By Adane Bikila
Addis Ababa — THE African Union Commission (AUC) has deployed an electoral assistance mission to Zimbabwe ahead of general polls set for July 30.
The mission has been deployed in response to the request for technical assistance made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) during the visit to the Southern African country by AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Robert Gerenge, AUC Principal Advisor at the AUC Department of Political Affairs, said the main objective of the five-member mission already in Zimbabwe was to assist ZEC in organising democratic, credible and peaceful elections.
This, he said, was in line with international, continental and regional norms, standards and values.
“The mission will focus on capacity building training for the EMB personnel on various aspects of electoral operations,” Gerenge said in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the AUC is headquartered.
Furthermore, the technical support will include training in management of postal votes and elections of special seats for People Living with Disability and traditional leaders.
The AUC’s deployment of mission comes amid vast interest by the international community to monitor Zimbabwe’s eagerly-anticipated poll.
Observers from the Western countries, who had been barred from previous polls by the administration of the deposed veteran, Robert Mugabe, have been invited.
Following his ouster by the military last November, this will be the first election Mugabe will not participate in since independence in 1980.