EDITORIAL COMMENT: Nation needs to heal, move forward

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has pledged to serve all Zimbabweans irrespective of political affiliation following his election to the Presidency in the harmonised elections held last Monday. He has also extended an olive hand to the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, Mr Nelson Chamisa, saying the youthful politician has a crucial role to play in Zimbabwe’s present and future.

“I pledge to be the President of all Zimbabweans. A President of those that voted for me and those who did not. For both must be made to belong and to participate in national processes,” the President said during a Press conference at State House in Harare on Friday.

Addressing Mr Chamisa directly, President Mnangagwa said: “To Nelson Chamisa, I want to say; You have a crucial role to play in Zimbabwe’s present and its unfolding future. Let us both call for peace and unity in our land, call for both, should be louder than ever. That is the role of leaders. That is our joint responsibility even though discharged and fulfilled differently.”

President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to be united despite their political differences. “To all Zimbabweans, let me say that although we were divided at the polls, we are now united in the aftermath of the democratic process, indeed in our dreams and in our aspirations. Though some will inevitably be disappointed with the outcome, I urge everyone to be calm and peaceful and to look forward. To remember that we are all brothers and sisters and that this land is all we have,” the President said.

“Now is the time for us to come together as one, to work as one people. Sharing one dream, one destiny,” President Mnangagwa added. He also said it was everyone’s wish that Zimbabwe succeeds, which requires unity among all Zimbabweans and reiterated his pledge to be a listening President and thanked Zimbabweans for showing their faith in his leadership.

“Now that the people have spoken I hear your call. I pledge to be a listening President, a fair President, a responsible and inclusive leader,” he said. “I thank you the people of Zimbabwe for putting your faith in me to lead you for the next five years. I pray that I prove worthy of your trust,” he said.

“The time for politics is now behind us. Now begins the time for work and progress. A season for greater peace and harmony in our nation,” said President Mnangagwa. Zanu-PF cantered to victory in both the presidential and House of Assembly elections where it garnered a two thirds majority in Parliament.

The harmonised elections have been endorsed by most of the observer missions with several countries in Sadc and the wider African continent congratulating President Mnangagwa for winning the polls and the people of Zimbabwe for holding a peaceful, credible, free and fair plebiscite.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has also published consolidated results of the presidential poll as demanded by the opposition parties and Western observer missions, dispelling any notions that the election was rigged.  In the interim, Government has said it will announce an inauguration date for President-elect Mnangagwa when it becomes clear that there is no contestation of the result in court.

Mr Chamisa, who has not been magnanimous in defeat, has indicated that he will challenge the election outcome in court and has seven days from the date of declaration of results to lodge his application in the Constitutional Court. There have been loud calls from within Zimbabwe and beyond for Mr Chamisa to accept defeat graciously and allow the country to heal and move forward.

Firebrand Economic Freedom Fighters of South Africa president Mr Julius Malema said Mr Chamisa must focus on the next elections set for 2023.

He congratulated President Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe for holding a peaceful election witnessed by both local and foreign observers.

“We congratulate President Mnangagwa and we want to congratulate Zimbabweans for having conducted a peaceful election,” said Mr Malema.

“It was highly contested, a lot of interests were there, but eventually Zimbabweans have spoken and all of us must respect the voice of the people of Zimbabwe.

“We might have had different interests, but once elections are declared particularly in a process where international observers were given 100 percent access to voting, 100 percent access to counting, anyone who alleges rigging must bring V11 forms and prove station by station on how elections were stolen.

“In the absence of evidence, any rhetoric that suggests there was rigging is actually putting the lives of Zimbabweans in danger.”

We urge Mr Chamisa to listen to the numerous voices of reason and accept defeat. There is no need for him to hold Zimbabweans to ransom through frivolous electoral challenges when it is clear that he was beaten fair and square. President-elect Mnangagwa needs to knuckle down to the business of getting the economy working again.