PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has declared that non-governmental organisations funded by the West will not be allowed to observe next year’s harmonised elections.
Mugabe, who accused NGOs of interfering in Kenya’s disputed elections, said civil society had a habit of working with the opposition to unseat incumbent presidents.
“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 …,” he vowed while speaking to Chinese media in Harare last week.
He claimed the decision by Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga to boycott the election re-run was directly influenced by NGOs.
“They want to work with opposition parties all the time. In other words, they don’t have that impartiality of mind and judgment,” Mugabe said.
“We don’t mind their diplomats participating but the NGOs, no. We don’t want them at all.”
Mugabe’s remarks immediately attracted criticism from opposition parties, who believe NGOs and western observers play a critical role in democratic elections.
The MDC-T said Mugabe’s decision to assume the role of referee, linesman and match commissioner was likely to affect the credibility of the upcoming elections.
“His statements bastardise the elections, he is a player in this elections and surely he can’t also be the referee, it is supposed to be the job of Zec to invite observers. What happens if other players also chose their own preferred observers?” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
The Kenyan opposition alliance boycott comes after the country’s Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 poll, following a challenge by Odinga, due to “irregularities” and “illegalities” in the electoral process. Kenyatta had been declared the winner of that vote.
Odinga pulled out of the new race earlier this month claiming the opposition demands to overhaul the country’s election body had not been met.