On 27 August 2023, UN Secretary-General António Guterres displayed attentiveness towards Zimbabwe’s election advancements, with his spokesperson confirming his close monitoring of the situation. Various regions, including the capital city of Harare, experienced ballot paper shortages, prompting the extension of voting to Thursday. As a result, citizens cast their votes on Wednesday.
UN Secretary-General Expresses Concern Over Zimbabwe’s Election Developments
Guterres stressed the significance of allocating adequate resources to guarantee a seamless and efficient election process for all Zimbabwean citizens. The UN is committed to assisting the nation in tackling challenges and enhancing transparency in its electoral system, recognizing its vital role in fortifying democracy.
President Mnangagwa Wins Second Five-Year Term Despite Challenges
On Saturday, it was revealed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa secured his second five-year term. His political party, ZANU-PF, has governed since Zimbabwe gained independence from white minority rule in 1980. Based on media reports, 80-year-old Mnangagwa garnered over 52% of the votes. This victory reinforces ZANU-PF’s four-decade stronghold on power. Despite confronting multiple challenges, such as economic difficulties and allegations of electoral fraud, Mnangagwa’s triumph suggests that Zimbabweans still have faith in his governance and the ruling party’s policies.
Opposition Disputes Election Results; Calls for Independent Investigation
Nelson Chamisa, the opposition candidate and Citizens Coalition for Change party member, received 44% of the votes and contested the election outcome. Chamisa and his party demanded an impartial probe into the voting process, voicing concerns over potential fraud and irregularities. While awaiting further developments, the Citizens Coalition for Change has urged its supporters to maintain peace and vigilance in defending democracy.
Detention of Observers, Voter Intimidation, and Violence: Issues Impacting Election Integrity
Secretary-General Guterres expressed apprehension regarding multiple incidents—including the detainment of election observers, voter intimidation, violent threats, and cases of harassment and coercion—that have considerably marred the electoral process, casting doubt on the transparency and democratic integrity. Guterres appeals to all parties involved to pursue peaceful and inclusive dialogue while respecting the fundamental rights of both citizens and observers.
Emphasis on Peaceful Dialogue and Rejection of Violence
The Secretary-General calls on political leaders and their supporters to reject any and all forms of violence, threats of violence, or incitement to violence, and to ensure that human rights and the rule of law are fully respected,” said his spokesperson.
Guterres stressed the significance of peaceful dialogue and urged all parties to engage in constructive discussions aimed at resolving disputes and fostering a united nation. Additionally, the Secretary-General underlined the essential role of the international community in supporting these endeavors and cultivating an environment of safety, stability, and collaboration.
Resolving Conflicts: Legal and Institutional Means, Diplomacy, and Dialogue
Guterres also encouraged political actors to peacefully resolve conflicts through legal and institutional channels. He underscored the value of diplomacy and dialogue in addressing disagreements, emphasizing the necessity for cooperation in realizing sustainable solutions. This approach not only aids in mutual understanding amongst parties but also contributes to global political stability and harmony.
Transparent and Timely Resolution of Disagreements
The Secretary-General called upon authorities to settle any disagreements fairly, promptly, and transparently to ensure the election outcomes accurately depict the public’s will. Furthermore, he emphasized the significance of open communication between all parties to preserve trust and credibility throughout the electoral process. Active participation and collaboration from each stakeholder are vital in upholding democratic values and accurately counting every citizen’s vote.
Frequently Asked Questions
What issues did Zimbabwe face during the election?
Various regions faced ballot paper shortages, prompting the extension of voting. Instances of voter intimidation, violent threats, and harassment also marred the electoral process, casting doubt on its transparency and democratic integrity.
Who emerged as the winner of the election?
President Emmerson Mnangagwa won his second five-year term, garnering over 52% of the votes. This victory reinforced ZANU-PF’s four-decade stronghold on power.
How did the opposition respond to the election results?
Nelson Chamisa, the opposition candidate, contested the election outcome and called for an impartial investigation into potential fraud and irregularities in the voting process. His party, the Citizens Coalition for Change, urged supporters to maintain peace and vigilance in defending democracy.
What has the UN Secretary-General said about the situation?
Secretary-General António Guterres expressed concern over the election’s developments, stressing the importance of allocating resources to ensure a smooth process and urging political leaders to reject violence and engage in peaceful dialogue. He also emphasized the need for a transparent and timely resolution of disagreements and the role of the international community in supporting Zimbabwe.
What methods did the Secretary-General recommend for resolving conflicts?
Guterres encouraged political actors to resolve conflicts through legal and institutional channels, diplomacy, and dialogue, emphasizing cooperation in realizing sustainable solutions. He also highlighted the need for prompt and transparent resolution of disagreements and active collaboration across stakeholders.
First Reported on: un.org
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Tatenda Mapigoti; Unsplash; Thank you!