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African Union deploys electoral assistance mission to Zimbabwe

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Commission Department of Political Affairs announced on Thursday it has deployed a five-person independent electoral assistance mission in Zimbabwe, as the country gears up for presidential, parliamentary and local elections on July 30.

In a press statement, AU said the mission in Zimbabwe was deployed on June 15 and will stay until July 8, to provide technical support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

AU said the mission was deployed in response to the request for technical assistance made by the ZEC during the visit to Zimbabwe by AU Commissioner Moussa Faki Mahamat in February 2018.

The statement further said the AU independent electoral assessment mission in Zimbabwe will help the country build capacity on various aspects of electoral operations such as training in management of polling processes.

A total of 23 candidates have registered to contest the presidential election, the highest number since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.



United Nations hails positive steps in Zimbabwe’s poll preparations

HARARE United Nations (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Wednesday hailed the positive steps taken by Zimbabwe in its preparations to hold a free, fair and credible election on July 30.

As part of the preparations, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has compiled a biometric voters’ roll and opened it for public inspection and has started availing copies to political parties and candidates.

It has also received nomination papers from prospective candidates for the harmonized presidential, parliamentary and council election.

A total of 23 candidates have filed nomination papers to contest for the presidency, the highest number since the country’s independence in 1980.

The visiting UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun told journalists that the world body would continue to provide electoral support to Zimbabwe to ensure the country holds an inclusive, transparent and credible poll.

“We met with the head of ZEC and were given a very comprehensive briefing, an encouraging briefing but certainly there are issues to be handled and discussed. But I think there is ... a positive pre-disposition in the way things are going,” he said after meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

Zerihoun is in Zimbabwe as part of his regional tour of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to review cooperation agreements.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to hold a transparent and credible election that will be observed by Western observers for the first time since 2002.

So far, the campaigning period has largely been peaceful compared to previous elections that were marred by violence. 


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