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EU poll team condemns violence, hails BVR

Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
THE European Union Election Observer Mission in Zimbabwe has condemned the terrorist attack on President Mnangagwa and senior Zanu-PF members during a rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo last month, which killed two people and injured 47 others.

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, head of EUOM Mr Elmar Brok also said a credible election was critical for Zimbabwe as it moves forward.

“Political campaigns are in full swing and I was saddened to hear about the June 23 incident at the Presidential rally in Bulawayo and my thoughts are with all those affected,” he said.

“There is no place for violence in an election. The creation of the brand-new biometric voters’ roll for the elections is welcomed. This has been a major effort by the ZEC. However, I understand that a number of issues relating to the roll have been evident during the process,” he said.

Mr Brok said he hoped ZEC would be inclusive in addressing some issues raised by other political players. He said ZEC chairwoman Justice Priscilla Chigumba was a capable lawyer sticking by the law.

“We have been on the ground since June 6 and the presence of the EU election observation mission demonstrates the European Union’s commitment to the conduct of peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Zimbabwe.

“In the past weeks, our observers have been meeting a broad range of stakeholders, including the election commission, political parties, candidates, civil society and media. The observers will remain in the field to observe the results processing and any post-election legal dispute,” he said.

Mr Brok said the July 30 harmonised elections were a critical test of Zimbabwe’s reform process.

“These elections are a critical test of Zimbabwe’s reform process and we will see with a lot of hope. Elections are an essential step in a long and challenging reform process.

“I believe also that reform process might change the attitude towards Zimbabwe and we want to be hopeful that this is possible, especially also for questions like sanctions, questions like investments in this country, questions of making it possible that Zimbabwe will overcome some serious economic problems, this is partly interconnected. Therefore, we hope that this reform process, including the elections, will be successful,” said Mr Brok.

He said they also discussed issues to do with the ballot paper.

“We have also discussed rumours about the ballot paper and other relations. My feeling is that citizens see these elections with much more positive attitude than it was in the past but it must be clarified that the security and that also the credibility of the reform process is seen also in this process from the very beginning. Free and fair elections are not only decided on election day, they are decided also in the weeks before.”

Mr Brok said they were going to issue a statement after the elections.

“In line with our usual practice, we will issue our statement of findings only after the election in order to reflect on the entire process up to that point,” he said.

“At this stage, I do not want to start offering assessment as it would be premature for me to do so. I want to stress here that in making our assessment, we will consider the environment and context for the polls alongside the process in and around the election,” said Mr Brok.

He said contesting parties were freely holding rallies.

Mr Brok came to the defence ZEC chairwoman Justice Chigumba, who has been a target of attacks by the MDC Alliance.

“It is clear that all parties have been allowed to hold rallies across the country and we hope the campaign will continue in this manner in the absence of violence. We will continue to follow and assess this.”

Mr Brok came to the defence ZEC chairwoman Justice Chigumba, who has been a target of attacks by the MDC Alliance.

“I heard that the head of ZEC is a very able lawyer and I have learnt that she knows very much the law and sticks to the law and I hope that this will be used in a way that lack of credibility does not arise,” said Mr Brok.

On whether he had come across complaints from the opposition on the observation of the printing and storage of ballot papers, Mr Brok referred the question to his deputy, Mr Mark Stevens, whom he said had observed more polls than him before.

Mr Stevens said procedures varied with each country and they were not standardis

Source :

The Herald

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