via Copy Zambian example, Bob urged – New Zimbabwe 25/01/2015
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been urged to “copy the Zambian example” and ensure Zimbabwe holds credible elections in future.
Congratulating Edgar Lungu who was elected Zambia’s new president, the MDC led by Welshman Ncube said Mugabe, who travelled to Lusaka for the inauguration, should ensure Zimbabwe emulates Zambia in future elections.
“Zambians exhibited a great deal of political maturity that should be emulated by other Southern African leaders and political institutions that believe in the abuse of political power and violent strategies to win elections.
“The MDC family is urging Mugabe and his party Zanu PF to draw lessons from the way Zambia has been holding its elections. Our desire as MDC is to see a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe where freedom of speech and freedom of association is respected,” the party said in a statement.
Reports from Zambia indicated that Mugabe who sneaked out of the country barely 24 hours after his return from a five week long holiday in the Far East, was heckled by Zambian opposition supporters who thought he was in that country to “assist Lungu to rig the elections”.
Mugabe arrived in Zambia well before the results were announced and ahead of most of the invited guests. A month before the election, Lungu flew to Zimbabwe to consult with Mugabe in what many thought was an arranged lesson on rigging for the then Zambian presidential hopeful.
Lungu eventually won the elections by a slim margin of about 30 000 votes with 47.96 percent to 47.17 percent for 52 year-old opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema who has said the election was “stolen” and “a sham.”
Since the emergence of a credible opposition at the turn of the century, Zimbabwe has held a number of elections most of which have been disputed by the opposition on allegations of rigging.
By elections are expected in March in Mount Darwin and Chirumanzu Zibangwe but the MDCs have said they will not be participating as long as Mugabe doesn’t implement electoral reforms.
Ncube’s party said the continued electoral theft by Mugabe and his Zanu PF party had resulted in the isolation of the country.
“Zimbabwe is in isolation today because of Zanu PF’s violent behaviour, intolerance, abuse of office and serious human rights abuses by the Mugabe administration.
“The reunification of the two MDC formations in Zimbabwe currently at an advanced stage will go a long way towards addressing the social, political and economic problems bedevilling our country,” the statement said.
Ncube’s MDC outfit last October agreed to a re-unification deal with another faction of the MDC fronted by Sekai Holland and that has amongst its leaders former Finance Minister Tendai Biti and his friend Elton Mangoma.
Zambia was forced into a snap election following the death of Michael Sata last year. His deputy Guy Scott took charge for three months but was barred from contesting as leader by a constitutional provision that requires one to have Zambian parentage to be president.