Foreign Election Observers Risk Deportation

Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Mr George Charamba, has said that elections observers who are boldly interfering in the country’s electoral processes by openly hobnobbing with some presidential candidates will be deported without any hesitation.

This comes as some individuals with a chequered history in observing elections in a number of countries, came to Zimbabwe under the umbrella of the United States Government-funded Carter Centre and have recently been addressing rallies held by the opposition, The Herald reports.

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For instance, one Mr Sicelo Mngomezulu, a member of a Southern African non-governmental organisation (NGO), who is in the country as an election observer, attended the funeral of a CCC activist who died recently in Harare and accused Zanu PF of killing the activist even when investigations are ongoing.

“Today, in Harare we joined the presidential candidate in the upcoming Zim elections, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, at the funeral of one of his party’s members who was killed by ZANU PF supporters during an election campaign a few days ago,” he wrote.

Other so-called observers also attended and addressed CCC rallies in Mutare and the party’s manifesto launch on Tuesday night in Bulawayo.

Reliable sources also said Mr Fabio Castaldo, a member of the European Union (EU) Observer Mission, working with some media organisations like the Media Institute of Southern Africa, has formed a WhatsApp group where media practitioners are gathering information that can be used to malign the elections in the event they are not in favour of the opposition.

However, Mr Charamba said political activists should not use the pretext of observing elections to subvert the country’s laws through abusing its hospitality.

“Government is warning those observers not to stray from their mandate of observing elections, Government will not hesitate to kick them out…they are skating on very thin ice”.

There is a huge delegation of Western observers, with eyebrows being raised over the presence of people who have worked against elected governments across the continent.

Among the observers there is Mr Boniface Chibwana who runs an NGO in Malawi called Multiparty Democracy and was instrumental in the downfall of former Malawi President Professor Peter Mutharika. Also on the list is Mr Arthur Nanthuru who is a political activist in Malawi.

There is Mr Sekonyela Mapetja, Director of Lesotho Council of NGOs as part of the Short Term Observers contingent.

A known member of the opposition in the Kingdom of Eswatini, Mr Mulungi Makanya, is also in the country. Like most observers, he is here ostensibly for that purpose but in reality is working with the opposition to effect a change of regime by clandestine means.

Regionally, most of the observers are under the Southern Defenders headed by Mr Katema Katema, a group that has caused mayhem in Lesotho and Eswatini.

The delegation includes people like Mala Janjusevic from Serbia, Florent-Lolinga (Democratic Republic of Congo), Derrick Marco (South Africa), Ahmed Farag (Egypt), Dean Gillispie (South Africa), Adeline Marquis (France), Mariusz Wojtan (Poland), Tomasz Janczy (Poland) and Anna Melikyan (Armenia).

According to the letter from the Carter Centre, the team will be supplemented by staffers from Atlanta, Georgia in the US who will support logisitical preparations and 16 long-term observers and a short-term observer delegation to assess the immediate election period in August.

“Long-term observers will arrive on July 31. A partial list of short-term observers is included below. Additional members’ details will be provided closer to the election”.

Atlanta Support Staff who will be in the country comprise mainly of US and Canadian citizens like Wyatt Schierman, Julie Eileen Burke, David Carroll, Sarah Johnson, Tara Shariff, Jeremy Byrd, Carolyn Carson, Anthony DeMattee, Daniel Richardson, Yohames Dewd, Anabella Cockereli, Sayla Marie Ellison, Ronald Edward Borden, Maria Fernanda Cartaya, Erika Perry, Jonathan Bishop, Rom Barcity, and Rebecca Canter.

Others who have come in the group, whose stay in the country goes beyond the full electoral cycle, include Aloisious Nthenda (Malawi), Angela Ngwalo (Malawi), Arthur Nandau (Malawi), Chris Mueller (Germany), Crescenta Dingal Sonsel (Cameroon), Elijah Rubvuta (Zambia), and Fanta Tracee (France).

On the list there is also Hamoosa Halubala (Zambia), Keireng Zunge (Botswana), Kelvin Karanja (Kenya), and Mands Rutaigairwa (Uganda).

The inordinately big observer mission also has Mahamed Aly Elmosilly Sabbaby (Egypt), Oncan Cetin (Turkey), Paulina Dempers (Namibia), Sonia Mickevicius (Canada), and Steven Duwa Phiri (Malawi).

The STO Observer Delegation will have in its ranks Sandie Tjaronda (Namibia), Luis Jimbo (Angola), Siraltina Cutaia (Angola), Peter Mwanagombe (Zambia), Andrew Mwenda (Zambia), Charles Kitima (Tanzania), Andrew Kachaso (Malawi), Boniface Chibwana (Malawi), Kinaani Musutua (Namibia), Maolisi Nyuswa (South Africa), Jurael Ilunde (Tanzania), Sekonyela Mapetja ( Lesotho), Makatleho Lekoala (Lesotho), Bhekithemba Buthelezi (South Africa), Oscar Siwall ( South Africa), Eline Moses (Seychelles), Fred Bamboche (Seychelles), and Atahiru Muhammadu Joga (Nigeria).

Zimbabwe will hold its harmonised elections in the next fortnight and there are concerns that some of the so-called observers are on a mission to discredit the polls.

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