MATABELELAND-BASED civil society organisation, Habakkuk Trust, has deployed long-term observers ahead of this year’s general elections.
BY SILAS NKALA
This follows President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledge to ensure free and fair elections this year and guarantees that local and international observers would be given a free rein before, during and after the polls, which he said would be held between July and August this year.
To date, over 120 political parties have registered to contest in the polls, where Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa have been touted as the main contenders.
Habakkuk Trust recently conducted a one-day long-term observer training workshop for its staff in Bulawayo, which was attended by participants from Matobo and Gwanda districts.
“In December last year, a total of 80 long-term observers were trained and deployed to cover over 25 wards in Matobo, Umzingwane and Gwanda districts. The recent training workshop was conducted to cover deployment gaps that remained from the last training,” the trust said.
“A total of 14 participants drawn from 14 wards from Matobo and Gwanda were trained and deployed as long-term observers in these districts. The participants received training on the legal framework surrounding the ongoing biometric voter registration process and the voter inspection exercise, which is set to follow soon.”
The organisation said participants were further trained on Southern African Development Community principles and guidelines on free and fair elections and other constitutional rights and freedoms that relate to elections.
“Electoral knowledge imparted to the participants was aimed at facilitating deployment of well- informed long-term observers, who will, in turn, produce quality observation reports,” Habakkuk Trust said.
“Zimbabwe is set to hold its elections within the next few months and the presence of long-term observers well before time is of vital importance.
“Previous elections have been marred by violence, intimidation, vote-buying and other various electoral malpractices.
“Deploying long-term observers will help to deter malpractices in electoral processes by exposing them as they happen through reports.”