Zimbabwe

ZEC - vote will be free and fair

2013-07-29 20:44
Rita Makarau

Rita Makarau

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Harare - Officials in Zimbabwe said on Monday a general election this week would be credible, attempting to dispel concerns of possible vote rigging and other violations.

"I am sure this will be a credible election, I have no nightmares," Rita Makarau, the head of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), said about the vote scheduled for 31 July.

Makarau told a press conference that enough ballot papers had been printed for the more than 6 million registered voters.

"We are 99% prepared for the elections," she said.

There has been concern that the elections were organised hastily, at the behest of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the head of the rival Movement for Democratic Change, had wanted the vote delayed.

Speaking in Harare at a large rally - his last before the election -Tsvangirai was critical of the ZEC, calling for its members to resign, arguing that the voter registration list was not being made available.

"The credibility of this election lies in the behaviour and conduct of ZEC. There are two days to go before voting and they are not up to that responsibility," he told thousands of cheering supporters wearing the trademark MDC red.

"With two days to go to the election, I, as a presidential candidate, don't have the voter roll," Tsvangirai said, also lashing out at the police forces for arrested key officials in his party.

He decried a "deliberate attempt to subvert the will of the people."

Limited monitors

At the press conference, ZEC was unable to answer questions about the voters roll. The registrar-general also declined to provide answers when pressed by journalists.

Aldo Dell'Ariccia, the head of the European Union delegation in Zimbabwe, said the preparation time for the elections was "extremely short" but was impressed that ballot papers were reaching the polling station on time.

"We hope that Zimbabweans will be able to make their choice of their candidate," he said, noting that European monitors were not invited to observe the elections. Instead, limited numbers of embassy staff will monitor the vote, alongside African observers.

The EU diplomat said the bloc would be willing to work with any government formed as a result of free, fair and peaceful elections.

Following the violent and disputed election in 2008, regional powers pushed Zanu-PF and then opposition party MDC into a shaky coalition government rife with mistrust.

The 89-year-old Mugabe and Tsvangirai, 61, are again contesting the presidential office. The MDC leader is touting himself as a reformist candidate who will bring change to the country which has been run by Mugabe since independence in 1980.

If there is not outright winner in the first round - with results expected to be announced within five days of polls closing - a second round is scheduled for September.

Mugabe has expressed confidence in a first round win.

Read more on:    zec  |  rita makarau  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe elections 2013

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