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Zimbabwe Minister Rejects Calls For Invitation of International Election Observers

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Zimbabwe has rejected calls to invite international observers to monitor crucial elections expected to be called sometime this year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said countries that imposed “illegal” sanctions on Zimbabwe will not be invited to observe the crunch election pitting arch-rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Speaking with reporters in Harare on Monday morning, Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe will only allow observers from the Southern African Development Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, African Union, and other “less hostile” countries to monitor the polls.

Mumbengegwi, who is also a Zanu-PF official, said observers for the March 16 referendum have already been invited, whereas those for the general elections will be informed when the date is set.

Responding to similar sentiments expressed by Vice President Joyce Mujuru recently, the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change said Zanu-PF officials had no mandate to make decisions without consulting other parties within the unity government.

Reached for comment, Carl Skau, acting head of European Union delegation to Zimbabwe, said although the EU has never imposed itself on observing electoral processes in Zimbabwe, an invitation to do so will be most welcome.

For perspective, we reached political analyst and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Thabani Nyoni, who said Zimbabwe should invite the EU and America if the country has nothing to hide.
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