Observe not monitor elections – govt lays down the law; signs agreement with EU

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By Darlington Gatsi

GOVERNMENT has blatantly told the European Union to “observe” and not “monitor” the August 23 general elections as the two signed an agreement that will pave the way for the latter to deploy more than 150 observers under strict conditions.

The agreement is a culmination of an invitation to the European bloc by Zimbabwe to observe the upcoming elections.

Administrative Arrangement (AA) will facilitate cooperation and an exchange between the government and European Union.

Speaking after the signing of the agreement, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amon Murwira subtly said observers should not meddle in Zimbabwe’s affairs.

“Since the advent of universal suffrage in 1980, it has been Zimbabwe’s practice to invite Foreign Governments and Organisations to observe its elections.

“In line with this tradition, and the Governments Engagement and Re-Engagement Policy, the Government of Zimbabwe is, once again, inviting international observers to witness the people of Zimbabwe exercise their sovereign right to freely elect a President, Members of the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament, and Local Government Representatives of their choice during these forthcoming Harmonized General Elections.

“Among other international organisations, European Union is one of the entities invited to observe the upcoming Harmonized Elections.

“An invitation was issued by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa to the European Union to observe the elections from the pre- election stage right through elections to the post-elections stage.

“I want to say the government of Zimbabwe is inviting all entities to come and observe the harmonised elections. The teams are however reminded that their purpose is solely to observe, not to monitor the election process,” said Murwira.

RELATED: EU accepts Zimbabwes invitation to observe 2023 harmonised elections

The European Union will observe elections for a second time running under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government after having previously been banned by late ruler Robert Mugabe.

EU observers will troop into the country early this month with another contingent expected later.

Murwira further read out law to the EU that the bloc should maintain its neutrality during elections.

“In this regard, I am pleased to inform that, the purpose of the Administrative Arrangement (AA) is to organize the relationship between the EU EOM and the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

“The EU EOM and its members will maintain strict impartiality, objectivity and independence in the conduct of their mandate.

“All EU EOM observers shall respect the Code of Conduct in terms of the First Schedule of the Zimbabwe Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13),”he said.