Election observers sent by the Pan African Parliament (PAP) started leaving Zimbabwe on Tuesday after the withdrawal from the run-off by the leader of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone North and PAP member Keletso Rakhudu confirmed yesterday that there was no need to keep the observers in the country because "technically there are no elections". He said that there are 34 MPs from PAP and 24 technical support staff whose numbers are being scaled down.
"We will only leave a skeletal staff to do the observation and attend to a few things," he said in a telephone interview from Zimbabwe.
He said that the remaining staff will stay in the country until the voting is complete and will issue an interim statement. "After several weeks or a few months we will then issue a final statement on the elections,"
He was surprised that even after the withdrawal of Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe is adamant that elections should be held on Friday though it will be a one-man show.
The law of Zimbabwe states that presidential candidates can only withdraw from the race 21 days before elections day and Tsvangirai's withdrawal is going to give Mugabe another term in office.
Rakhudu said that the situation in Zimbabwe has not changed since Tsvangirai's withdrawal as the ZANU-PF militia continue to attack rival supporters. Tsvangirai, who is said to have sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare, has since called for the deployment of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force in Zimbabwe.