Q: What about international monitors for the election, will you accept Commonwealth monitors?
A: After pronouncing that Zimbabwe’s open for business, Zimbabwe wants to reintegrate with the international community; Zimbabwe will accept those who accept her. We want fair, free, credible elections. In the past the countries who imposed sanctions on us, we would allow them to send an observer if they so desired. But those who had pronounced themselves against us, who predetermined that our elections would not be free and fair, were not allowed to come in. But now with this new disposition I don’t feel threatened by anything. I would want that the United Nations should come, the EU should come. If the Commonwealth were requesting to come, I am disposed to consider their application to come. The same with other countries; the more we have observations across — and I don’t think we have anything to hide. I’m preaching this day in, day out; I would contradict myself if I say, I will be discriminatory. But of course if some people made conclusions now, we know the elections will not be free and fair, so they cannot come and observe; they have made decisions before the election’s taken place.
Q: The opposition criticise your party over the voters’ roll, the independence of the head of the election commission and the role of state media. Will you change your approach on that?
A: The election commission is called ZEC, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Currently there’s no head. The head resigned, the chairperson of the commission, Justice Rita Makarau, resigned. I believe that by Friday I will have appointed another — this week. If the vice-chairman is a man, the chairperson must be a woman, so I’m looking for a woman. Secondly, the woman must have been a judge or a lawyer qualified to be a judge. I had names brought to me by the chief justice to say which judges — the head of the Law Society — which persons. So we of course have several women who sent in their CVs and I believe by tomorrow or Friday — because there must be consultation between me and, in Parliament, the speaker and the Justice Commission — I believe that by Friday this will have been completed because I gave them the names last week. Then I’ll appoint one.
Q: Will it be an independent person or someone from Zanu-PF?
A: We believe that we need somebody with integrity, an impeccable record in terms of his or her CV. That’s what will guide us.
Q: You’ve been criticised for donating vehicles to tribal chiefs, which has been accused of being an act of . . . vote-buying. A mistake?
A: The chiefs are on the government payroll. One of their conditions of service is to give them motor vehicles. Whether there’s an election or there’s no election we’ll still give them the motor vehicles and their salary or allowance, whatever. This was done by the former administration, except that they had not been given so I’ve gone ahead to give them. In fact the later vehicles I’ve given have not been bought by this administration; they were bought by the former administration. It has nothing to do with vote-buying and so on; it’s a part of the conditions of service of those chiefs.
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