The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has turned down an application by The Carter Center to observe the forthcoming elections, the US organisation said in a statement.
The organisation said ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau had informed them on Tuesday that their application had been denied.
“While the centre regrets these news, it respects the commission’s decision.
“Without accreditation, The Carter Center will not be able to conduct an international observer mission,” the organisation said.
Zimbabwean authorities have already indicated that they will not be inviting observers from countries that imposed sanctions on the country, amid fears that this was a plan to conceal rigging from outsiders.
The Carter Center said international observer missions were widely recognised around the world as an important means of promoting transparency.
“Perhaps even more important, impartial and non-partisan citizen observation groups have a critical role to play in promoting transparency and electoral credibility, especially in Zimbabwe,” the organisation said.
“Citizen observation is founded on the fundamental human rights to participate in public affairs, to associate and to seek, receive and impart information in an electoral context,” it added.
As part of its effort to seek accreditation, The Carter Center had undertaken two pre-election visits to Zimbabwe to assess if it would be welcomed by all stakeholders, including all political parties anticipated to contest the polls.
“During these visits, The Carter Center was received by key stakeholders, including representatives of the three major political parties, all of which indicated a readiness to welcome a Carter Center observation presence in Zimbabwe.”
The Carter Center, founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, has observed 94 elections in 37 countries.
“The Carter Center encourages all stakeholders to recommit to a peaceful and transparent electoral process.
“The centre remains committed to the advancement of democratic governance in Zimbabwe, and looks forward to an opportunity to support the country’s future,” the organisation said.