THE European Union (EU) says it plans to deploy at least 140 observers for the July 30 elections, the largest contingent from the bloc in almost two decades.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
EU election observer mission spokesperson, Eberhard Laue, in a statement yesterday said close to 50 observers were already in the country with more expected soon.
“We are looking at assembling a team of 140, but we are yet to reach that number. We are still mobilising; once we get the final figure, we will let you know,” Laue said.
This came as the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute also announced that they had assembled a 14-member long-term observers team to be deployed in various parts of the country beginning today.
Several other foreign observer missions are expected to arrive ahead of the polls, the first post-independence elections without 94-year-old Robert Mugabe as a presidential candidate.
Mugabe’s successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged free and fair elections and opened the door for the international community to observe the elections. The last contingent to observe Zimbabwe’s elections on behalf of the EU had its head of mission, Pierre Schori, deported in 2002 on the eve of presidential elections that were later condemned as flawed.
In the intervening years, the EU did not send missions to subsequent polls in Zimbabwe.