Observers ‘cautiously optimistic’ about free and fair elections in Zimbabwe

2013-07-30 16:20

Observers are cautiously optimistic that Zimbabwe’s elections tomorrow will be free and fair, a snap survey by City Press has revealed.

A Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer representing Tanzania said “the temperature is cool. People are anxiously waiting for the polling day. There was a lot of anxiety during campaigning, but things look okay.”

He said the stamp “free and fair” will be issued conclusively after the election.

Another observer from Botswana who has been deployed to Glenville, north west of Harare, said the problem was that both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai claimed that they will win the polls.

“These can flare up tempers and breed violence.” Other than this, he said things looked calm. “The concern is that there were no ballot papers and there was no voters’ role. Otherwise, people are ready to run and the process has been very calm.”

The same sentiments were shared by another SADC observer who didn’t want to reveal his country. “It is very calm, which is the most important thing. What we are noticing is that all is set for tomorrow. I have no concerns at all.”

The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States has also sent an observer mission to Zimbabwe. One of its representatives said the situation was calm, a far cry from what it was in 2008. “We have a meeting with the African Union’s Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been here for some time.

He will brief us on what he has seen. But so far, it looks peaceful, which is good for the people and everybody.

“There is not much intimidation and people are ready to vote,” said another observer, who refused to reveal his country. The observer, who will be manning polling stations in central Harare, said “the only concerns we had was that election posters were too close to some polling stations and we removed them. I really haven’t met anyone who says they won’t vote.”

» Follow our team’s daily coverage from Zimbabwe here and on Twitter @City_Press

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