Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change suffered a double blow today. Judge President George Chiweshe threw out its case disputing the number of police officers who registered for the special vote and the African Union said free and fair elections were possible in Zimbabwe.
The MDC had gone to court seeking to have the special vote held on 14 and 15 July stopped because of irregularities. It argued that 69 000 police officers had registered as voters when only 44 133 were on the government payroll.
The case originally scheduled to be heard on Monday was adjourned to Wednesday with the ruling today. Chiweshe dismissed the case with costs and said he would give his reasons later.
In another blow African Union commissioner for political affairs Aisha Abdullahi said AU observers on the ground in Zimbabwe believed it was possible to have free and fair elections.
“According to our observers on the ground we believe that it is possible to have free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. But we cannot guarantee that it will be the most perfect or optimum of situations,” she said.
“The environment in Zimbabwe so far reassures us that that the conditions are good for the election to be held on July 31…The Peace and Security Council has noted the levels of preparation for the election and confirmed that the funding gap has been filled,” Abdullahi said.
The European Union has said that it will consider the elections free and fair if African observers say so.
The AU sent an advance team of observers who have been in Zimbabwe since 15 June. The bulk of the team, headed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, arrives on Sunday.