While there is still disagreement on the election dates, the African Union (AU) has resolved to send long-term observers to Zimbabwe with effect from last Saturday. They will stay in the country until August 14.
President Robert Mugabe recently proclaimed July 31 as the date for elections, but Sadc advised him to return to the Constitutional Court (Concourt) to seek a two-week extension.
The Concourt had directed that he ensure that elections are held by July 31.
In a Press release yesterday, the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit of the Department of Political Affairs in the AU said the chairperson of the African Union Commission had approved the deployment of a Long-Term Observers (LTO) Mission to Zimbabwe from last Saturday to August 14.
“The Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit of the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission has in effect concluded plans as mandated by the Commission for the deployment of the African Union Long-Term Observers to Zimbabwe on June 15 until August 14 2013,” the statement read.
The organisation said the LTOs are expected to be joined by the Short-Term African Union Election Observer Mission one week before election day.
“The mission will remain in constant interaction with the AU Commission and submit weekly reports to the chairperson through the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit prior to the scheduled July 2013 election,” the statement read.
The mission draws it mandate from various AU Instruments mainly the Guidelines on African Union Election Observation and Monitoring Missions and the AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa.
The other instruments include Charter on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the African Union Long-Term Observation Framework.