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The Elders in Zim to encourage credible elections

Former United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, who is leading a three-man delegation of The Elders, yesterday said they were in the country to encourage credible elections, at a time when the main opposition MDC Alliance declared a stalemate over the manner in which poll preparations are being done.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is mooting a vigil next week in protest over the manner in which Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is ignoring fundamental issues in the management of a credible election.

In an interview at State House after meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday morning, Annan said their role was to ensure peaceful and credible elections.

“We are here to encourage a peaceful and credible election,” Annan said.

The other members of the delegation are Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Lakhdar Brahimi, former Foreign Minister of Algeria and UN diplomat.

Speaking after his interface with the elders, Chamisa said the stalemate stays.

“The main issue for us which is the deal breaker is the issue of the ballot paper, its security (and) the issue of the printing of the ballot paper,” Chamisa said after his meeting with Annan.

“We clearly have declared that we have a process stalemate. We have a process crisis, we have an election crisis.

“We also raised the fundamental issue of the design of the polling station which Zec is indicating would want to
change so that they undermine secrecy and privacy of the voter. We have raised it with the elders.”

He said the elders had made a commitment to consider their position.

However, Mnangagwa told reporters at State House that everything was going on smoothly and democracy was flourishing.
“It was an excellent meeting with the elders,” Mnangagwa said.

“They wanted a brief from the current situation in the country and I was able to tell them that we are going through the process of a general election in our country.

“We have 133 political parties in Zimbabwe and 55 are contesting elections and out of the 55; 23 are contesting for the office of the president. We are happy that up to now, political parties have heeded our call for non-violent. Yes, there was an incident in Bulawayo but that was intended to assassinate me (and) not democracy.”

He said those that feel aggrieved must approach the courts.

“Government has no role in controlling or influencing Zec at all. They are guided by the electoral Act of the country as well as the constitution and those who feel that Zec has not complied with the law or the Constitution, our courts are open to deal with these issues,” Mnangagwa said.

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