A former United Nations Secretary-General has said Zimbabwe’s ongoing political crisis presents an opportunity of a transition into a ‘genuine democracy.’
According to Kofi Annan, if leaders of the southern African country put the nation first in these times, Zimbabwe will be the winner at the end of the day.
Annan in his capacity as Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation stressed in a statement released on Monday (November 20) that the best way out of the crisis was for a free, fair and credible election when citizens go to the polls in 2018.
This requires that all political parties and candidates are allowed to campaign openly and freely without intimidation, that the media is permitted to provide impartial coverage of the elections.
“General elections in Zimbabwe are already scheduled for 2018. They present an historic opportunity for the voters of Zimbabwe to choose their leaders in a manner that confers full legitimacy on the winning candidate. That vital goal will only be achieved by safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.
“This requires that all political parties and candidates are allowed to campaign openly and freely without intimidation, that the media is permitted to provide impartial coverage of the elections and the Zimbabwe voters are empowered and encouraged to vote for whomever they wish without fear or favour,” he said.
He warned Zimbabwe not to slide into setbacks as has been seen by African nations during political transitions. The events of the past week offers Zimbabwe the chance for democratic renewal and a march towards genuine democracy, Annan added.
The Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) last Wednesday seized power after it had warned President Mugabe to halt political purges of supporters of his former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe fired Mnangagwa in what was believed to be a move to allow First Lady Grace Mugabe take that post.
Mugabe has resisted pressure to resign despite losing support of the ruling party, ZANU-PF and war veterans. There was a massive anti-Mugabe protest over the weekend demanding that the 93-year-old steps down.
But in an address to the nation last Sunday, Mugabe said he still remained in charge and that he will preside over ZANU-PF’s congress in December. He had earlier being recalled by the party as its president and secretary.