President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party says western observers will not be allowed to observe Zimbabwe's elections, in retaliation to sanctions imposed on the country.
But the move is likely to trigger new tensions in the southern African nation's coalition government, as other parties insist Zanu PF cannot take such a decision unilaterally.
Any country [...] which has in the past not invited Zimbabwe to observe its elections has doomed its chances [...]
Zanu PF maintains that all European Union countries, Britain and the United States will not be allowed to monitor Zimbabwe's elections as sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle remain.
On Monday, Foreign Affairs minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told Swedish development minister Gunilla Cartssoni that "one cannot observe anything in a country that they are hostile to".
"Any country, which imposed illegal sanctions or which has in the past not invited Zimbabwe to observe its elections has doomed its chances of coming to [our] elections," he charged.
"Sanctions mean there are no good relations, so how can we allow such nations with bad relations to come to our country? In fact, by imposing the embargo they have blown their chance in smoke."
The EU, Britain and America imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 following a violent presidential election and the seizure of white owned farms.
Recently, the European bloc relaxed the restrictions on a few of Mugabe's close associates, but Zanu PF says that is not enough, describing the move as a non-event.
Instead, invitations would be restricted to the Southern African Development Community, Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the African Union and other friendly countries.
However, a partner in the inclusive government, MDC has lashed out at Zanu PF for 'jumping the gun' by prematurely announcing that some foreign observers would be barred.
Regional Integration and International Co-operation and MDC secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi –Mushonga says no position had been reached on foreign observers.
"Before people rush to make such statements they should allow institutions mandated to handle such issues to do so.
"Being exclusionary gives a sense that you have soothing to hide. The more observers come to monitor you election the more legitimate it becomes," she said.
Zimbabwe will hold a constitutional referendum in 10 days, while a general election is due later this year.
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