Sunday, April 22, 2018

Zimbabwe Conditions Conducive for Free, Fair Elections: SADC Chief
21 APR, 2018 - 00:04

President Mnangagwa speaks to Sadc Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax shortly after her arrival at the Munhumutapa Offices in Harare today.-(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Farirai Machivenyika
Senior Reporter

Visiting Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax has commended the political and legislative environment in Zimbabwe, saying it is conducive to conduct a credible election. The elections are expected in July. Dr Tax said this soon after paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday.

“You are about to go to elections so we discussed about the elections (and) that you are also undertaking socio-economic reforms, we touched on that,” she said.

“As you are aware we had on observer mission here, a pre-electoral observer mission and we have shared a few issues and generally our findings are that you are set for elections.

“Politically, the environment is conducive, the legislative environment is also conducive, pointing to a readiness for elections and also the reform processes which are ongoing. We also have agreed on how we can work together as a region to support Zimbabwe.”

Dr Tax reiterated President Mnangagwa’s call for peaceful elections and called on other stakeholders to follow suit.

“The suggestion is to continue encouraging (as the President has doing) assuring Zimbabweans that elections are going to take place and are going to be free, fair and credible. That is the suggestion but to also to call upon on all stakeholders to make sure that indeed they are part of that process, they use their civic right but also that they contribute to ensuring that the elections are peaceful and credible,” she said.

The Sadc pre-election observer mission was in the country early this year.

A number of missions, including from Europe and the US, have also been in the country to assess the pre-election environment.

Parliament is currently debating amendments to the Electoral Act as part of reforms requested by the opposition.

Dr Tax said she had also visited Zimbabwe to introduce herself to President Mnangagwa following his assumption of office last year.

“This is my first visit since the new President took over. So I was here to introduce myself to him and also to exchange views and get guidance from him on Sadc issues. That was the main purpose,” she said.

On the economic front, Dr Tax acknowledged that industrialisation was the way to go for the Sadc region.

“In terms of reforms, you know that Zimbabwe championed industrialisation and that is still the way. So the suggestion is let us continue transforming our economies to make sure that indeed we can trade equitably,” she said.

Earlier, Dr Tax had met Minister Cde Simon Khaya Moyo and senior Government officials.

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