ZIMBABWE’S warring political leaders yesterday fell over each other in expressing their readiness to work with United States (US)President-elect Joe Biden, hoping to mend relations between Harare and Washington.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Biden thumped incumbent Donald Trump in a tightly contested poll last week, but the latter has declined to accept defeat citing electoral fraud.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe all congratulated Biden, who became the 46th US President.
Soon after his victory, Biden called for “healing” while Trump remained defiant, claiming fraud.
Mnangagwa, whose Zanu PF regime accuses Washington of interference in Harare’s internal affairs, was quick to send a congratulatory message saying: “On behalf of all Zimbabweans, huge congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden on your election victory. Zimbabwe wishes you every success in leading the American people. I look forward to working with you to increase co-operation between our two nations.”
Washington accuses the Harare regime of human rights abuses, failure to respect workers’ rights, and corruption, among other issues.
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the US policy on Zimbabwe was unlikely to change under Biden. He said it would be stricter on Mnangagwa, whose government has been paying “lip service” to human rights issues.
“Biden and the new government in America will likely be stricter than Trump whose focus was more on business and less on human rights issues. The democrats are more focused on rights issues that the Zanu PF government under ED has been paying lip service to,” Mukundu said.
Chamisa said US elections had demonstrated the importance of having a neutral commission in charge of polls.
“Elections should be neutral to an extent that the incumbent thinks he is being rigged. The incumbent (Trump) cried foul because he had seen that the going was tough,” Chamisa said.
“In Zimbabwe, you won’t find a neutral referee. You will never find us in the State media. They talk bad about you everyday, but they do not give you space,” he added before taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, to congratulate Biden.
“Congratulations go to President-elect Joe Biden, and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris. In electing you, Americans have spoken and delivered a historic and progressive result whose implications for democracy and diversity will inspire many beyond US borders and around the world,” Chamisa wrote.
Khupe, who was tasked to engage the West by Mnangagwa under the Political Actors’ Dialogue and was set to travel to the US before COVID-19 struck, wrote: “Congratulations to the
President-elect of the US. I would also like to specially congratulate the first female Vice-President-elect of the US, Kamala Harris on her historic achievement.”
Kamala became the first female US Vice-President, and also the first black woman to occupy the post.