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Pressure mounts over poll monitors


AN elections pressure group has launched an online petition to lobby President Robert Mugabe to allow international observers to monitor this year’s elections.

Report by Pamela Mhlanga

Free and Fair Zimbabwe launched the petition on Sunday and by midday yesterday, 212 people had signed the form.

Most of those who have signed are Zimbabweans based in the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.

Kerry Kay from Harare said it was vital to have international observers in Zimbabwe to prevent Zanu PF’s record of rigging and violence from resurfacing again in the coming elections.

“I want a credible new government in Zimbabwe, so international observance and endorsement is essential,” she said.

Reverend Andrew Moyo, who was born in Bulawayo but now lives in South Africa, said the restoration of Zimbabwe could only happen when people “emerged out of darkness, secrecy or privacy of everything” in the country.

“Zimbabwe needs peace and freedom and, above all, to move out of fear,” he said.
“Everyone fears even those in government, that is why they want secrecy and that is why they are fighting everyone.”

Moyo said by allowing international observers, Zimbabwe would get an opportunity to prove that it was free from corruption, terror, hate speech, brutality by the police and rigged elections.

“As a Zimbabwean, I want the elections to be accepted internationally and without independent external observers this will be impossible,” Graham Crouch, who is based in Tanzania, said.

“Also the past record of election rigging in Zimbabwe must never be repeated.”
Mugabe has in the past said he would only allow observers from Sadc and African Union countries, effectively shutting the door on monitors from Western countries, which he accuses of trying to unseat him.

Mary Abbot, who is now based in the United Kingdom, said she wished to return to Zimbabwe, but would only do so after the country held free and fair elections.
“I want to go home and die in the country of my birth,” she wrote on the petition.

“I cannot do that until there are free and fair elections and the country gets a leader that will truly cherish Zimbabwe for the great nation and country that it is.”
Leila Sinclair-Bright, also in the UK, said Mugabe had been preaching peace this year and he had to ensure that peace prevailed during the polls.

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