Foreign observers who came to Zimbabwe for the March 20 vote still have valid accreditation, but the Minister for Justice has insisted local observers had to be re-invited and accredited anew. The Minister also added that accreditation fees would go up.
The ZESN called on the Minister of Justice to waive the second accreditation and allow all local observers who had been accredited for the 29 March elections to observe the 27 June run-off. ZESN also urged the Minister to allow for additional local observers to be accredited and the decentralisation of the accreditation process to other provinces to ensure efficient processing.
These new requirements for new invitations to observe the run-off suggest a deliberate attempt to curtail domestic election observation that has become critical in promoting transparency, accountability and voter confidence, said a statement from the Network. Domestic observation of elections is important not just on election day but in the run up to elections and during the post election period when foreign observers are gone.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has called for the Minister of Justice to drop plans to require local election observers to reapply for accreditation.