Friday, 29 June 2018


The European Union (EU) election observer mission in Chiredzi has dismissed as ‘propaganda’ reports carried by two Masvingo provincial weeklies claiming a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) harassed and intimidated them on Tuesday.

The observer team, which comprised Mr Friedarike Santner from Austria and Ms Christophe Menou from France, said their engagements with the people of Chiredzi were moving on smoothly despite the shocking media reports claiming they were harassed by security agencies.

“Journalists must desist from writing propaganda. We were never harassed like what these stories are depicting. We are just meeting the people from this town well and everything is going on smoothly,” said Mr Santner.

“Please if you need more details relating to this incident please talk to our spokesperson (Mr) Eberthard Laue, he will give you the official position,’’ said Mr Santner.

Mr Laue dismissed the harassment and intimidation claims saying their observer team was not facing any security risk in Chiredzi. He urged the media to report objectively and stop misleading the electorate.

“Our team of observers was not harassed by members of the CIO; they were asked for their credentials and that is what they show to all stakeholders whom they are meeting across the country,” he said.

“The way it was portrayed in a couple of newspapers has nothing to with reality from our perspectives. For us, it’s actually a non-story as everything was totally twisted and it’s not what happened from our own point of view.”

Mr Laue said the mission would continue to undertake its operations without fear as the security of their observer team was not at risk.

“They just showed them credentials which the CIO requested to have copies of and they went to a nearby photocopying shop and provided all the information although it’s something unusual. For us, it’s a non-story, we are not concerned about the security of our observers since they were not harassed or intimidated,” he said.

“The only thing that is true was that our observers met a CIO but they were never harassed. We were very surprised to hear how the story was twisted in several papers.”

He said their coming to Chiredzi was in response to the Government of Zimbabwe’s call to have observers ahead of the July 30 harmonised polls.

Zanu PF Masvingo provincial spokesperson Cde Ronald Ndava, who also met the observer team in Chiredzi, said he was shocked when he read about the alleged harassment of EU observers by the CIO.

“People should not write propaganda to tarnish the image of the security forces and political parties, especially when we are just towards elections,’’ he said.

“The country has a cordial relationship with the European Union and other countries and that is why the President invited everyone to come and observe the elections. We seriously condemn the habit of writing pavement news trying to tarnish and soil our polls,” said Cde Ndava. Herald


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