Chengetai Zvauya

HARARE – The Elders, led by former United Nations (UN) Secretary Kofi Annan, today met with President Emerson Mnangagwa at the State House for discussions on the prevailing electoral environment ahead of the July 30 general elections.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting with President Mnangagwa, Annan said they were on a fact-finding mission and that he had impressed on the need for a credible election.
“We are here to encourage credible and democratic elections to the political parties. We shall have a press conference tomorrow,” he said.

Annan arrived in the country last night on a three-day working visit together with former Ireland Prime Minister and UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robison, and Lakhdar Brahimi, former foreign Affairs of Algeria.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was experiencing democratic environment before the elections.

“I have had a good meeting with the Elders and briefed them on the political situation in the country before the elections. We have opened up the democratic space in the country and we have 23 presidential candidates and 55 political parties in the country. We are having a peaceful environment in the country so far except for an incident of an attempted assassination on my life in Bulawayo,” he said.

“We told them that government has no role in controlling the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) in carrying out its duties of administration of elections. The political parties that feel and think that ZEC is failing to carry out their duty can approach the court seeking readdress.

“The Elders are also going to have a meeting with ZEC this morning too.”

The trio was later today expected to meet MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa a local hotel.

The Elders group was founded in 2007 by the late Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa.

It is a grouping of people in the world who use their collective and experience and influence to try and achieve peace and justice in the world.

Its current members include another former United Nations Secretary general Ban Ki- Moon, Jimmy Carter, former US President, top cleric Desmond Tutu and Graca Mandela, widow to the late Mandela.