Two United States organisations that have discredited Zimbabwe’s just ended elections, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, have been working with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change since its inception.
They have been training officials of the party, including shadow ministers, to be ready to take over the administration of the country when they took over.
The two were in Zimbabwe as observers of the 30 July elections under a joint Zimbabwe International Election Observation Mission (ZIEOM) which roped in top African leaders including former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza who co-lead the joint international observer delegation.
They were joined on the leadership team by US Congresswoman Karen Bass and former US Assistant Secretaries of State for Africa Constance Berry Newman and Ambassador Johnnie Carson.
The International Republican Institute described itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide. It said it enabled political parties to become more issue-based and responsive, helped citizens to participate in government planning, and worked to increase the role of marginalized groups in the political process.
IRI said it had monitored 205 elections in 57 countries since 1983 through international observation missions and assessments.
The National Democratic Institute said it was a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.
It said it had conducted more than 150 election observation missions in 62 countries over the past 35 years.
In a statement released on 25 August, a day after the Constitutional Court had dismissed an election challenge case by Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, ZIEOM said: “Zimbabwe has not yet demonstrated that it has established a tolerant, democratic culture that enables the conduct of elections in which parties are treated equitably and citizens can cast their vote freely.”
Research by The Insider has shown that the two organisations have been working closely with the United States government and have been working with the MDC since its formation.
They were denied election observer status in the 2000 elections, the first in which the MDC participated and narrowly lost to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. In May 2000 the United States government complained to the Zimbabwe government for not accrediting NDI and IRI as election observers.
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