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Chissano puts ED to test ...the world wants a credible election

Former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano will be in Harare and observe the country’s crucial polls slated for August 23, as the world interrogates Zimbabwe’s seriousness to joining the League of Nations and talking business like other progressive countries or not.

Xolisani Ncube

Chissano is leading Zimbabwe’s engagement with its creditors for arrears and debt clearance and believes free and fair elections and respect for human rights will unlock the country’s economic potential.

According to sources from Maputo, Chissano is interested in seeing how Harare will conduct its polls in a manner that satisfies creditors and money lenders who want to help Zimbabwe get out of its current woods.

“President Chissano is coming to Harare on Wednesday and will arrive at 2 pm so that he can see for himself how the country conducts its elections.  This will help him as the facilitator of the debt clearance initiative to come up with a clear position on whether the country is serious about joining other progressive countries or not. How polls are held will help his work so that he can convince lenders that Harare is ready to do business,” said a diplomatic source from Maputo.

Chissano, although he will not have a full team deployed countrywide, will work with other observer missions already in Harare such as the European Union, the Africa Union and the SADC team to get finer details of how the country has handled the elections.

According to sources, during his stay, he will hold talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa—who requested him to facilitate the debt clearance mission, Nelson Chamisa—the leader of the opposition and other key players to get first-hand information on how fair the electoral system has been.

The spokesperson to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Livit Mugejo confirmed that Chissano was going to be part of the observers approved to monitor the country’s watershed elections.

 “I am not aware of his itinerary but he will indeed be coming to observe our elections,” said Mugejo

If Zimbabwe fails to produce a credible election acceptable to the world—which is without violence and done according to the country’s law—it will unlock the country’s investment opportunities—thus according to sources working with Chissano.

These views are shared by Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, who is also part of the team facilitating a dialogue with the country’s creditors.

Communication between Chissano and the AFDB president suggests that the two want to help Harare get out of its current isolation and benefit from cheap loans available from international lenders—but this is achievable if Harare sorts out its democratic processes by conducting free and fair elections.

Among the issues that Zimbabwe is being monitored include instituting reforms to allow the broadening of the democratic space as well as implementing recommendations of the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry among other things.

Zimbabwe is saddled with a US$14 billion external debt and US$6 billion local arrears and the two esteemed leaders have been asked to engage with the creditors to find a solution—which includes renegotiating payment terms and interests among others.

Zimbabwe is saddled with economic woes, that are leading to "terrible consequences" for the southern African region and something must be done soon to change it that is according to the former Mozambican president 

Many regional infrastructure development plans, according to Chissano, including roads, railways and power transmission lines have been brought to a standstill as they have to run through Zimbabwe.

Already, according to diplomatic sources, red flags have been raised following the enactment of the criminal codification act which has a close that punishes people who engage with foreign governments or bad mouth the government. The amended law has been viewed by political actors as to be more draconian— worse than those established by the Ian Smith regime.

Also, the recent private organisation law is another red flag which creditors—especially those in the Paris Club and Briton institutions.


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