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2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles
statement of the African Union Observer Mission
June 29, 2008
to an invitation from the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe,
the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Jean Ping,
appointed and sent an Observer Mission to Zimbabwe to observe the
Presidential Run-off and House of Assembly by-elections conducted
on 27 June 2008. In accepting the invitation, the African Union
was mindful of the fact that the conclusion of the electoral process
which started with the March 29th Harmonized elections was of paramount
importance for the consolidation of democratic governance and the
enhancement of the rule of law in the country.
Mission is led by H.E. Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, former President of
the Republic of Sierra Leone. Other members of the mission include
Pan-African Parliamentarians, high officials of election management
bodies (EMBs), prominent individuals and members of civil society
organizations (CSOs) drawn from various African countries. The Mission
also includes a support team of officials and technical personnel
from the African Union Commission.
in Harare between 15 and 21 June 2008, the Observer Mission, in
accordance with African Union Election Observation Guidelines proceeded
to meet and consult with various stakeholders of the electoral process,
including officials of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC),
officials of the principal competing political parties and members
of other election observer groups.
Union Mission noted with concern the withdrawal
of the MDC-T candidate on the 22nd June 2008. This unexpected development
led the African Union Mission to undertake a number of contacts
with the judiciary authorities of Zimbabwe to seek clarification
of the legal
implications of the withdrawal.
the AU Observer Mission deployed its members to the following provinces:
Harare, Midlands, Mashonaland East, West and Central, Bulawayo,
Matebeleland North and South, Manicaland and Masvingo. As members
of a neutral and non-partisan mission, AU observers went out to
make an honest, independent, impartial and objective observation
and assessment of both the political environment and the actual
organization and conduct of the elections.
In the light
of these consultations and observations, the African Union Observer
Mission to the Zimbabwe Presidential Run-Off and House of Assembly
By-Elections notes that:
- The poll
was peaceful and held in accordance with the electoral laws of
- There was
violence in the run down to the elections;
- The fear
of violence deterred popular participation in the electoral process;
- There was
no equitable access to the Public Media.
backdrop of the foregoing factors, in the context of the AU Declaration
on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, it is
the considered view of the African Union Observer Mission that the
Election process fell short of accepted AU standards.
Union Observer Mission is however encouraged that both parties have
shown willingness to engage in constructive dialogue as a way forward
for ensuring peace, stability and development in Zimbabwe.
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