Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Rita Makarau on July 9 informed The Carter Center that our application to observe forthcoming national elections in Zimbabwe has been declined. While the Center regrets this news, it respects the commission’s decision. Without accreditation, The Carter Center will not be able to conduct an international election observation mission.
A peaceful and transparent election that reflects the will of the people is the right of all citizens in a genuine democracy. International election observation is widely recognized around the world as an important measure to promote such transparency. Perhaps even more important, impartial and nonpartisan citizen observation groups have a critical role to play in promoting transparency and electoral credibility, especially in Zimbabwe. Citizen observation is founded on the fundamental human rights to participate in public affairs; to associate; and to seek, receive, and impart information in an electoral context.
As part of its effort to seek accreditation, the Center has undertaken two pre-election visits to Zimbabwe to assess if it would be welcomed by all stakeholders, including all political parties anticipated to contest the polls. During these visits, The Carter Center was received by key stakeholders, including representatives of the three major political parties, all of which indicated a readiness to welcome a Carter Center observation presence in Zimbabwe.
The Carter Center, founded by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, has observed 94 elections in 37 countries. The Center conducts its election observation work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Observers, which provides guidelines for professional and impartial methods of international election observation. The Carter Center’s election observation missions are international in composition, including expert delegates from a range of countries. The Center assesses the entirety of an electoral process against a country’s own legal framework and international commitments to uphold standards for democratic elections.
The Carter Center encourages all stakeholders to recommit to a peaceful and transparent electoral process. The Center remains committed to the advancement of democratic governance in Zimbabwe, and looks forward to an opportunity to support the country’s future.