AFTER the elections are done, Zimbabwe will remain home to both winners and losers, President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is also Zanu PF presidential candidate has said.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
In an impassioned address to citizens on the eve of what he called the most significant plebiscite since independence, Mnangagwa warned citizens and candidates in particular against breaking the law.
He said since he took power in November following former President Robert Mugabe’s forced resignation, the country has witnessed increased civil liberties and greater democratic space.
“As we have always said the election will be free, fair, non-violent and credible. The hour to complete this pledge is only a day away. The voice of the people will be loudly heard again. With over 130 political parties and 23 presidential candidates competing for your vote, this has been the most hotly contested campaign in our history as a country. The people of Zimbabwe have been given a range of choices and have been exposed to a robust free exchange of ideas like never before. In a day’s time you will determine the future of our Zimbabwe,” the Zanu PF leader said.
“I urge you to use your power wisely remembering at all times that the responsibility for peace and unity lies with us all. Let us all citizens and candidates alike be respectful, tolerant and love one another. Let us remember that no matter who we support we are all brothers and sisters and that above the Zimbabwe after the poll will still be home to us winners and losers alike.
“This land is all we have, all that we are fated to share and live in as compatriots.”
With opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa having declared himself winner and indicated he would not accept a result that does not favour him, Mnangagwa had a stark warning.
“Let all candidates behave responsibly and remember their sacred duty to promote peace and tolerance and all of us need to obey the law, to respect arms of law enforcement and election officials.
“Indeed to act in a way that gives credit to our nation. We remain one people with one dream and sharing one destiny. We sink or swim together which is why in unison we must sing one national anthem,” said Mnangagwa quoting for the national song. Unlike his predecessor, Mnangagwa has allowed international observers and called on Zimbabweans to turn them into the country’s ambassadors.
“We hope that what they (observers) see and witness from our electoral process enriches their own understanding of democracy in an African circumstance.
“Above all we hope and trust that in them Zimbabwe has gained new allies, new partners and new friends who believe in her and who speak for her at all for now and in the future,” the President said.
He said he was undeterred by his rivals’ attempt to assassinate him during a campaign rally in Bulawayo last month.
“Even when some people sort to derail the election by attempting to assassinate me, nothing was reversed, delayed or changed. Nobody was detained, no rights were infringed upon. This is the new Zimbabwe we have always longed for,” Mnangagwa said.
Meanwhile, opposition candidates yesterday protested against an election billboard supporting Mnangagwa in Chinotimba ward 9 (rank), which they claimed was located 15 metres away from a polling booth.
They said Zec had refused to order Zanu PF to remove it, with the ruling party’s supporters causing commotion and singing derogatory songs.