Zimbabwe summons, talks down EU ambassadors over damning poll report

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HARARE – The Zimbabwe government on Monday summoned and gave European Union (EU) ambassadors accredited to the country a tongue-lashing over a damning report produced by the bloc’s election observer mission on the just-ended Zimbabwean polls.


In its preliminary report, the EU mission condemned the vote, saying it was fraught with administrative flaws and was marred by violence and voter intimidation.


The mission said this resulted in voter apathy.


It also criticised some of the state institutions for conduct which allegedly aided the delivery of a discredited election.


Speaking to EU ambassadors Monday, acting foreign affairs minister Amon Murwira said election observers based their report on hearsay and unverified information as opposed to actual findings on the ground.


“Against this background,” Murwira said, “We find it disturbing and unfortunate that the EU Electoral Observation Mission deliberately issued a sweeping statement, full of misrepresentations and allegations.


“In great measure, the Preliminary Report was not based on the direct observation of the election.”


Murwira accused the EU observer mission of “misleading the world on the conduct of our elections.”


“It is unacceptable for an Observation Mission to arrogate itself the duty to assess our democratic institutions that were constitutionally established.


“This is gross interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign State and, therefore, totally unacceptable,” he said, adding that the observer mission had no legal power to comment on Zimbabwe’s constitution and laws.


“It is clearly unacceptable, in Zimbabwe, as it is in any country for foreign interests to be a factor in domestic politics, and to agitate for a particular position in internal policy debates and in our legislature.


“Unsubstantiated allegations against such sovereign institutions, which are the backbone of our democracy, are very unfortunate and unacceptable.


“In that regard, we value democracy and democratic institutions, and will do everything in our power to preserve them.”


On Sunday, Murwira also met SADC ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe ostensibly to brief them on Zimbabwe’s position on the recently released SADC Observers’ preliminary report.


Murwira voiced Zimbabwe’s reservations on opinions expressed by the SADC observer mission, adding that “members can disagree on opinions but not facts”.


He called upon the SADC Mission to “correct the technical error” in the report to enhance regional integration. _*ZimLive*_

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