By Farirai Machivenyika
The African Union Election Observation Mission has urged parties aggrieved by the country’s electoral processes to seek legal recourse in accordance with the law.
It also called on all political parties to participate in the elections to allow Zimbabweans to elect a leader of their choice.
This was said by former Ethiopian prime minister and head of the AU Mission Mr Haile Mariam Desalegne at the launch of its observation mission for the harmonised elections to be held next Monday.
Mr Desalegne said his mission would be guided by the country’s legal framework. The advice from the AU follows similar recommendations by the Sadc Elections Observer Mission that all disputes of an administrative nature should be resolved through the courts.
“I think every party taking part in this election has to follow the legal processes and frameworks that are set in place to petition as well as present their grievances and get resolutions accordingly.
“So, I think that is the most important thing that has to be followed and we will see how these processes are working, but any grievances have to be presented according to the legal frameworks that are set in place this moment.
“We encourage every party to follow through those legal frameworks and processes to come up through the processes of this elections.
“This is how we want to encourage every party which you have mentioned to follow through those processes,” he said.
Responding on threats by the MDC-Alliance to boycott the elections, Mr Desalegne urged all the parties to participate in the elections and to take the legal route if they have any issues.
“We encourage the opposition party members and MDC-Alliance to take part in this process and follow the legal frameworks that are set in place for (addressing) their grievances and put their questions regarding the process,” he said.
The AU Election Observation Mission leader said the environment prevailing so far had allowed them to carry out their work without hindrance, adding they would focus on whether the electoral process being carried out conformed to the country’s laws.
“The environment so far is helping to observe these processes and we will continue with the environment that the country has. So we focus on the legal frameworks, the principles, and the Constitution of the land, other legal frameworks that are in place (and) follow those things so that our observation will be objective in terms of those legal frameworks,” he added.
On threats by MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa that he would not accept any result that does not declare him a winner, Mr Desalegne said it was up to Zimbabweans to elect a leader of their choice, saying their task was to ensure that the elections were held in a peaceful, transparent and credible manner.