Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The Sadc Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC), which is in Zimbabwe on a week-long pre-election assessment, says it is ready to assist Zimbabwe with technical support to conduct an uncontested poll.
The country’s harmonised elections are constitutionally due before the end of August.
The visit is in line with Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Democratic Elections and fulfils President Mnangagwa’s pledge of free, fair and credible elections.
Yesterday, the SEAC team led by its chairman Advocate Leshele Thohlane met Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Dr Sibusiso Busi Moyo (Retired) to apprise him of its mission and terms of reference.
Speaking during the meeting, Adv Thohlane said after the assessment, they will submit a detailed report to Sadc Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax for onward submission to the regional bloc’s chairman.
“I would like to welcome you and offer you our assistance and also offer our technical abilities, (and) where need (be), to cooperate fully with the ministry,” said Adv Thohlane.
“We wanted here (to pay) a courtesy call and at the same time to set you our terms of reference that we should come and assess the state of readiness as far as the preparations of the elections are concerned, and that state of assessment we will be doing by interacting with all the stakeholders starting from today until the end of the week. Those stakeholders include a number of political stakeholders, the media; the other sectors that are there that are involved in the management of elections,” he said.
After the meetings, he said, SEAC will be able to gauge progress and report to the bloc.
“Out of that interaction, we will be able to assess how ready we think the republic is to hold elections and then we make a report that will go to the Executive Secretary.
“The Executive Secretary will in turn communicate to the head of the Summit, who will then, in turn, commission another mission that will be coming here during elections to come and do the observation.
“We are happy and we hope we will be able to spend the whole week interacting with everybody as it is.”
Minister Moyo said the team came at the opportune time as it would afford it time to offer the necessary technical support.
“You have come at the appropriate time even before there is any electoral proclamation so that you can understand and provide technical advice, which is critical to deliver what we desire as a Government: to deliver a very credible and free and fair and transparent election,” said Lt-Gen Moyo (Rtd).
“In our culture, we believe that Sadc is the most critical organisation and, therefore, we want to get as much technical support and technical advice as is possible so that we have that ability to deliver.”
SEAC is the first international team to visit the country ahead of the harmonised elections.
It is understood that similar missions from the African Union and the European Union, among other key organisations, are expected to visit the country soon.
The delegation also met National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda and Senate president Edna Madzongwe.