Call for monitors ahead of polls

Global rights group, Amnesty International, has urged Sadc to ensure human rights monitors are deployed in Zimbabwe before and after the polls.

REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Sadc is expected to hold a summit in Maputo tomorrow to discuss rules governing the upcoming elections, which President Robert Mugabe has declared will be held on July 31.

Amnesty International’s Africa deputy programme director Noel Kututwa, in a report yesterday, said the summit should ensure the electoral environment is conducive before the holding of elections to guarantee a free and fair poll.

“Specifically, Sadc should immediately deploy human rights monitors to Zimbabwe to oversee the period before, during and after the elections,” he said. “Sadc should ensure that Zimbabweans can participate in an election that is free from violence, harassment and intimidation, that the security sector remains impartial, and that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are upheld.”

The weekend’s regional summit was initially set for last week, but had to be postponed as Mugabe was not available.

Kututwa emphasised the need for Sadc to push for reforms to guarantee free and fair elections.

“Sadc has played a critical role in easing the tension in Zimbabwe since the political violence of 2008,” he said. “Now it has the duty to ensure that the coming elections are held in an environment free from human rights violations, including violence.”
The 2008 harmonised elections were marred by intimidation and violence, resulting in the death of over 200 people.

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