AU observers in Zim to monitor country’s election

Zimbabweans head to the polls on Monday in what will be the first general election since the removal of president Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a Zanu-PF election rally. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The African Union Observer Mission has announced it will monitor the country's elections.

Zimbabweans head to the polls on Monday in what will be the first general election since the removal of President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe gave in to demands for him to step down last November after days of protests led by the country's military.

Ethiopia's former Prime Minister, Haile-Mariam Desalegn, is part of the observer mission.

He says that they will try to be as objective as possible and will ensure that a peaceful election takes place.

“We’re only here to see the processes, whether the process is democratic or not. It is up to the Zimbabwean people to decide which candidate is going to be their leader, so I think we focus on the process rather than the results.”

The build-up to next week's election has not been without incident. The most recent development is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission saying it won’t endorse the election following several complaints relating to the democratic process.

Nelson Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance has raised concerns over the security around the ballot papers and the design ahead of the 30 July poll.

Added to this, after meeting with political parties and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission last week, SADC observer mission says its concerned about the legitimacy of the process.

At the same time, there are fears of violence and intimidation following earlier reports of the intimidation of civilians by army personnel and the recent stadium blast at a Zanu-PF campaign rally in Bulawayo which claimed two lives.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reiterated his promise of a free and fair election which he made at his inauguration following the military supported removal of Mugabe

All eyes are now on Zimbabwe ahead of what promises to be a gripping race for the highest office in the land.