Zimbabwe election chaos: Mnangagwa’s government rubbishes observers’ preliminary findings

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi

GOVERNMENT has dismissed preliminary reports by some observer missions alleging that Zimbabwe’s elections this week were compromised.

This comes after the SADC and European Union (EU) observer missions yesterday released preliminary reports that were strikingly similar, prompting the Government to believe they were sentiments of some of the candidates in the poll.

Addressing a Press briefing yesterday, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said observer missions should stick to their mandate and not seek to tarnish the country’s image.

“When observers come to our country to observe elections, they have not come here to rewrite our laws,” he said.

“We have a Constitution that dictates what we are supposed to do, observers are there to follow whether our processes are within the confines of our laws.

“It is important to note that when observers come to the country, their mandate is limited to fact-finding related to the specific poll and not to a collection of grievances as witnessed in the report by SADC and EU. So, when we request our friends and other countries to come and observe our elections, they must be objective and pinpoint things that will enrich our democracy rather than becoming a tool to attack our sovereignty.”

Minister Ziyambi said the Government always welcomed progressive comments that were aimed at strengthening the country’s systems, institutions and processes as this was in line with Vision 2030.

He said it was scandalous that the observer missions were concerned that the country did not have hom0sexuɑl candidates when no one had been asked to reveal their sǝxuɑl orientation on submission of nomination papers.

Minister Ziyambi said the Government strongly objected to statements that deviated from the defined mandate and code of conduct of observers.

“Since independence, we have religiously held elections when they are due and we believe that some of those who want to teach us about democracy can actually get lessons from us. Zimbabwe is a peaceful nation, which is an essential ingredient for holding a credible election,” he added.

Minister Ziyambi said comments by the observer missions on the delimitation process, participation of women in the election and the extension of elections for polling stations where ballot papers were not received on time, was evidence that they had not done any research to determine the country’s true position.

He dismissed the comments that there was no freedom of expression in the country and mention of “the so-called Patriotic Act.”

“There is no such thing that was enacted in Zimbabwe, we amended the Criminal Code to criminalise conduct whereby if you are a Zimbabwean and engage foreign government with the intention of injuring the sovereignty of Zimbabwe or trade restrictions are imposed on the country, that is what was criminalised,” he said

Minister Ziyambi said it was unfair for observers to attack state media for their coverage of the pre-election period as it was not the media’s mandate to seek interviews from political parties.

“It is my grave concern that the EU has heavily relied on what appears to be the position of the CCC in attacking our democracy, our laws and our sovereignty,” he said. “When we state that we are an enemy of none, it does not mean we are blind to the machinations of some elements that have imposed sanctions on us. And it is our sincere belief that we are moving forward towards re-engagement in earnest.”

— Herald

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