Regional and international election observers have been deployed across the country to observe Zimbabwe’s landmark harmonized elections scheduled for 31 July.
At least 440 observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Election Observer Mission (SEOM) will observe the Zimbabwe election.
The SEOM was launched in Harare on 15 July by Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Bernard Membe, who is also head of the mission.
Membe said the observers would be deployed to all the 210 constituencies around Zimbabwe to ensure there is adequate coverage of the whole country.
“The mission leadership will in addition to the teams deployed engage in extensive consultations with the stakeholders so as to further understand on the various issues relating to the upcoming elections,” Membe said in a speech read on behalf of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete who is the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
The expectations of the SEOM would be guided and measured mainly against provisions and requirements of the Zimbabwe Constitution and Electoral Act, as well as the SADC Treaty, the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
“Indeed, the holding of the 2013 Harmonized Elections in Zimbabwe marks a new era towards achieving lasting peace and stability in the country, thus creating an enabling environment for economic growth and sustainable development” SADC Executive Secretary Augusto Salomão said.
Traditionally, SEOM observation is undertaken in three phases: the pre-election period, election-day and post-election phases.
The SADC observer mission is expected to interact with other regional and international missions invited by the Zimbabwe government to monitor the elections.
These include the African Union (AU) observer mission, which is being led by former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo.