UK warns Zim on poll observers

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BRITISH Ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert has warned that results of Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections faced the risk of losing international credibility if the country barred international observers from overseeing the process.

REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Bronnert said Zimbabwe should invite international observers from around the globe to give credibility to the polls, but however, emphasised the prerogative was still on Zimbabwe to choose whom to invite.

Bronnert’s utterances came barely a day after Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe would not invite Western countries to observe the forthcoming referendum and elections until sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and top Zanu PF members have been unconditionally lifted.

Mumbengegwi said the European Union (EU) was hostile to Zimbabwe hence would not be invited to take part in any of the country’s democratic processes.

But Bronnert said it would be a shame if the country failed to invite the EU which has independent and experienced observers who have been involved in international missions worldwide.

“If Zimbabwe wants to run a free and fair election I think it will be very powerful to have outsiders coming saying this is a free and fair election,” Bronnert said.

“Zimbabweans should be able to exercise their democratic right to vote in the up-coming referendum and elections without fear and without intimidation.”

She said her country would decide on whether to provide funding for elections after a needs assessment exercise has been carried out.

Finance minister Tendai Biti and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa were tasked with securing $250 million required for both the referendum and harmonised elections.

Bronnert said Britain would monitor developments in the country and would only decide to assist if they were assured of “value for money”.

“Considering our commitment to using the restrictive measures to support the process for free and fair elections, we will continue to expect to carefully review all listings and suspensions. Our aim remains clear: we want to support the process towards a constitutional referendum ahead of free and fair elections in 2013,” she said. Regional and International Co-operation minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga this week lashed out at Vice-President Joice Mujuru for saying Zimbabwe would not invite foreign observers.

Britain has continued to bankroll several developmental projects in Zimbabwe even after imposition of sanctions by the EU bloc over a decade ago.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The EU, US and any of those countries that preach democracy that they do not practice should never be allowed to observe or be involved in Zimbabwe’s elections. It is clear that their preferred winner in any election in the MDC for the simply reason that they hope that the MDC will reverse Zimbabwe’s land reforms.

    So if you favour a certain outcome, it is tantamount to rigging the elections. There can be no free and fair elections if the likes of US and EU have imposed sanctions or whatever they prefer to call them on any of the contesting parties. The imposition of sanctions on President Mugabe and ZANU (PF) is a clear directive to voters not to vote those people. As far as I am concerned, President Mugabe and ZANU (PF) still have a huge following in the country, despite the spin from their detractors.

    So yes, the Foreign Minister is right in not inviting the EU and US. In any case, Zimbabwe has never observed their elections.

  2. Zimbabwe has never observed western elections for the simple reason those countries do not rig results and kill opponents. The grown-up world has moved on from tired rhetoric, Peter.

  3. The sunctions are for individuals SO LET THEM STAY what will the ordinary Zimbo gain when they are removed anywhere. How can one individual amass billions of USA dollars in such short periods. How much do they earn these Zanu MAFIAS?
    They are forcing the nation against our will wait for general elections they will be shocked and die. I bet you they will be a mass grave for those SHARKS as what Tekere use to call them.

  4. It is high time that Africa be self reliant ,what do u mean by international observers ,any observer from Africa is not international until he comes from Britain or US aahh!!!! be serious Africans ,as long AU oks our elections then we a home and dry ,was Zimbabwe invited to observe elections in either US or Britain

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