The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Zimbabwe yesterday deployed 46 long term observers ahead of the August 23 harmonised elections.
Deputy chief observer Beata Martin-Rozumiłowicz told our sister company ZiFM Stereo the EU’s interest was not only in Zimbabwe but in all countries the bloc has a relationship with.
The observers will be in the country’s 10 provinces and will cover the rural and urban areas.
Local observers and those from foreign embassies in Zimbabwe and any country in Africa, among others were, last month invited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to apply for accreditation.
The deployment of observers by the EU EOM comes as political temperatures are rising so is political intolerance in the homestretch as elections are always viewed as a zero sum game.
To their credit, the main political protagonists, President Emmerson Mnangagwa representing the governing Zanu PF and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa are preaching a violent free campaign.
This was amplified this week with a trending picture of Nyanga South parliamentary candidates Supa Mandiwanzira and CCC’s Ruxandra McCormick all smiling.
Despite the political maturity displayed by the Nyanga South protagonists, work is cut out for the observer missions amid vandalism on posters as rivals tussle for control, a misplaced thinking which overlooks the notion that the mandate comes from the people on August 23.
It is no longer business as usual for all the actors involved in the election processes. The messaging from political parties will be closely watched. The police will be under scrutiny as they approve or disapprove rallies.
The coverage by the media will also be under the microscope with the CCC saying it was getting the short end of the stick in coverage by the public media.
There will be accusations of bias. These accusations have been there every time the “silly season” of elections beckons.
On our part, we will give all the players the platform to sell their ideas to the electorate. Their manifestoes should be the ones doing the bidding, and, the one that appeals to the electorate garners the most votes.
Violence and intimidation, the rulebook in previous polls, have no place in the August polls. Members should take a cue from party leaders on the observance of peace in the run up to the elections.
Zimbabwe cannot continue to be the “bad boy” of the region and associated with disputed polls.
The region cannot afford another summit on Zimbabwe. There are topical issues the region has to contend with such as the effects of climate change and food shortages triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war.