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Zimbabwe invites 46 countries to observe August polls

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The Zimbabwean government has invited 46 countries and 17 continental and regional bodies to observe the Aug. 23 harmonized elections, a government official has said.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Livit Magejo told the government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that all the 51 embassies and nine consulates accredited to Zimbabwe had been invited to observe the polls.

Prior to this, only diplomats accredited on a full-time basis observed the elections.

Some political parties from the region have also been invited, Magejo said.

The invitations were in line with the government’s drive to re-engage the international community and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call for a credible and violence-free election, the paper said.

Mnangagwa has, however, said that foreign missions were being invited to participate as observers, and not as monitors.

Magejo said his ministry had invited all the 15 Southern African Development Community countries, the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth.

“We have also invited several countries in Europe and the Americas such as Russia, Belarus, the UK, USA, as well as many from the Caribbean, the Pacific and Asia,” said Magejo. “The ministry also invited several liberation movements such as the African National Congress (of South Africa), Chama cha Mapinduzi (of Tanzania), and the South West Africa People’s Organization (of Namibia).”

“Also, note that all diplomatic missions accredited to Zimbabwe will be accredited to observe our elections,” he said.

The EU and the U.S. had not observed elections in Zimbabwe since 2002 following a diplomatic fallout caused by Zimbabwe’s land reforms under which the government expropriated land from white farmers and parceled it out to formerly landless blacks. This, however, changed in 2018 when Mnangagwa invited them to that year’s polls as he pushed for his re-engagement process with the international community. Enditem

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