US voices concern ahead of Zimbabwe election 

US voices concern ahead of Zimbabwe election 


WASHINGTON: The United States voiced concern about the conduct of Zimbabwe’s election Wednesday and called on all sides to commit to a free and violence-free vote.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, 45, is seeking to end the rule of the ZANU-PF party, in power nearly since his birth, but has faced bans on dozens of campaign meetings and assaults on his supporters.

The United States, which has imposed years of targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe on rights grounds, called for “free, fair and peaceful elections” while saying it did not back any candidate.

“We call on the government of Zimbabwe and all political leaders to ensure the elections are free of violence and coercion,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement Tuesday.

“We are concerned by recent actions leading up to the elections, including political violence and legislation that curtails human rights and freedoms enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution,” he said.

He also condemned the denial of credentials to international journalists and domestic civil society to cover the election.

A fledgling democracy on independence in 1980, Zimbabwe descended into authoritarianism and economic decline under its first president Robert Mugabe, who ruled until 2017.

Mugabe was pushed out by Emmerson Mnangagwa, 80, who is seeking a new term in Wednesday’s vote.

Mnangagwa’s arrival in 2017 brought cautious hopes of a better relationship with Western powers, but the United States has condemned continued crackdowns on protests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *