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Zimbabwe Shies from Scrutiny Ahead of Polls?

THE Government of Zimbabwe has reportedly shied away from UN scrutiny ahead of elections, which could suggest that the authorities are not ready to conduct a credible electoral process whilst their decision to shut out the international community could be seen as an attempt to avoid disastrous exposure.

 

The government, which had made a formal request for electoral assistance from the UN, suddenly made a U-turn when the world bloc's Need Assessment Mission (NAM) team - which is deployed according UN procedure before electoral assistance - led by Tadjoudine Ali-Diabaete asked to assess on their own the pre-electoral environment before money was released for the important polls.

 

"As of now, no agreement has been reached on the modalities. The NAM is therefore not expected in Zimbabwe at the present moment.

"The UN has been making every effort to respond to Zimbabwe's request.

"The UN remains open to engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to determine if an agreement can be reached on the modalities that will allow the NAM to be conducted in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolutions, € said the UN Resident Coordinator Alain Noudehou on the bloc's local website on Friday April 19 2013.

 

Analysts have intimated that the government's ostensible fear of prying eyes has rendered it uncertain about where to get critical funds as the elections approach given its reluctance to let the UN assessment team into the country.

 

According to a document dated 15 February seen by the Crisis Report which outlines the NAM's expectations, the envisaged 5-member team which, if given the green light, would be in the country for five days hoped to assess the "political, legal, institutional, technical and security environment and electoral framework, including voter registration procedures/processes. €

 

A recent report by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) titled, "Pre-elections Detectors: Zanu-pf's bid to reclaim political hegemony € revealed that key institutions such as the Registrar General's office were being shielded from reform to allow for tampering with the harmonized election process.

 

Some commentators have argued that should the NAM team stumble upon evidence of such anomalies in the electoral machinery it could open a can of worms given that the NAM intends to meet with civil society against the backdrop of intensified raids on Non-Governmental Organisations since the beginning of 2013.

 

The NAM expressed its intention of having meetings with "accredited diplomatic missions, domestic and international observer groups. €

 

At the end of the visit, the NAM, if eventually permitted to carry out its task, must conclude among other things on the "potential for election related conflict € and on "the electoral, legal and political framework highlighting any key concerns €.

 

According to some analysts if any danger is seen in terms of these areas there could be calls for more political reforms ahead of the elections, which could explain the resistance by the Zimbabwean authorities to grant the NAM team access into the country.

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