Developing world, African diplomats endorse Zim elections

Ballot boxes ZEC

Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
Africa and the developing world yesterday endorsed President-elect Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory in the July 30 presidential elections and congratulated him for his triumph in the race.

President Mnangagwa got 50,8 percent of the total votes cast, beating his closest rival Mr Nelson Chamisa who was leading a coalition of seven political parties and polled 44,3 percent.

Diplomats from various regions in Africa and the developing world congratulated the Government of Zimbabwe through President Mnangagwa for organising a peaceful plebiscite, where all people and political parties expressed themselves freely before, during and after the polls.

The diplomats, who met President Mnangagwa at State House yesterday, said they drew several lessons they would suggest to their respective countries for implementation as a way of deepening democracy in their electoral systems.

The ambassadors were led by Dean of the Diplomatic Corp Ambassador Mwawapanga Mwanananga of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sadc chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was represented by his country’s ambassador, Mr Mphakama Mbete, while Angolan ambassador Mr Pedro Hendrik Vaal Neto stood in for the chairman of the Sadc Organ on Defence, Politics and Security and Angolan President João Lourenço.

Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which covers the East African Community, was represented by Sudanese ambassador, Mr Abdelbagi Babeir.

Members of IGAD include Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was represented by Indonesian ambassador, Mr Stephanus Yuwono, while Nigerian ambassador Ms Janet Bessong Odeka stood in for the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

Cuban ambassador, Carmelina Ramirez, represented the Americas.

During the meeting, President Mnangagwa emphasised that beyond free, fair, transparency and credible elections, the polls were aimed at entrenching a culture of tolerance and accommodative democracy in Zimbabwe.

He revealed to the ambassadors that he was in constant touch with the opposition.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Mr Mwanananga said: “We are here as the world. All the regions of the world are represented here to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe through their chosen leader. We are congratulating the people of Zimbabwe for the manner in which they conducted themselves throughout this entire process.

“They conducted themselves in a dignified manner and we do believe that the people of Zimbabwe also need a dignified leader and we have come to congratulate that dignified leader.”

Mr Yuwono said: “Congratulations to the people of Zimbabwe. A job well done in the elections and I wish prosperity for Zimbabwe.”

Mr Babeir said: “We would also want to add the congratulations from the eastern part of the continent to the people of Zimbabwe in the manner they conducted their election, which was very peaceful and actually educative to other countries that you could conduct a peaceful and well organised election.

“We look forward to seeing Zimbabwe moving forward and business coming in.”

Algerian ambassador Mr Nacerdine Sai said: “We took this opportunity to congratulate His Excellency the President and through him the people of Zimbabwe and the Government of Zimbabwe for the way they organised these elections in a peaceful, free and transparent manner.

“We congratulate Zimbabwe as a nation for the high spirit of responsibility they have shown during these elections, giving the world a good message on how to hold peaceful elections without any big confrontation.”

Mr Neto said: “We have come to present our congratulations to His Excellency the President and through him to the Zimbabwean people for the maturity they have shown.

“The whole process was organised in a very mature way and we think that Zimbabwe, with the efforts of its people and the new Government, will be in a position to retake the position it had in Africa as one of the most developing countries on the continent.

“We hope everyone will now unite with the Government for it to be in a better position to resolve the problems of the country, especially economic problems.”

Mr Mbete added: “We witness here the growth of democracy in Zimbabwe through this election — the way they were successfully conducted. We think that this is going to help in the growth and development of democracy in our country.

“We are very excited. We think that there are no perfect elections, there is no country with perfect elections, so we didn’t expect elections here to be perfect, but we are very sure that after what we witnessed in Zimbabwe that the next elections will be better than these.”

In his brief to journalists after the meeting, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said: “They congratulated the President and Zanu-PF for winning, and Government for managing a peaceful, credible, free and fair electoral process, which has been a source of pride for Sadc, for Africa and for the developed world, moreso as read against our violent politics of the past.

“The second critical aspect in terms of our election management system was that the whole group admitted that there are valuable lessons to draw from Zimbabwe with a view to incorporating these in their electoral system to strengthen democratic practises in their own countries.

“The third point, which was communicated, is that Zimbabwe should use this watershed election as a springboard to move on and do so in respect of critical areas of economic recovery and development — food security as well as realising Africa’s Agenda 2063.

“For the ambassadors, everyone was saying this opens way for us to interact more.

“The President said we used this election not just to ensure free, fair, transparent and credible elections held in peaceful context, more importantly to entrench the culture of tolerance and accommodative democracy, which we always want to inculcate in our people and we are happy that it is taking root.”