AU to actively monitor Zimbabwe presidential run-off

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The African Union (AU) has called on all stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s forthcoming presidential runoff to ensure that peace and security would be maintained, and that they would respect the will of the people once the results are announced.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the AU has also re-emphasised the need for Zimbabwe to implement the conditions set out in the Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa.

Following a three-day mission by AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping to South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe from 3-5 May, 2008, the AU said it would continue to play an active role in assessing further developments in preparing for the observation of the election with a view to providing an independent judgment on its outcome.

After consultation with the current Chairman of the AU, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Ping undertook the mission to gather information on the situation in Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the 29 March 2008 elections that produced no clear winner.

According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate Morgan Tsvangirai got 47.9 percent, ZANU (PF) candidate Robert Mugabe garnered 43.2 percent, (Independent) Simba Makoni 8.3 percent and Longton Towungana 0.6 percent of the vote.

In accordance with Section 110 of the Electoral Act of the Republic of Zimbabwe, an electoral runoff was accordingly called for.

The AU has urged the ZEC to ensure that the next round is undertaken as provided for in the Act.

In addition, the AU has emphasised that agreements reached and the conditions prevailing prior to the 29 March polls be upheld, and appealed to all Zimbabwe political actors to conduct their activities in a free, transparent, tolerant, and non-violent manner to enable eligible Zimbabweans exercise their democratic rights.

The AU has restated its commitment, in full support of the efforts by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and South African President Thabo Mbeki’s mediation, to ensure that the best possible conditions are created for the people of Zimbabwe to complete the ongoing electoral process.

AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Julia Dolly Joiner and Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra accompanied Ping on the tour, during which he met with Presidents Mbeki, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa of Zambia, who is current chair of SADC, and Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Panapress .

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