2023 ELECTIONS: President Mnangagwa opens the door for foreign observers but shuts it on…

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AHEAD of next year’s harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa has opened the door for external observers, shut the door on meddlesome non-governmental organisations and reiterated his anti-violence stance.

The President said peace should foremost be observed at local party level which should be going for primary elections, in fulfilling democratic principles.

Writing in his weekly column in the Sunday Mail, President Mnangagwa said next year’s elections will be held under the full glare of international observers, as the country’s democracy has come of age.

“We have nothing to hide, and I will ensure Government invites the international community to observe our elections.

“However, no observer mission invites itself; or seeks to impose its own timetable on us. Everything will run according to national laws and African protocols will guide us.

“Even as we invite the international community, we firmly believe our elections are African and for Africa. Indeed, the forthcoming elections will be the Zimbabwean Chapter to African democracy. The laws and protocols on which the polls will run are African.

“I believe Africa is well-equipped to mind its own elections and electoral processes; we have adequate national laws; Africa has developed adequate rules and electoral guidelines, whether as SADC, other subregional groupings, or as the AU.

“To that end, we will place greater store and value on expectations, views and judgments of Africa, our mother continent. It has the prime mandate to peer-review us,” he said.

Even before the country goes for elections, the country’s detractors are yet again ratcheting up their anti-Zimbabwe stance through concocting falsehoods that prop up their puppets.

However, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe rejects as out rightly unfair and unjust any attempts to prejudge the polls; or to turn the polls into excuses or justification for preconceived hostile policies against the country.

“Our partners will be invited beyond our continent, friendly countries and groupings we relate to will also be invited. These have been our all-weather partners in development; they also invite us to observe their elections and/or elective events; they thus deserve a special place in our plebiscitary processes.

“We commit to free, fair and transparent polls. We undertake and commit ourselves to running clean, transparent, free and fair elections.

“Since 2018, many reforms have been made to our electoral laws and practices. We continue to review our whole electoral regime and ethos, to keep pace with expectations of our citizens, and to align ourselves to best practices. Our Parliament is the forum for considering any such changes.

“Genuine reforms are always organic; they must issue from our own people, not from outsiders.

“No to political violence! No violence will be tolerated, whether before, during or after elections. Every citizen must feel safe and secure enough to cast his or her vote, in an environment of total peace, which must abide long after the plebiscite. No democracy, no development takes place under conditions of division, conflict or senseless contestation.”

The President said as Zimbabwe implements its vision to be an upper middle class economy by 2030, peace and unity remain requisite.

As such, the President said Zimbabweans alone bear the full burden and sole responsibility of rebuilding and growing their economy and country, espousing the principles: Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo and Nyika Inotongwa Nevene Vayo.

“These two mantras draw clear and indelible boundaries on who is a lawful actor in national processes, including in the impending harmonised elections,” said the President.

The Second Republic, he added, believes in democracy that is organic and finds expression in Parliament, the pillar of State that is currently in the process of enacting the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Act (PVO Act).

“The PVO Act will put an end to foreign meddling. I have had to stress this point because we continue to get reports of a few hostile countries that are trying, through their embassies here, to persistently meddle in, and to manipulate our electoral processes.

“Today, I call them to order, warning them against challenging our hard-won sovereignty, which is embodied in all our national processes, including elections. Quite often, these hostile countries use political NGOs they deliberately set up; they fund and run as Trojan Horses here.

“It is this kind of mischief, this wanton abuse of our goodwill, which has forced us to introduce the PVO Bill in our Parliament. I am ready to sign this Bill into law once Parliament has done its part. It is a law which has countless siblings in different jurisdictions, including those of governments counselling and urging us against it.

“Genuine NGOs have nothing to fear. Honest and well-meaning NGOs have nothing to fear. They will be allowed to go about their humanitarian work, without let or hindrance.

“Those peddling or saddled with foreign interests and agendas have a lot to worry about; we will act on them once we establish they have betrayed their mandate. This includes banning and kicking them out of our country.

“Let peace reign in our nation as we head towards the 2023 Harmonised General Elections,” he said.

Unlike other parties that abhor and dodge democratic processes, Zanu PF has this year fulfilled all the constitutional requirements, laying the foundation for the holding of democratic polls on a national level.

— Herald


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