Head of the European Union Election Observation Mission, Mr Fabio Castaldo, yesterday said his team is in Zimbabwe to observe and not supervise the harmonised elections slated for Wednesday.
Mr Castaldo said this during the deployment of a team of 44 short-term observers across the country.
The group is the third contingent, following the core team and 46 long-term observers, which arrived in the country in July.
“EU observers will be visiting many polling stations from the opening to the closing of the polls and follow also the collation of results. They will, however, not interfere in the process. They are here to observe and not to supervise”, said Mr Castaldo.
“Although election day is an important element of our observation, the EU EOM is in Zimbabwe to assess all aspects of the elections over the entire duration of the process, allowing for an impartial assessment of the entire election process.”
The EU EOM will comprise about 150 observers from all 27 member States, as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland. “The short-term observers will cover all 10 provinces in both urban and rural areas.”
Together with the other EU EOM observers they will be the eyes and the ears of the mission on election day during polling, counting and collation of results.
“They will also pay attention to the election environment,” said Mr Castaldo. Prior to their deployment, the short-term observers received a two-day briefing on the electoral background, voting procedures, the political environment, code of conduct and other topics.
Mr Castaldo is expected to present the initial findings and conclusions of the mission on Friday while the EU EOM will remain in Zimbabwe to observe also the post electoral environment and follow possible appeals and complaints.
A final report, with recommendations for future elections, will be published in October.
Last week, the EU EOM came under fire after some of its members reportedly rounded up Midlands-based journalists and pampered with gifts in exchange for negative coverage of the election process.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will hold free, fair and credible elections for itself, not to please any organisation from anywhere.
He has repeatedly said no one can lecture Zimbabwe about democracy since it fought a brutal war against the British colonisers to extricate itself from stinking dictatorship and discrimination perpetrated by the colonialists.