Prosper Ndlovu in Maputo, Mozambique
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said Zimbabweans should brace for harmonised elections in the next five months.
Speaking here on the fourth leg of his tour of the region in which he is apprising Sadc heads of states about the political developments in Zimbabwe, he said the elections should be transparent, free and fair.
He 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 President Mnangagwa who has already expressed confidence that he and his party Zanu-PF will defeat weak opposition parties.
“I assure the regional leadership that the forthcoming harmonised polls will embrace the tenets of democracy, fairplay and standards set by us in the Sadc. We will ensure that Zimbabwe delivers free, credible, fair and undisputable elections to ensure Zimbabwe engages the world as a qualified democratic state.”
The President met his Mozambique 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 Armando Guebuza and assured them that former President Mugabe’s safety and welfare were being taken care of.
He said 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 President 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 logistically incapacitated 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 had with regional leaders, he is explaining the political transition that saw him ascend to power and applauded the region and the international community for their 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 Government is already implementing a raft of reforms meant to rejuvenate business and attract increased foreign direct investment. A 100-day turnaround plan is already being implemented with various Government departments and ministries working on set targets.
The President, who left the country at 7.30am yesterday was seen off the Robert Mugabe International Airport by his two deputies Cdes Kembo Mohadi and General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired), senior Government officials and service chiefs.
He was accompanied by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo (Retired) and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services who is also presidential spokesperson, Mr George Charamba.
He was welcomed at the Maputo International Airport by Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Mozambique Major General Nicholas Dube (Retired) and senior Mozambique government officials.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa returned home yesterday evening and was welcomed by his deputies and senior Government officials.