By Prosper Ndlovu in Maputo
President Mnangagwa has said Zimbabweans should brace for harmonised elections in the next five months, which should be transparent, free and fair for the progressive good of the country. Speaking here during the fourth leg of his tour of the region in which he is apprising Sadc Heads of State and Government on political developments in Zimbabwe, Cde Mnangagwa said free and fair polls were critical in repositioning Zimbabwe as a democratic State within the international system
“Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months’ time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace because we know it is good for us and we have no doubt that we will have peaceful elections,” said Cde Mnangagwa who has vowed to defeat the weak opposition parties. “I assure the regional leadership that the forthcoming harmonised polls will embrace the tenets of democracy, fair play and standards set by us in the Sadc.
“We will ensure that Zimbabwe delivers free, credible, fair and indisputable elections to ensure Zimbabwe engages the world as a qualified democratic state.” The President met his Mozambican counterpart Cde Filipe Nyusi at State House for nearly three hours and exchanged views with him about the political situation in the country. The two leaders also affirmed commitments to mutual cooperation in development programmes and deepening bilateral ties for the benefit of their countries and the region at large.
President Mnangagwa also exchanged notes with former Mozambican presidents Cdes Joaquim Chissano and Amando Guebbuza and assured them that former President Mugabe’s safety and welfare were taken care of saying his legacy would be preserved as he has contributed immensely to the country. The President said Zimbabwe will continue to embrace regional commitments including guidelines on the holding of elections.
To that end Cde Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s forthcoming polls will be a Sadc, African Union affair and all states that subscribe to democratic values. As such, he said transparency during the entire electoral process was paramount in ensuring legitimacy, which is an asset in national development. He urged the Diaspora community to exercise its constitutional right to participate in the election process urging them to take advantage of the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise being conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. He, however, said Government was not capacitated logistically to facilitate voting outside Zimbabwe although the idea was desirable.
President Mnangagwa has so far visited South Africa, Angola and Namibia and is scheduled to visit Zambia tomorrow and Botswana in coming weeks, among other states. In all the engagements he has been explaining the political transition that saw him ascend to power and applauded the region and the international community for support. He said Zimbabwe was now geared for economic turnaround and was willing to work with diverse partners in rebuilding the economy and creating cordial relations with the international community.
The country is already implementing a raft of reform measures meant to improve the ease of doing business and attracting increased foreign direct investments. A 100-day turnaround plan is already being implemented with various Government departments and ministries working on set targets. The President, who left Harare at 7.30am, returned home yesterday evening and was welcomed at Robert Mugabe International Airport by the two Vice Presidents and senior Government officials.