Zimbabwean Elections: now is not the time for quiet diplomacy
2 August 2018
The DA condemns in the strongest terms the use of live ammunition on unarmed civilians in Zimbabwe. This is a brutal act that is irreconcilable to a liberal democracy in which citizens have the freedom of expression, and to protest peacefully.
I had the opportunity to observe the election as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum. The mission was based in the central and urban constituency of Mutare in the Manicaland Province. We were in the field on Saturday for the final rallies and campaigns. The rallies concluded peacefully with no incidents reported at either MDC or ZANU-PF events.
We also had an opportunity to inspect the voting stations to assess the readiness of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Our initial assessment was positive as voting stations were adequately resourced with voting materials available and polling staff and party agents present. With the conclusion of the elections, it became evident however that a major source of contention would be the cumbersome counting procedure. The delay in the announcement of the Presidential results has led to an outpouring of frustration which has led to protests in the streets of Harare.
In light of the ongoing post-election violence, the DA calls on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately stand the army down. The preservation of lives must be the highest priority of the Zimbabwean government right now.
Further, we implore the SADC community and the South African Government to intervene and convene all the disputing parties with a view to securing a peaceful and stable Zimbabwe. Now is not the time of quiet diplomacy – calm and stability must be restored in Zimbabwe.
Our neighbours across the border have suffered decades of brutal dictatorship and deserve democracy, freedom and safety without further delay.
Issued by Stevens Mokgalapa, DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, 2 August 2018