By Staff Reporter
AFRICAN observer missions to the July 30 elections have slammed the use of force by the military to suppress protests by opposition supporters after crunch vote.
At least seven civilians were killed on August 1 when soldiers opened fire at opposition activists demonstrating against delays by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in releasing presidential election results.
The missions, who had previously given a clean bill to the elections, said in a joint statement they were gravely concerned by the outbreaks of post-election violence which came after a generally peaceful and orderly pre-electoral period.
The missions also denounced the use of violence by the protestors.
“While recognizing the right to peaceful protest, we condemn vandalism and destruction of property and call on political party supporters to abide by the law.
“We denounce the excessive use of force to quell protests and urge the police and army to exercise restraint,” they said.
The missions said they stood in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe who voted in their numbers because they were aspiring for a new beginning.
“We stand in solidarity with them as they look up to their leaders and all stakeholders to complete this process peacefully and credibly and to ensure their voters truly count,” they said.
Political leaders and stakeholders, the missions added, should show magnanimity in victory and graciousness in defeat.
“We call on the leadership of all political parties and their supporters, in particular the two main parties, Zanu PF and MDC Alliance, civil society, faith-based organisations and all other stakeholders to safeguard the integrity of the political and electoral process.”
The MDC Alliance has since made a Constitutional Court application challenging the election results announced by ZEC and has cited Mnangagwa, ZEC and the other presidential contenders.
LIST OF MISSIONS WHICH SIGNED THE STATEMENT;
- His Excellency Hailemariam Dessalegn Boshe, Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM)
- His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, Head of the Commonwealth Election Observation Mission
- His Excellency Tete Antonio, Secretary of State for External Relations of the Republic of Angola and Head of the SADC Election Observation Mission
- Justice Dr. Patrick Matibini, Head of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Observation Mission
- Judge Semistocles Kaijage, Head of Mission, ECF – SADC
- Ambassador Ashraf Rashed, Head of COMESA Election Observation Mission
- Elmar Brok, Head of the European Union Election
- Masa Janjusevic, Head of the Carter Centre Election Observation Mission
- Joint International Observation Delegation of IRI and NDI