Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has reversed the 2002 ban on Western election observers in the country days after his return from China where he restored their decades-long political isolation under Mugabe.
The foreign affairs ministry released a list showing countries to be invited for the July elections which include the United States, the European Union’s Commission and parliament, Australia and the Commonwealth among 46 countries and 15 organisations.
These countries and organisation were accused by Mugabe in 2002 of favouring his opponents. They, in turn, sanctioned him and his government for allegedly rigging elections.
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“We don’t need them. We are saying no. We are going to have elections in 2018 and we are going to say no to the whites. We don’t mind their diplomats participating but the NGOs, no. We don’t want them at all,” Mugabe reiterated in an interview in October last year before he was ousted.
The election in July will be the first since independence in 1980 without 94-year-old Robert Mugabe who was ousted after a military takeover last year.
Mnangagwa will face among others the candidate for the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa.