Comesa deploys observer mission for Zim elections

HARARE - The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has deployed a short-term election observer mission for next Monday’s harmonised elections.
The advance party of the Comesa delegation arrived in Harare on Saturday.

Ambassador Ashraf Gamal Rashed, a member of the Comesa Committee of Elders from Egypt, is leading the mission.

He is expected to join the team today.

The observer team comprises representatives from several Comesa member States and is supported by members of staff from the secretariat.

Lusaka-based Comesa was established in 1994 to replace the former Preferential Trade Area.

The bloc’s members are Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The deployment of the mission follows the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s invitation to Comesa.

“As part of its mission in Zimbabwe, the Comesa delegation will conduct pre-election observation which will include consultations with political parties, the Zec, security agencies, civil society organisations, the media and other electoral stakeholders,” the mission said in a statement.

“The aim is to gather information on election-related issues and to assess election preparedness. The delegation will also engage with the Diplomatic Community as well as with other election observers on the ground in selected provinces”.

In May this year, Comesa conducted a Pre-Election Assessment mission to enhance the understanding of the electoral process and state of preparedness by various stakeholders in Zimbabwe.

The findings from that mission will be included into the detailed report that will be submitted to the Zec and the government within 90 days from the election date.

The overall objective of the Comesa observer mission is to contribute to strengthening and consolidating the democratic processes in Zimbabwe.

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