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Government bars ZCTU from polls
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
March 16, 2005

GOVERNMENT has not invited the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to observe the March 31 parliamentary elections because the umbrella labour body is highly partisan and political.

However, a total of 8 548 local observers from 29 non-partisan organisations have been invited to observe the poll.

In a related matter, the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Observer Mission arrived in the country yesterday, joining other foreign observer missions from the South African Government and Parliament.

The local observers were invited by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

In a statement yesterday, Justice Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the observers were drawn from more than 29 non-partisan civic organisations.

"In extending invitations to observe the forthcoming general election, a principle that I have had to observe is not to invite organisations which already have biased and preconceived ideas about the outcome of the elections to be held on March 31, 2005.

"On the basis of this principle, I have not invited the ZCTU to act as observes. This is because the ZCTU is too partisan and too active a player in the Zimbabwean politics to be trusted to act as an observer and to make an objective assessment of the current processes leading up to the 31st March, 2005," Cde Chinamasa said.

The minister said the ZCTU had, over the years, acted in league with external forces, in particular the British Government and Labour Party, causing the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

"ZCTU’s secretary-general, Wellington Chibebe, has been a regular feature at British Labour Party annual conferences and he has used that platform to call for the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe, international isolation of the country and the illegal removal of the legitimate Government," he said.

Cde Chinamasa added that the ZCTU has also worked hand in glove with the Congress of South African Trade Unions in an attempt to effect a blockade of Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa.

Notable organisations among those invited are the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Law Society of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Affirmative Action Group, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Centre for Peace Initiatives in Southern Africa and the Southern African Institute for Democracy and Good Governance.

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