29 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Wades Into Kenya Election Row

Photo: New Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe.

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 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.

The 93-year-old Mugabe will be seeking a five-year extension to his 37 years in power in the 2018 election. His party, Zanu PF, have already elected him as its candidate for the polls.

He said the decision by opposition leader Raila Odinga to boycott the Kenyan elections was a direct result of the inferences of such organisations.

"They want to work with opposition parties all the time. In other words, they don't have that impartiality of mind and judgement," Mugabe said.

"We don't mind their diplomats participating but the NGOs, no. We don't want them at all."

Mugabe's remarks are likely to attract criticism from opposition parties who believe NGOs and western observers play a critical role in democratic elections.

The opposition alliance boycott comes after the country's Supreme Court annulled the results of an 8 August 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 after claiming opposition demands to overhaul the country's election body had not been met.

A last-minute bid to block the run-off through a Supreme Court application failed after there was no quorum of judges to decide whether or not to conduct the election.

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