Editorial Comment – Elections: Zim has nothing to hide

AS Zimbabwe inches closer to elections that are likely to be held within the next 100 days, it is quite remarkable that the country is peaceful and calm.

We are not heading for war. There is no violence and bloodletting or sharpening of machetes – except, of course, in the opposition camp where we have lately witnessed intra-party violence.

Zimbabwe is showing the world that it is ready to go into a process that is peaceful and will produce a credible and uncontested outcome.

It is common knowledge that detractors tried to use reports of violence, real or contrived, to besmirch successive elections during which the opposition has always come second best, even when elections in Zimbabwe would have been conducted in far much better conditions relative to other places in Africa.

We find it remarkable that President Mnangagwa is steering the country towards a peaceful poll that will mark a true departure from the past, as 2018 elections will be the first democratic polls in the period after former leader, Mr Robert Mugabe.

As we report elsewhere in today’s paper, President Mnangagwa has approved a list of 46 countries, 15 regional and continental bodies to observe the forthcoming national poll.

He has even extended the invitation to Messrs Jeffrey Lane Flake and Andrew Jackson Young Junior from the United States of America who were here recently as part of their efforts to inform the review of the US sanctions regime against Zimbabwe.

The overall message of President Mnangagwa is simple: Zimbabwe has nothing to hide hence what is likely to be the most transparent election in recent times.

President Mnangagwa is a pragmatic man.

His approach is a stark contrast with the sabre-rattling policy of the past.

Zimbabwe needs friends now.

Zimbabwe does not need to alienate anyone.

The country wants its legitimacy upheld.

All this will come from a country that is pragmatic and has its eyes on the ball. We can locate the national interest in this.

We are in an era where we are unencumbered by hubris and unhelpful recalcitrance.

This is realpolitik, which is also playing out in our reconfiguring international relations that are underpinned by economic diplomacy.

Zimbabwe is in a transitional phase.

The next elections will offer a real fresh start.

That is why we need a clean slate: our Government does not want to be held back by  unnecessary strictures.

This is the big ball that President Mnangagwa has his eyes on.

We just hope that various countries’ bodies and institutions that are being invited will also approach the process in good faith.

When a country opens up, which Zimbabwe is doing, mischief cannot be ruled out from some quarters within or without.

It would be counter-productive were we to witness the undermining of the goodwill and transparency that President Mnangagwa is evincing.

The international community, especially some formerly hostile quarters, need to give the President – and all of us – a  chance.

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