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US Organisations Assess Zim’s Preparedness For Polls

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By Hendricks Chizhanje

Harare, June 07, 2018 - 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.

NDI and IRI will deploy six long-term observers outside Harare beginning on 15 June and will organise a team of 30 short-term observers for election day.

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