Back to Index
Concern over election observers delay
February 14, 2005
- The government of Zimbabwe says it will reduce the number of local
election monitors and bar teams from the European Union (EU) from
observing the parliamentary poll scheduled for 31 March.
the justice, legal and parliamentary affairs minister, told IRIN
there was a need to reduce the number of observers to avoid "chaos",
and alleged that observer teams from the EU had tried to destabilise
the country in the past.
to limit the number of observers because we do not want a situation
where 100 people come to disturb the polling process on the pretext
of observing it," Chinamasa said, adding that the country was
in the process of sending invitations for election observer missions
to Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and members
of the African Union (AU).
spokesperson Pavelyn Musaka was quoted by news agencies as saying
that Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland were
among the countries that "should not bother" sending teams
and opposition politicians have warned that the exclusion of some
foreign teams, as well as reducing the number of local observers,
only served to increase concern regarding the electoral process
a Johannesburg-based Zimbabwean political analyst, accused the government
of barring some observer teams so it could hide irregularities in
the electoral system.
for the elections have been done under grossly unfair laws that
curtail the freedoms of the people. Therefore, the need for impartial
election observer teams should be emphasized, as a way of keeping
a check on the conduct of the poll. However, the exclusion of some
local and EU teams undermines an election whose outcome is already
dubious," said Molokele.
He said the
impartiality of the selected teams was doubtful. "They will
most likely invite teams from the African Union and the Pacific
countries because most of them are sympathetic to the ZANU-PF government.
There is also a high possibility that local observer teams will
[consist] of government sympathisers," he said.
the government of deliberate tardiness in issuing invitations to
observer missions, to prevent them from making an accurate assessment
of conditions in the country in the run-up to elections.
observers should be in Zimbabwe by now, but the government is deliberately
delaying their invitations and arrival, so that they may not see
what has been done wrongly. SADC is not doing enough to push Zimbabwe
to comply with the regional electoral guidelines, which should be
guiding the preparations right now," he alleged.
So far only
South Africa has announced its readiness to deploy a parliamentary
team to observe the elections. President Thabo Mbeki this week called
for the urgent deployment of an SADC team that would have the authority
to intervene, in order to create a climate conducive to free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe.
has voiced its disquiet over the Zimbabwe government's delays in
granting permission to a team of lawyers and a troika of SADC leaders
- South African President Thabo Mbeki, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha
Mosisili and outgoing Namibian President Sam Nujoma - which should
have visited the country last month to check on its compliance with
regional electoral guidelines.
has not cleared the teams and we are getting concerned," an
official from the ministry of foreign affairs was quoted as saying
in the Business Day newspaper on Monday.
South Africa's tripartite alliance partners, the ruling African
National Congress, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
and the South African Communist Party, stressed the need for observers
to be deployed in Zimbabwe at the earliest opportunity.
agreed to send observer teams from the Southern African Trade Union
Coordinating Council with the SADC observer team. However, political
analysts said it was highly unlikely that members of COSATU, which
Zimbabwe maintains has a political agenda, would be allowed in as
part of the regional labour body's team.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.