EU deploys 140 election observers; initial team to start work Saturday

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By Staff Reporter

THE European Union (EU) has deployed a 44 member election observer advance team to all the country’s districts and provinces ahead of the arrival of another contingent of 100 more expected a few days before the polls.

This is the first time Harare has received EU election observers since 2002 when Harare expelled a team lead by Pierre Schori. The EU was to slap Harare with sanctions over alleged property and human rights violations.

The human rights violations accusations came after the former President Robert Mugabe administration had embarked on a chaotic land reform program that drove away former white commercial farmers off their land without compensation and unleashed mayhem of opposition members.

The former long serving Zimbabwean leader, however, denied the allegations and justified the controversial land reform saying that it was meant to redress colonial land imbalances.

In a statement Friday, the EU Harare embassy said the western bloc was on Saturday deploying an advance team of 44 election observers. 

“The 44 long-term observers of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe will be deployed throughout the country on Saturday morning from the Holiday Inn Hotel, Harare,” said the EU.

“Observers will be present in the EU EOM mission outfit with the EU EOM logo and will be leaving in a convoy from the Holiday Inn Hotel,” the EU announced.

The EU also told a local private daily newspaper that they were going to deploy another 100 election observers during the election time.

“We are looking at assembling a team of 140, but we are yet to reach that number. We are still mobilizing; once we get the final figure, we will let you know,” EU election observer mission spokesperson, Eberhard Laue, was quoted as saying.

President Emerson Mnangagwa has also invited America to observe the July 30 election which he has promised to be held in a free, fair environment.