By Staff Writer
THE United Kingdom (UK) has raised deep concerns over the shortcomings of the elections held in Zimbabwe recently amid calls for support to be thrown behind the regional bloc to achieve a lasting solution to the country’s problems.
The Southern Africa nation went for polls on August 23 and 24 in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa was announced the winner with 52,6% ahead of main contender Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) who polled 44% of the vote.
The polls were roundly condemned by local and foreign observer missions for once again failing the litmus test of free, fair and credible electoral standards.
Speaking in the House of Commons Baroness Hoey congratulated the Zimbabwean voters for their peaceful participation in Zimbabwe’s recent elections but took the State ,Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Minister over the crooked manner in which the elections were held.
“The UK is also concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding the compiling of results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the severe disruption of domestic observation.
“My Lords, it was obvious to every independent observer that those elections were not free and fair. In the words of Nelson Chamisa himself, they were a “blatant and gigantic fraud”, but the hard-hitting SADC report questioned the credibility,” she said.
Hoey said the saddest thing is that, as the election observers left, the familiar pattern of widespread arrests, abductions and torture of grass-roots supporters of the opposition is taking place as we speak all over the country.
“There were even lawyers arrested last night in a hospital where they were representing tortured victims—the same kind of retribution that Mugabe did after 2008.
“Does the noble Lord agree that now is the time for full support by His Majesty’s Government for SADC’s efforts to resolve the crisis, and in particular for our newly arrived ambassador to re-evaluate all facets of our relationship with a Zimbabwean Government who flout their own laws through acts of violence and torture, and to give some hope even in the darkest days to the perseverance and courage of the Zimbabwean people?”