HARARE, ZIMBABWE — A United Nations official visiting this capital city says he hopes Zimbabwe’s general election next month will be one that “truly reflects the will of the people.”
U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun says he is aware of issues raised by the opposition regarding the upcoming July 30 election that they want the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to address.
“We met with the head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” he said of Priscilla Chigumba. “We were given a comprehensive briefing, an encouraging briefing. Certainly there are issues to be handled and discussed. There is a positive pre-disposition — in my personal reading — in the way things are going. But at the end of the day, the UN agenda is to help countries in their efforts to have as inclusive, transparent, free and fair elections as possible so that the outcome truly reflects the will of the people and therefore [is] accepted by all.”
The U.N. official’s visit came as opposition parties are complaining the Electoral Commission has not given them the voter registration list. They want to check it for possible ghost voters, something that has been an issue in the past. Some parties said they failed to register for the July 30 polls because of the commission’s refusal to hand over the list.
On Wednesday, Jameson Timba, chief election agent of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, issued a statement saying the commission had “failed to meet its legal and constitutional obligation” to provide election materials, including the voters roll, in a timely fashion. He urged the body to apologize to the people of Zimbabwe.
Earlier this week, Chigumba said that despite the opposition’s complaints, “nothing short of an earthquake” would stop the election pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against 22 other contestants.
Opposition parties have long accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of manipulating the Electoral Commission to ensure victory at the polls.
The U.N. official’s visit provided some assurance that the international community is watching. – VOA