HARARE – Zimbabwe has barred an observer mission from the European Union because they imposed sanctions on the country, Foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said.
Mubengegwi said the EU bloc, which runs one of the biggest observer missions in the world, was not part of over 50 groups invited to oversee Zimbabwe’s crucial election.
“We have not invited any nation which imposed sanctions on us, so the EU will not be part of the observers,” Mumbengegwi told the Daily News after the launch of the Sadc Electoral Observer Mission (Seom) to Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday.
“They should totally remove all sanctions if they are genuine about re-engagement.”
Zimbabwe is currently in a process of normalising relations with the EU and the US.
Mumbengegwi said the decision to bar the EU mission was a Cabinet decision.
“I was working under Cabinet instruction, it was not my personal decision not to invite them, it was a Cabinet decision,” he said.
“So I invited missions from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and so forth. I haven’t kept record of who has confirmed. We do not care what the EU will think about our elections, but we certainly do care what these people (Sadc mission) think.”
Apart from the EU, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) also rejected an application by the Carter Centre founded by former US President Jimmy Carter.
Meanwhile, the Sadc mission dispatched 442 observers in 10 provinces and in all 210 constituencies.
Seom acknowledged that the numbers were few to cover the 9 670 polling stations in Zimbabwe.
“The mission will collaborate with other observer missions, both local and foreign in their areas of deployment to their analysis and verification of the information obtained,” said Bernad Membe, the head of Seom.
“The mission implores the various authorities and stakeholders facilitating for this election to ensure that political and civil liberties of the citizens are protected to enable the free expression of the voters.”