NAIROBI, June 19 – The government has expressed its concerns over the current political developments in Zimbabwe, accusing President Robert Mugabe of flouting election rules in that country.
Speaking in his office on Thursday evening, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula urged Mugabe to ensure the scheduled Presidential run-off is conducted fairly and peacefully.
Wetangula said: “It is important that the second run must have all the parameters of democracy. It must be free and fair and all players must be given an opportunity to canvas for votes.”
He said the on-going violence in the Southern African country was unacceptable and against the democratic developments guiding the larger Commonwealth.
“The harassment of the opposition does not augur well for the development of democracy in Africa. True democracy must be guided by the Harare declaration,” Wetangula exclaimed.
“Having accepted a re-run, President Mugabe should ensure it is within the tenets of acceptable standards of elections and democratic practice. Anything less is an affront to the evolving democratic culture in Africa and unacceptable to all people in Africa,” he added.
The Minister said Kenya had noted with concern frustrations directed to that country’s Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been arrested more than three times in the past two weeks.
This, Wetangula said, amounts to undermining the election rules and regulations in African states.
As a nation, he said, we note with concern information from Zimbabwe on the roadblocks being created to the re-run campaigns of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Party.
These kinds of activities, he said, are unhelpful and undermine the very enterprise of election the parties have agreed to.
“We therefore call upon all parties, in particular President Mugabe, to adhere to the Harare Principles that have guided democratic development within the larger Commonwealth.”
This statement echoes similar sentiments made by the Prime Minister Raila Odinga in a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Odinga called for the deployment of Peacekeepers to the troubled State and international observers monitoring the run-off.
Wetangula said the position taken by Kenya was guided by her foreign policy goal on the internal affairs of states as enshrined in the African Union (AU) Charter, espoused at the 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa from January 31 to February 2, 2008, which recognises the challenges of elections in Africa.
Kenya further subscribes to the AU’s position reached at a recent Extraordinary Summit on Zimbabwe held in Lusaka, Zambia on April 12–13, 2008 mandating SADC to lead the African process in that country.
Tsvangirai defeated President Mugabe in the recent General Elections held in that country, but he did not garner enough votes to spare him a re-run.
Zimbabwe has since been characterised by sporadic violence leading to the deaths of innocent civilians and massive destruction of property.
Currently, there is a high inflation rate in that country, which experts and analysts say is the highest ever witnessed.