Mnangagwa to bar International Observers as Zimbabwe elections time draws nigh

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Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is expected to proclaim the election date soon, has hinted at barring international election observers from monitoring the country’s upcoming general plebiscite.

Zimbabwe is bracing for a crunch presidential election which according to the minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, will be held between July 26 and August 26 this year.

Writing in his weekly column in the state-controlled newspaper, The Sunday Mail, Mnangagwa revealed that his administration is considering a strict selection process for election observers.

The President said only those nations who invite Zimbabwe to observe their own elections in future will also be invited to do the same.

“Going forward, and as a country and Nation which is proudly African and sovereign, we shall be insisting on the principle of reciprocity when it comes to the practice of international election observation. The time will soon come when we will not accept that condescending and even racist view of a pecking order when it comes to measuring electoral democracy unfolding in our sovereign countries, and which, in any event, is meant for our people.

“A pecking order with white super-dogs who must observe elections of lesser beings, on the one side; and black underdogs whose polls must be observed, passed or failed, on the other.

“Nothing about our chequered colonial history justifies that false hierarchy; nothing in present international rules legitimises that presumptuous supremacy. The theory and practice of election observation must be on the basis of equality and reciprocity among nations. Anything less and one-sided diminishes and creates a deep sense of bruise and injury to our sovereignty.

Mnangagwa said he rejects as utterly racist and condescending the practice of making Zimbabwe an equal if not a junior of some Western non-governmental centre.

“Much worse, we reject as utterly racist and condescending this practice of making our proud and sovereign Nation an equal if not a junior of some Western non-governmental centre, institute or foundation. We are no one’s subaltern, least of all of some non-governmental organisation. Never again will we subject ourselves to such false, humiliating equivalences.

“We go to elections as sovereign nations, indeed as State Parties of the United Nations; its hallowed Charter makes all Nations equal, regardless of size and age, however these are reckoned or claimed. State Parties relate to each and to one another on equal terms, with respect, and strictly on the basis and principle of reciprocity. Going forward, only those Nations who invite us to observe their own elections in future will also be invited to do the same here.

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