A JOINT African Union (AU) and COMESA team which is in the country on a pre-election assessment mission has commended Zimbabwe for the prevailing peace and tranquillity ahead of election day on August 23.
This comes as the Second Republic, led by President Mnangagwa, has made it abundantly clear that there is no room for violence in the country not only during the elections cycle but at all times.
A joint AU-Comesa task force yesterday met with the Zanu-PF leadership at the ruling party’s headquarters in Harare and is also scheduled to convene similar meetings with opposition political parties.
They have also met officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Attorney General’s office to assess the state of preparedness.
Speaking after the meeting, the AU’s Senior Advisor, Governance, and Peacebuilding in the Office of the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador William Awinador-Kanyirige, who is leading the delegation, said peaceful polls would only aid the country’s current growth trajectory.
Amb Awinador-Kanyirige said the electoral environment in Zimbabwe would not only influence stability in the country but also in the region and continent at large.
Ambassador William Awinador-Kanyirige
He said both the AU and Comesa were fully behind peace and stability during the election period.
“The good news is that we think as you move towards the elections there will be some interest in developments and we can only wish you Godspeed for a great Zimbabwe, Godspeed for Africa because a lot of things that we do will impact on the rest of Africa starting with this region and the rest of the continent. So, we wish you good luck. Meeting with Zanu-PF is part of the process of pre-election assessment.
“Yesterday we had a very rich briefing by ZEC and the Deputy Attorney General, having met Zanu-PF we look forward to meeting other political parties,” he said.
Amb Awinador-Kanyirige encouraged “competition” among political parties, saying healthy politics is key to sustained democracy.
“The message going out there is that Zimbabweans should go into the elections as a family.
“We wish Zanu-PF and your other political parties great competition during the election and very peaceful elections so that this country can occupy its rightful place as it is already working to do and hopefully turn that curve more easily than many think,” he said.
Zanu-PF Treasurer-General, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, said deliberations with the AU-Comesa observer mission were constructive.
“The Zanu-PF delegation has had a very fruitful engagement with the joint AU-Comesa technical team which has come to assess our preparedness for the harmonised elections and also to look at other issues relating to elections.
“The deliberations have been constructive, and we touched wide-ranging issues; what measures to take to consolidate our democracy and we advised them what we have done over the years.
“We also touched on the state of preparedness and that of our ZEC to run these elections.
“We touched on issues to do with conflict prevention, management, and resolution as well as whether or not we have a joint intra-party platform to handle issues which may arise to do with conflict,” he said.
Cde Chinamasa said the ruling party had notified the team that they were fully prepared for election day following the successful election campaign launch by the First Secretary, President Mnangagwa.
He informed them that the ruling party’s Government had instituted a level playing ground to ensure democracy prevails.
“We also touched on issues to do with electoral reform and we are very grateful that we have had this meeting, there is no aspect relating to electoral matters that we have not touched on from young people, their involvement in electoral processes, women’s involvement, people living with disabilities, media coverage for political parties during the elections, civil society, the security situation, PVO bill, so it has been a fruitful engagement.
“I want to thank the joint AU-Comesa delegation for visiting the headquarters of Zanu-PF,” he said.
Over 46 countries, as well as 17 continental and regional bodies, have been invited to observe the August 23 harmonised elections, in fulfillment of President Mnangagwa’s pledge to usher in a transparent, free, and fair election.
In addition, all 51 embassies and nine consulates accredited to Zimbabwe have received invitations for accreditation to observe the polls, marking a departure from the previous arrangement where only diplomats accredited on a full-time basis observed the polls.