Nigeria wants AU observers for Zimbabwe run-off elections
The Nigerian government called Monday for a large deployment of African Union observers to monitor run-off elections in Zimbabwe, the dpa reported.
"There is need for many observers from many African Union countries to monitor the run-off election," Foreign Affairs Minister Ojo Maduekwe said in Abuja.
"If we have a large number of observers coming in to show solidarity but not to judge the Zimbabweans, that will help to avoid a breakdown of law and order."
Madueke said that Nigeria had been having discussions on the issue with South AfricaM President Thabo Mbeki and the Zimbabwean foreign affairs minister.
"During the discussions, Nigeria again stressed the need for a peaceful runoff and to assuage the fears of opposition party on a violence-free and fair re-run election in Zimbabwe," Madueke said.
He said that part of the discussions centred on the African Peer Review Mechanism, adding that the fallout of any crisis in any African nation could have ripple effects on the continent.
The Zimbabwean government, the opposition party and the entire people of Zimbabwe deserved a peaceful transition from one election to another, Madueke said.
He explained that Nigeria did not get involved in the Zimbabwean situation because it believed that the South African Development Community (SADEC) should be given a free hand in the matter.
" Nigeria's position has been to allow SADEC to handle the situation, and we are satisfied with them, because at a meeting in Zambia, all sides were asked to respect the law," Madueke said.
"We felt it was counterproductive for Nigeria to get involved. That we are not running over all the place does not mean that we are indifferent or silent."
He recalled the sacrifices that Nigeria had made in the restoration of peace and security in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia and currently in Sudan's western region of Darfur.
" Nigeria is the largest contributor to peacekeeping on the continent. The moral responsibility is to urge Zimbabweans to respect their constitution and resort to due process in the election," Maduekwe said.