Harare, Friday, July 27, 2018: The Head of the COMESA Election Observation Mission to the Harmonised elections in Zimbabwe has called for peaceful elections ahead of the July 30 poll. Ambassador Ashraf Gamal Rashed has assured the various stakeholders that he has been meeting in Zimbabwe that COMESA is in the country to strictly observe and not interfere in the electoral process.

In a meeting with the Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Sibusiso Moyo, Amb. Rashed reiterated COMESA’s commitment to contribute to the strengthening and consolidating of the democratic process in Zimbabwe.

COMESA draws its mandate to observe elections from one of the Fundamental Principles of the organization enshrined in Article 6(h) of the COMESA Treaty, which states the need to promote and sustain a democratic system of governance in the Member States.

“We are here to merely support the electoral process and have no intentions of interfering. We believe our presence in Zimbabwe during this important process is crucial not only for this country but for the entire COMESA region,” Amb. Rashed said.

Minister Moyo welcomed the COMESA delegation and briefed the observers on the preparations in place to strengthen security before, during and after the elections. He explained that there is a generally peaceful environment and campaigns were going on smoothly.

The COMESA delegation also held consultative meetings with the leadership from three main political parties led by Hon. Paul Mangwana, the ZANU PF Secretary for Legal Affairs, Hon. Senator Morgen Komichi of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance and Ms Linda Masarira from MDC.

Consultative meetings have been made with the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Police and the African Union Head of Mission.

Ambassador Ashraf is scheduled to meet COMESA Ambassadors based in Harare before the voting day.

Zimbabweans will be voting for a President, Members of Parliament and representatives of the local government. The harmonized elections entail voting for the three different positions simultaneously on the same day.

Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa is facing 22 other candidates in the presidential race among them Mr. Nelson Chamisa leader of the MDC Alliance.

COMESA has been observing elections since the year 2006 and have so far observed over twenty elections in thirteen Member States.