Govt rejects EU observers

As Zimbabwe prepares for presidential elections, the government has set itself up for a showdown with the West by rejecting offers to send poll observers.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the government had refused the EU request, saying there was "poison" in it and that Zimbabwe needed to preserve its "sovereignty", but Zanu (PF)'s political opposition said the party wanted to rig the ballot.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said: "It means they want to control the process and the outcome. They want a predetermined outcome. I think they want to demonstrate they don't want to run a clean election".

The Zimbabwean understands EU Africa Chief Nick Westcott made the offer to President Mugabe when they met at State House two months ago. That was followed by an offer to send election observers by new British envoy, Deborah Bronnert, amid fears that the presidential election would be a repeat the June 2008 run-off ballot. Mugabe again turned down the offer.

Harare's decision breaches Cotonou accords with former European colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and south Pacific.

"It's a bad sign and a missed opportunity for Zimbabwe to restore good relations with the EU," said a western diplomat.

Post published in: News

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