Opposition leader calls for postponement of elections
Bulawayo (New Ziana)- Zimbabwe should postpone the 2023 and future general elections until the illegal sanctions that some Western countries imposed on it are lifted, as they will not be free and fair, an opposition party leader has said.
Zimbabwe Republican Front (ZRF) president Fanuel Lisenga said the economic sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe as punishment for repossessing land from the minority white settlers were affecting the electoral processes.
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre, Lisenga urged other political parties to boycott the 2023 and future harmonised elections unless the sanctions were removed.
“I call upon other political parties to shun the polls if the restrictive measures are maintained,” he said.
“We cannot say the sanctions are targeted when their spill over effects are affecting ordinary people,” he added.
Zimbabwe has been in a stand-off with the West for over two decades after it compulsorily acquired excess farmland from whites to resettle landless blacks.
As punishment for the move, Western countries led by the United Kingdom and the United States imposed sanctions on the country, as well as led an international media onslaught to tarnish its image, alleging human rights abuses and cracking down on the opposition.
But Lisenga said the restrictive measures were illegal as they were imposed outside the United Nations framework.
“Any nation that imposes sanctions on another nation will be violating tenets of the rule-based international order. The same nation will be literally rigging elections in favour of parties which are pro-sanctions,” he said.
He said all previous elections held when the country was under sanctions were not free and fair as the conditions favoured the opposition.
“The fact that Zanu PF won the elections under sanctions can be attributed to hard work. No other rigging allegations were proved,” he said, adding sanctions would prevent the winning party from delivering on its campaign promises.
Lisenga commended President Emmerson Mnangagwa for establishing the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) through which parties meet to discuss issues affecting the country.
“This is a clear testimony that all political parties can talk for the good of the country”.
He implored Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa to join other progressive individuals and organisation in calling for the removal of sanctions on the country.
“I call upon CCC leader Nelson Chamisa to join progressive minds to publicly denounce the restrictive measures. We cannot go to election under such an environment. It will not produce credible results. So, we are saying let’s shelve the polls until sanctions are lifted,” he said.
After winning the 2018 Presidential elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa invited all the candidates who contested him to form POLAD to collectively discuss ways of prospering the country, and to indicate the oneness that exists among Zimbabweans despite different political parties.
Chamisa, then MDC Alliance leader, refused to join the platform from the beginning arguing that he could not be grouped together with fringe politicians who did not have any following, and insisted that President Mnangagwa should engage him individually.
The refusal by Chamisa and his party to denounce the sanctions has seen the ruling Zanu PF party also refusing to allow the Diaspora vote, arguing among other things, that its officials would not be able to travel to foreign capitals to campaign due to the restrictions.