A domestic matter:

Elections without International Observers

The timelines imposed by the courts place the fresh elections right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course this was unforeseen in February but the fact that the Supreme Court completely ignored it in its Friday ruling is remarkable.

Essentially, the possible absence of the usual external election stakeholders including International Observers will make the fresh election a uniquely domestic affair and it will be incumbent upon our political parties to be willing to accept whatever outcome emerges. With the restrictions that COVID-19 preventative and protective measures in place in many countries, it is doubtful that observer missions will be sent to be part of this election.

Since all political parties go into these elections being mindful of the fact that the conditions are not conducive and it would be disingenuous to turnaround after the outcome to complain about the conditions, which they are presently willing to ignore. Whilst traditionally, the presence of outside observers is believed to enhance the credibility of the electoral process, we know that the affirmative reports from international election observer missions, including the endorsement of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was contrary to the verdicts of our courts and the grievances raised by petitioners.

So perhaps, the opposition parties will be happy to hold elections without international observers. The free and fairness of these elections will remain in doubt and whatever gains the opposition thought they might have attained from this might prove detrimental to what they seek to achieve.

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