By Marcus Mushonga
Mvuma — Zimbabwe will invite international observers to monitor its elections later this year, signaling a shift in relations with Europe, whose observer missions the deposed administration of Robert Mugabe barred from attending.
The European Union (EU) have not been invited since 2000 when Mugabe accused Western nations of impartiality and using the opposition to effect regime change. This was in reaction to the EU slapping his government with sanctions for alleged electoral fraud and human rights violations.
Tensions have eased with new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa at the helm.
He has assured the international community of credible, free and fair elections scheduled for July, hence his pledge EU, Unites States of America (USA) and United Nations (UN) observers would be invited.
Addressing ruling party, Zanu-PF supporters in Mvuma, some 200km south of Harare, Mnangagwa also reiterated the call for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) to deploy observer teams.
“There is nothing to hide. We want a peaceful and a transparent election. There is no reason for Zanu-PF or any other political party to be violent,” Mnangagwa said.
He said the ruling party supporters should desist from violence against opposition activists.
His party, under Mugabe, has been accused of unleashing violence against the opposition to maintain a stranglehold on power since independence from Britain in 1980.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of ailing former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and National People’s Party (NPP) of Mugabe’s former Deputy, Joice Mujuru, are seen offering the biggest challenge to Zanu-PF.
Mnangagwa also extended an olive to the so-called Generation 40 (G40) faction of Zanu-PF to join the governing party but warned them to desist from sowing divisions.
The faction had been advocating for the then First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband, before he was pressured to resign last November.
During his address Mnangagwa also assured his administration would tackle corruption and revive the economy.