HARARE-- The United Nations is satisfied with preparations that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has made so far to ensure that the country holds free, fair and credible elections on july 32, a senior UN official says.

So far, the ZEC has compiled a biometric voters' roll and opened it for public inspection and has started making available copies to political parties and candidates in accordance with Zimbabwean law.

Also as part of the preparations, the ZEC has received nomination papers from prospective candidates for Parliamentary, Senate and local council elections at nomination courts which sat last week throughout the

country. A record 23 candidates filed nomination papers to contest for the Presidency.

The visiting UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, told journalists here Wednesday that the world body would continue providing electoral support to Zimbabwe through the office of its resident co-ordinator.

The comments by Zeruhoin fly in the face of comments from the main opposition group, the MDC Alliance, which is alleging that the playing field is not level and which is threatening to stop the poll unless its demands for more electoral reforms are met.

We met with the head of ZEC, we were given a very comprehensive briefing, an encouraging briefing, but certainly there are issues to be handled and discussed. But I think there is a positive, in my personal rating, a positive pre-disposition in the way things are going, Zeruhoin said after meeting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

At the end of the day, the UN's normative agenda is to help countries in their efforts to have as inclusive, transparent and free and fair elections as possible so that the outcome truly reflects the will of the people and therefore is accepted by all.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised that the impending election would be transparent and has opened the poll to scrutiny from international observers who the previous dispensation barred from observing.

So far, the campaign period has largely been peaceful compared to previous elections, with a few reported cases of political violence and most of the reported cases involve intra-party disagreements.

Zerihoun said his visit to Zimbabwe was part of a tour of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) SUB-region for periodic consultations between the UN and the bloc to review long-standing co-operation agreements.

My visit is focused more on the region than on specific countries, he said.