The United States of America has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his political rivals to respect the rule of law, and to work together to enact necessary reforms that will prevent future poll disputes as was witnessed in the July 30 harmonised elections.
This comes as opposition leader Nelson Chamisa did not rule out the chances of him embarking on mass protests against Mnangagwa’s hotly-disputed victory in the plebiscite — a day after his party had appeared to accept, albeit grudgingly, Friday’s ruling by the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) which dismissed his bid to have the Zanu PF leader’s election victory nullified.
In a statement, the spokesperson of the US State Department, Heather Nauert, said Mnangagwa and the opposition should work together to end acts of violence and to engender respect for human rights.
“The United States remains concerned over politically-motivated human rights violations and abuses, and acts of post-electoral retribution in Zimbabwe.
“Violence and unlawful activity should not be part of the political process, and those responsible for such transgressions must be held accountable.
“Human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression and association, must be respected, and victims and witnesses of human rights violations and abuses deserve protection,” Nauert said on Friday.
Mnangagwa was credited with presiding over arguably the most peaceful election process in post-independent Zimbabwe — where for the first time the opposition was able to campaign freely in rural areas which are traditionally strongholds for the ruling Zanu PF.
However, the peaceful environment was marred by deadly violence which broke out in central Harare on August 1 when opposition supporters clashed with police, leading to the deaths of at least six people following the intervention of the army — which used live ammunition to break up the ugly protests.
Following the protests, the opposition also asserted that suspected security agents had been involved in retributive exercises in which they targeted senior MDC Alliance officials and polling agents — following the insistence by Chamisa that he had won the presidential election.
All this was seen by observers as harming Mnangagwa’s quest to mend years of Zimbabwe’s political and economic isolation by Western governments.
Prior to this, analysts had said the 75-year-old Zanu PF leader had done enough to project himself and his administration as being significantly different from the ousted Robert Mugabe — who was accused of despotism and running Zimbabwe into the ground.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has extended sanctions on Zimbabwe, in the aftermath of the poll dispute, as well as the ensuing damaging allegations of human rights violations.