensure there is social and economic recovery,” he said during the lecture.

“In this exercise, Zimbabwe can rely on the support of the AU.”
Mr Faki also paid a private courtesy call on former President Cde Robert Mugabe at his house in Borrowdale, Harare.

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