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US organisations assess Zim’s preparedness for polls

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By Hendricks Chizhanje

 

THE National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) will

field a joint delegation to assess the government and other stakeholders’ readiness to conduct

general elections scheduled for next month.

In a  joint  statement released  on Tuesday, NDI and IRI, which are two American non-profit

making   organisations   dedicated   to   advancing   freedom   and   democracy   and   to   strengthening

democratic institutions, said a joint delegation which arrived in the troubled southern African

country   on   Sunday,   will   assess   preparations   for   Zimbabwe’s   harmonised   presidential,

parliamentary, and local government elections.

The delegation includes regional and election experts from Africa, Europe and North America

including Brigalia Bam, the former Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of

South Africa.

Other members of the joint NDI and IRI delegation include David Dreier, the former United

States Congressman, Barry Jackson, the former chief of staff to Speaker of the US House of

Representatives, Catherine Noone, the deputy leader of the Irish Senate, Elizabeth Lewis, IRI’s

deputy director for Africa, Sandra Pepera, NDI’s director for Gender, Women and Democracy,

Larry Garber of NDI and Nicolas Teindas of IRI, who are both co-mission directors  of  the

Zimbabwe International Election Observation Mission (ZIEOM) set up late last month by NDI

and IRI.

“Our delegation is here to assess the status of electoral preparations and review the pre-election

environment in Zimbabwe,” said Bam, a delegate and former Chairperson of the Independent

Electoral Commission of South Africa. “Our objective is to observe the country’s readiness for

credible elections and offer practical suggestions for enhancing public confidence in the process

that leads to the July 30 polls,” Bam added.

NDI   and   IRI   said   the   delegation’s   visit   and   the   deployment   of   observers   is   a   response   to

President   Emmerson   Mnangagwa’s   public   statements   welcoming   international   observers   to

monitor the impending general elections, which will be the first polls to be held in 38 years

without the participation of deposed former President Robert Mugabe.

During the week-long assessment, the joint NDI and IRI delegation will meet with government

officials, political party leaders,  the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and representatives of

civil society and the international community.

The delegation will present its mission findings at a press conference scheduled for Friday in

Harare.

 

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