WINDHOEK – Leader of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), McHenry Venaani has hailed Zimbabwe presidential elections saying the general processes was an improvement from “what we have seen of the last previous elections”.
Speaking to New Era from South Africa on Thursday, Venaani said in the early 2000’s, 2008 and 2013, there was more of a culture that was building up in the country of political tolerance not to a very large extent but it was better than usual, so that process one could say that there was an improvement.
However, Venaani said he concur with what former Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who according to him said that there is a need for Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce the presidential elections results and the delay thereof tells a dark story about the credibility of ZEC.
“The non-releasing of presidential elections tells a very stark story, a story that there could be any tempering of results,” he said.
Asked whether the elections was free and fair, Venaani said he does not know since he does not have internal mechanics to really know what has happened.
“My worry is that there is no way that any electoral commission will know parliamentary results of an election that went concurrently,” said the leader of the official opposition. Venaani urged all parties to restrain from any act of violence. He also pleaded with the Zimbabwean Authorities from using fire bullets on demonstrators.
Meanwhile, the African News Agency (ANA) reported that South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, on Thursday called on Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa to withdraw the army from the streets of Harare following widespread reports of civilians being shot by the military.
“In light of the ongoing post-election violence, the DA calls on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately stand the army down. The preservation of lives must be the highest priority of the Zimbabwean government right now,” the News Agency quoted DA’s spokesman on international relations and cooperation, Stevens Mokgalapa as to have said.
“Further, we implore the SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the South African government to intervene and convene all the disputing parties with a view to secure a peaceful and stable Zimbabwe. Now is not the time of quiet diplomacy – calm and stability must be restored in Zimbabwe. Our neighbours across the border have suffered decades of brutal dictatorship and deserve democracy, freedom and safety without further delay.”
He said the DA “condemns in the strongest terms” the use of live ammunition on unarmed civilians in Zimbabwe.
“This is a brutal act that is irreconcilable to a liberal democracy in which citizens have the freedom of expression, and to protest peacefully,” the DA Member of Parliament said.
According to the News Agency, Mokgalapa had recently been in Zimbabwe as part of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. The mission was based in the central and urban constituency of Mutare in the eastern Manicaland Province.
The election euphoria in Zimbabwe was quickly punctured when military trucks rolled into Harare city center to quell protests by opposition MDC-Alliance supporters.
Private media in Zimbabwe reported on Thursday that more than six people were shot dead in the melee that followed the soldiers’ deployment.