On August 18 2023, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Nick Mangwana issued a statement castigating the works of observer missions which he perceived as interfereing in the internal electoral processes.
The press statement was hinged on a story published by The Herald Newsapaper, a state controlled publication on the day of the statement.
The statement partly reads, “Government notes with disappointment, reports carried today by a local daily on alleged gross interference in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes by a named foreign observer mission.
Allegations that the foreign observer mission is giving grocery vouchers, fuel coupons and other freebies to local journalists so that they write negative reports on the elections have been met with the utmost disgust.
The reports, if true, go against the spirit of mutual respect in the commity of nations that the invitation to observe our elections was extended under”.
Mangwana qouted His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa that he is clear that an invitation to observe was not an invitation to interfere and “No foreign power is a stakeholder in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.”
Mangwana warned that, “Government will not hesitate to take stern action against any foreign observers who have chosen to break convention and dabble in the election processes of our country.
For the particular transgression raised in this statement, Government will take appropriate action”.
The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission Chief Observer Fabio Massimo Castaldo who arrived in Zimbabwe this morning to continue his observation of the electoral process of the 23 August elections in person also issued a statement in retaliation .
Upon his arrival he stated: “The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) is astounded by the defamatory and malicious accusations made in an article, published in local Zimbabwean media yesterday. These allegations are based on unsubstantiated rumors and entirely fabricated.”
Chief Observer Castaldo stressed, “The EU EOM and its observers do not engage in inappropriate activities, nor does the EU EOM interfere in the process. The EU EOM adheres to a strict code of conduct.”
“The EU EOM has taken note of previous unacceptable attempts to discredit the mission.
The EU EOM sees these articles as blatant disinformation of the Zimbabwean public.
They reflect a continued effort to undermine the EU EOM and credible election observation”, said Chief Observer Castaldo.
“The EU EOM was invited by the government of Zimbabwe to conduct a comprehensive, independent, impartial assessment of the electoral process.
The EU EOM continues its work, according to its mandate and methodology based on the principles of independence, impartiality and non-interference”, the Chief Observer said.