By Moses Matenga
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday hinted that Zimbabwe might in future not invite foreign observers during local elections, saying the Malawi presidential elections had proved that they were not necessary.
Mnangagwa was addressing guests during a banquet he hosted for his visiting Malawian counterpart Lazarus Chakwera where he insisted that Zimbabwe was on the reform track.
Chakwera won the presidential election in a re-run against former leader Peter Mutharika, whose earlier victory had been overturned by the courts.
Elections in Malawi were held in June without observers from the United Nations, Sadc and civil society organisations due to the COVID-19 pandemic that restricted international travel.
Mnangagwa, who in 2018 invited election observers from all over the world arguing that Zimbabwe had nothing to hide, seems to have had a change of heart, saying since Malawi managed to conduct its elections without foreign observers, it was an indication that they were not needed.
“I should congratulate Malawi, for the first time in our region, possibly on the continent, here is a country which has had the general elections without foreign observers, without the United Nations, African Union, Sadc and almost all these civil society organisations observing elections,”
Mnangagwa said. “They (the elections) were successful, peaceful elections conducted by Malawi, on her own,” he added.
“This, as I mentioned to you earlier, makes us think whether it is still necessary for Sadc countries to look for supervision from across oceans. It is a question that we are interrogating,” Mnangagwa said.
The Malawian President has since flown back home after a two-day state visit that saw him visit the National Heroes’ Acre yesterday.
Zimbabwe goes to elections in 2023.
International observers in 2018 gave recommendations on how Zimbabwe should hold elections after violence broke out, leading to shootings by the military a day after the plebiscite.
Mnangagwa warned the opposition and civic society against demonstrations and plotting to unseat “democratically elected governments”.
“Those who prefer confrontation, anarchy, delinquency, civil disobedience and peddling falsehoods in a bid to unseat democratically elected governments have no place in our country and indeed in the Sadc region,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Malawian leader told his country’s media upon arrival back home that he could not censure Mnangagwa over alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe as he was “a new kid on the block” and there were processes to follow in dealing with such issues. NewsDay