Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
THE Association for Free Research and international Cooperation Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (AFRIC), which is one of the international organisations observing this year’s harmonised elections, has given the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission a thumbs up for conducting a successful plebiscite.
The group is a community of independent researchers, experts and activists and their main goals to create a platform for elaboration and dissemination of objective analytical information, first-hand opinions; establishing direct communication and cooperation.
The group’s members addressed journalists in Harare yesterday giving a postmortem of the polls where they hailed the manner in which the polls were conducted.
Giving her assessment of the polls, AFRIC member Mirjam Katharina Zwingli from Switzerland said: “I was positively impressed by the organisation of the presidential election. I was incredibly touched by the pride I saw in people’s eyes standing in the queues, very calm and very proud. I also see self-confidence. I saw the polling officials and they seem very meticulous trying to do everything according to the book.
“It took some time at times but I was astounded how committed they were, how thorough they were, very transparent. This election was a symbolic gesture that Zimbabwe has now come to international standards in terms of holding democratic processes.”
Another AFRIC member Rishabh Sethi from India said: “I want to thank the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for conducting elections in a very successful manner. I look forward to come to Zimbabwe again and I wish good luck and development for this country.”
Volker Tschapke from Germany said: “I was touched with many young people standing in the queues waiting to vote. It was a great day for Zimbabweans.”
AFRIC brought 40 international observers from countries like Mozambique, South Africa, Cape Verde, Mongolia, India, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine representing a range of organisations from NGOs to Parliaments and academic institutions. AFRIC observers were at all stations in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe invited more than 46 countries and international organisations to observe this year’s elections.
Most of the organisations were already in the country before the polls and expressed confidence that the peaceful environment in the country was conducive for free, fair and credible polls.
President Mnangagwa had said the country was committed to a peaceful election and on Monday when he cast his vote at Sherwood Primary School he thanked people for observing peace.
He said it was his fervent hope that the peaceful environment would continue after the elections.