Mnangagwa meets Kofi Annan

 Mnangagwa meets Kofi Annan
Published: 22 July 2018
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday met The Elders led by former United Nations secretary general, Mr Kofi Annan, whom he categorically told all was set for the July 30 harmonised elections and that anyone aggrieved by the operations of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) was free to approach the courts.

Government, the President told The Elders, had no control over Zec as it was a constitutionally independent body.

This came as political parties on Thursday told The Elders the democratic space had been opened by President Mnangagwa's administration and that they were campaigning freely countrywide.

The Elders is a group of global leaders "working for peace and human rights".

Mr Annan is accompanied by former Ireland President Mary Robinson and Mr Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, President Mnangagwa said he had had an excellent meeting with The Elders.

"They wanted a brief on the current situation in the country," he said.

"I was able to tell them that we are going through a process of the general harmonised elections in our country. This time around most of the political parties have been created as a result of opened up democratic space in Zimbabwe. We have 133 political parties and out of that 55 are contesting elections and out of the 55, 23 are contesting the office of the President," he said.

He said he told The Elders Zimbabweans had heeded his call for peaceful campaigns ahead of the polls.

"We are happy that up to now our people, political parties included, have heeded our call for non-violence," President Mnangagwa said.

"Yes, there was an incident in Bulawayo. That was intended to assassinate me, not democracy. It was very clear that this is what we are having and we are moving forward and we have Zec which is an independent electoral commission of this country."

He said Government had no role in the operations of the electoral body.

"They (Zec) are guided by the Electoral Act of the country as well as the Constitution," he said.

"Those who feel that Zec has not complied with the law or Constitution, our courts are open for them to deal with such issues."

"On their part, they (The Elders) said they had an opportunity of meeting many leaders of political parties and organisations.

"Across the board, they feel that this time around there is freedom to move in the country and do political campaigns. There are a few issues they raised with Zec which they are going to meet now."

Mr Annan said he would address the media today.

Asked why he was in the country, he curtly said: "(We are here) to encourage a peaceful and credible election."

The Elders met with presidential candidates who included Dr Joice Mujuru (Rainbow Coalition), Dr Nkosana Moyo (Alliance for the People's Agenda) and Mr Elton Mangoma (CODE).

They also met various civil society organisations.

Yesterday, The Elders met MDC Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa and Zec officials.

Zec chair Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the engagement was frank.

"The deliberations that we shared with The Elders must by necessity remain confidential," she said.

"In general, The Elders have met with a number of stakeholders and they communicated with us what was discussed with them.

"They put a few questions to us about areas of concern but mainly they were full of words of encouragement about the fact that as a country we are about to go to elections in 10 days' time and that we must do everything possible in order to take our country forward.

"We are going to be encouraged by their worlds. We did clarify a few issues and we were given wise counsel and we benefited and we are grateful to The Elders."

Justice Chigumba said any perceived outstanding issues would be tabled before the multi-party liaison committee.

Mr Chamisa said: "We have articulated what we have termed a red line, issues that we cannot compromise on as players, candidates but also as the largest opposition in the country.

"The main issue for us, which is a deal breaker, is the issue of the ballot paper, its security, printing, design and the stalemate which we have now hit as a country.

"We have declared that we have a processes stalemate, a process crisis and an election crisis arising out of our disagreements with our colleague in Zanu-PF, Mr Mnangagwa and also his paper commitment to a free and fair election without indeed committing in terms of the practical issues around the legislation."

He said they wanted the recent postal voting nullified.

Zec has pronounced itself on postal voting saying the voting could not be nullified unless there was evidence of electoral malpractice.

Mr Chamisa said The Elders had "made a commitment that they will also consider our position."
- chronicle
Tags: Mnangagwa, Annan,


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