US urges ED to engage opponents, opposition to respect rule of law

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By Staff Reporter

THE United States Friday urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to engage his political opponents and other stakeholders in efforts to restore sanity in a country torn apart by bitter disagreements over the outcome of the just ended polls.

In a statement which followed Friday’s Constitutional Court ruling upholding Mnangagwa’s electoral victory, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert also said those responsible for violence in the country must be brought to book.

“Violence and unlawful activity should not be part of the political process, and those responsible for such transgressions must be held accountable,” she said.

While the period leading up to Zimbabwe’s July 30 elections was largely peacefully, violence erupted in Harare August 1, when MDC Alliance supporters took to the streets claiming their party had been robbed of victory through vote fraud.

Six people were gunned down by the army which had been deployed to quell the skirmishes.

This was followed by a state crackdown on opposition leaders and activists some of who were forced to go into hiding.

Said the US spokesperson, “Human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression and association, must be respected, and victims and witnesses of human rights violations and abuses deserve protection under the law.

“The United States encourages the Government of Zimbabwe to hold substantive discussions with all stakeholders and implement electoral and broader political and economic reforms.”

President Mnangagwa said Friday he was ready to work with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.

The US recently elected to keep its sanctions law against Zimbabwe, a sign it was not yet satisfied with the progress of Zimbabwe’s return to full democracy.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act was enacted 2001 following massive vote theft and rights abuses by the then Robert Mugabe led regime.

But in its latest statement Friday, the superpower said it was ready to reengage its troubled former ally.

“We stand ready to continue our dialogue with Zimbabwe’s political, economic, and civil society leaders to foster inclusive democratic governance for the betterment of all citizens.

“Further reforms are necessary to meet standards Zimbabweans expect and deserve and which reflect regional and international best practices for democratic elections,” said the US.