The by-elections were occasioned by the resignation of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Mt Pleasant legislator Fadzayi Mahere and her Harare East counterpart, Rusty Markham, from Parliament recently.

Sadc in Zimbabwe on pre-election mission

THE Sadc Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) is in the country on a mission to assess the political and security situation ahead of general elections scheduled for between July and August this year.

Led by chairperson Judge Ticheme Dlamini from Eswatini, his deputy advocate Notemba Tjipueja from Namibia, and some officials from the Sadc secretariat, the team arrived in the country on Tuesday.

It has been meeting stakeholders who include ambassadors from different member states, representatives of the United Nations and the African Union, the security services, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), civil society, political parties, faithbased organisations and the local media.

The mission is expected to be in the country until next Tuesday, after which it would compile a report for the chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President Hage Geingob of Namibia, to guide the regional body when it sends an election observer mission once Zimbabwe sends an invitation.

Among other issues, the SEAC mission seeks to assess whether the political and security conditions in the country are conducive for holding of free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful elections in conformity with the revised Sadc principles and guidelines.

It also seeks to assess the legal framework governing the 2023 polls and the preparedness of Zec to conduct the general elections.

Media practitioners told the mission that the environment going into the general elections was better than in the past and that there were some incidents of violence against journalists involving the major political parties, the ruling Zanu PF and opposition Coalition for Citizens Change (CCC) in by-elections held last year as a prelude to the general elections.

Opposition political parties were also accused of reluctance to take up media space offered by the State media, especially the national broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation while at the same time complaining of being denied access. — New Ziana

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