ZANU PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered visiting foreign observer missions to familiarise themselves with the country’s electoral laws and political environment to avoid producing biased assessment reports.
Addressing mourners at the burial of national hero John Chimbandi at the national heroes’ shrine in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa also claimed that some unnamed syndicates were sabotaging government’s efforts to address cash shortages in the economy by exporting the cash soon after it was pumped into the economy.
“Allow me to encourage those who are coming to observe our elections to acquaint themselves with our electoral laws and institutional arrangements so that they honestly determine and weigh any demands and complaints from whatever quarter against reasonableness in terms of our law,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who is desperately seeking to legitimise his rule after using the military to oust former President Robert Mugabe from power last November, has opened the doors for several foreign observer missions including those from western countries to monitor elections scheduled for July 30.
His call for objectivity among observer missions came after two international pre-election observer missions last week released a damning report, in which they ruled out free and fair polls citing several outstanding electoral reforms demanded by the opposition.
Mnangagwa, however, said Zimbabwe was in a new era characterised by democracy and the holding of free and fair elections, although the opposition and some diplomats have accused him of making empty promises.
“As we head towards the harmonised general elections scheduled for the 30th of July 2018, we are determined to show the world that the time of democracy has come of age and is mature through peaceful, democratic, transparent free, fair and credible election process,” he said.
The MDC Alliance last week held a protest march in Harare as part of efforts to pressure government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to implement a raft of reforms including transparency in the printing and storage of ballot material, demilitarisation of the electoral management body and equal access to public media.
Mnangagwa also pleaded with local banks to reduce their charges to encourage depositors to use the formal banking system.
“We urge all stakeholders to ensure that the transacting public is not punished through excessive charges for the use of plastic money and electronic transactions. My government is prepared to deal with corruption in the financial sector,” he said.