“The enactment of a new constitution in May 2013, to replace the 1980 Lancaster House Constitution, has generated a sense of hope for an improved human rights dispensation – and subsequent improvements in the conduct of future elections,” said the AU Commission.
This is contained in a pre-elections press release, Issued on Friday, to share findings of the Long Term Observers who have been in Zimbabwe since 15 June, 2013.
The AU’s first observer mission arrived in the country in mid-June and was later joined by a 60-man delegation of Short Term Observers on 20 July. The Commission’s Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is currently in Zimbabwe assess Zimbabwe's preparedness for next week's general elections, appointed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to lead the team.
The team reported that a majority of stakeholders when consulted gave evidence that the country’s political climate had improved since the last election in 2008.
“The power sharing arrangement introduced within the rubric of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the successful holding of the referendum and the subsequent adoption of the new Constitution has been singled out as key reasons for the improved political climate,” it said.
“The Mission, therefore, is of the impression that there is a perceptible improvement in the public’s appreciation of the electoral management body, which – if sustainable - may bode well for the July 31 and other subsequent elections.”
The AU further welcomed statements from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), pledging to sustain the peaceful political environment and to exercise professionalism and impartiality in enforcing the law.
Zimbabwe Elections Commission (ZEC) reported an increased number of registered voters from 5.2 million in 2008 to 6.4 million.
Less than a week is left for Zimbabwe to go to the polls where President Robert Mugabe will be facing off with Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe, who has been in power for more than 30 years and at the age of 89, remains determined to stay in power.