The head of the African Union-Comesa election observer mission to Zimbabwe, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has commended Zimbabwe on the significant progress made in ensuring the hosting of free and transparent elections on Wednesday.
The AU-Comesa mission met Foreign Affairs and International Trade Permanent Secretary Ambassador James Manzou yesterday where they briefed him on their observations.
Former President Jonathan commended Zimbabwe on opening the doors for observers from all over the world.
“Elections in Africa, especially south of the Sahara, are quite challenging. Some countries are doing better than others. Zimbabwe is trying. We are not saying they have reached the 100 percent mark but this is from our observations. In this case we look at the issue of security, neutrality of the security agencies, the issue of confidence in the electoral management body, ZEC, and the activities of the political actors.
“So far, there have been incidents but they are not too many and we believe that if it continues that way the elections on Wednesday will be successful,” he said.
He said it was the mission’s hope that the elections are credible, transparent, inclusive and met all the laws of Zimbabwe and guidelines from the various bodies like Comesa, AU and international election standards.
“We believe the country will meet them. And we believe that for a country that is under sanctions, getting to this level is impressive.
“We are happy they have even opened their doors for observers from every country in the world that has applied.
“That is an indication that the country wants to do the best. I congratulate the good people of Zimbabwe for getting to this level of another round of general elections and it is our prayer that elections are successful,” Former President Jonathan added.
Ambassador Manzou assured the mission that the Ministry would be available to ensure that all observer missions have access to areas they wanted to cover.
He said Zimbabwe had nothing to hide as was evidenced by the invitation to all observers from a broad range of organisations, including the Commonwealth.
“Zimbabwe is not yet a member of the Commonwealth but we opened our doors for them if they want to observe our elections.
“The same applies to all other organisations. Some of the countries may have imposed sanctions on us but we want them to come and observe Zimbabwean democracy at work,” he said.
Amb Manzou said the country was ready for the elections and preparations were going on very well.
“Campaigns have been going on in a peaceful and calm environment. President Mnangagwa has used every opportunity to call for peace; peace before the elections, during the elections and after the elections. Our electoral body, ZEC, has fulfilled all the constitutional requirements for the holding of elections and it is ready to conduct a successful election,” he added.
He assured the mission that observers were free to observe elections from anywhere across the country.