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UN Extends Election Reform Technical Assistance to Harare

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Zanu PF's Robert Mugabe. (AP Photos/Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo)

The founding president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, says the Zimbabwe Electoral commission (ZEC) has engaged the United Nations to assist with electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 elections.

UN Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe, Bishow Parajuli, and ZEC chairperson, Rita Makarau, were not available for comment. The United Nations has advertised the job of a technical specialist responsible for elections. The relationship between the UN and Zimbabwe on elections has always been rocky.

In 2000, the United Nations announced that it was no longer taking part in the monitoring of the general elections in Zimbabwe following a disagreement between the UN and the Zimbabwe government. The UN said Harare had tried to force it to accept a lesser role in monitoring the poll.

Harare and the UN clashed again in 2013 after President Robert Mugabe rejected attempts by the United Nations to assess the nation’s political, legal, institutional, technical and electoral systems.

This after Zimbabwe had requested for over US$225 million from the United Nations Development Program to fund the constitutional referendum and general elections. The United Nations ended up not releasing the funds.

Tsvangirai told VOA in an exclusive interview that Zimbabwe is suffering because of a crisis of legitimacy brought about by contested elections.

Interview With Morgan Tsvangirai
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