Joint US observer mission in Zim

HARARE - Two United States observer missions — the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) — are fielding a joint delegation to assess Zimbabwe’s preparations for the upcoming polls.

The Washington-based delegation which arrived on Saturday, includes regional and election experts from Africa, Europe and North America comprising Brigalia Bam, former chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa; David Dreier, former US congressman; Barry Jackson, former chief of staff to Speaker of the US House of Representatives; Catherine Noone, deputy leader of the Irish Senate; Elizabeth Lewis, deputy director, Africa, IRI; Sandra Pepera, director, Gender, Women and Democracy, NDI; Larry Garber, co-mission director, NDI and Nicolas Teindas, co-mission director, IRI.

“Our delegation is here to assess the status of electoral preparations and review the pre-election environment in Zimbabwe,” said Bam, a delegate and former chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa.

“Our objective is to observe the country’s readiness for credible elections and offer practical suggestions for enhancing public confidence in the process that leads to the July 30 polls.”

During the week-long assessment, the delegation will meet with government officials, political party leaders, election authorities, and representatives of civil society and the international community.

The delegation will present its mission findings at a press conference to be held tomorrow at a Harare hotel.

The observation mission, which established a presence in Zimbabwe in April 2018 and now has a 12-person team in Harare, will deploy six long-term observers outside the capital on June 15 and will organise a team of 30 short-term observers for election day.

The joint IRI-NDI mission will coordinate with the other observer delegations, including domestic monitoring groups.

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