Foreign election observer missions should be open-minded and must not come with predetermined conclusions to discredit Wednesday’s polls, President Mnangagwa has said.
He said this yesterday while addressing tens of thousands of ZANU PF supporters at the ruling party’s final provincial star rally at the Tongogara Business Centre, Shurugwi, in his home province of Midlands.
“We have invited observer groups from SADC, from the continent and from beyond,” he said.
“As I have said to all the observer missions, please do not come to observe us with foregone conclusions from your homes or your countries. Come with an open mind. We are a peaceful people.
“I am happy that all our political parties that are contesting in the current election have adhered to peaceful electoral processes.
“I am happy that so far, almost everybody has promised no violence; this is what it should be.
“However, we, as the ZANU PF party, are at the forefront of preaching peace and condemning violence. We say no to any form of violence. We say no to any hate speech; we are children of one family.”
Observers, he said, should stick to their mandate and not abuse their privileges.
“We have nothing to hide,” he continued.
“We have invited 45 countries, 17 continental regional bodies, as well as all embassies and consulates.
“In particular, we have invited every single member of our SADC body; they are our sisters and brothers; whatever we do, we share.
“We have a similar history. We were all colonised and we fought for our independence and democracy.
“We welcome these election observer missions to our great country. They must enjoy our hospitality; our people are very kind. I call upon the observer missions to keep to their terms of reference in the code of conduct of their work, because Zimbabwe remains a sovereign country.”
No one, said the President, was qualified to lecture ZANU PF about democracy, because the party fought for 16 years to bring democracy, independence, freedom and sovereignty to Zimbabwe.
“We are entrenching democracy, constitutionalism, good governance and human rights,” he said.
“I want to make this clear: No one is qualified to teach us democracy. We were never given our democracy, our freedom on a silver platter.
“We spent 16 solid years of armed struggle . . . an armed struggle for us to become independent.
“So, we were fighting for freedom and independence.
“So, no one should assume any role to teach us democracy, because we fought for it and acquired it ourselves.”
Despite illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West, said President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe continues to forge ahead to fulfil its developmental aspirations.
“For the last three years, our economy has been growing at a rate above 5 percent.
“We are one of the fastest-growing economies in our region.”
He urged the people to shame those wishing for violence in this year’s polls.
“Let us shame them by being peaceful; let us shame them by being non-violent.
“Let us shame them by accepting them in spite of them not wanting ZANU PF to rule.”
The President paid special tribute to former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano, who attended the rally.
Former President Chissano is the special facilitator for Zimbabwe’s debt and arrears clearance programme being spearheaded by the African Development Bank.
President Mnangagwa said he used to work closely with former President Chissano during the liberation war.
“In 1963, me and my dear brother shared trenches together when he was in Frelimo and I was in ZANU,” he added.
The President was accompanied by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, ZANU PF Second Secretary Cde Kembo Mohadi, the ruling party’s chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, and senior party and Government officials also attended the star rally.