PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s battle to win the hearts and souls of his governing Zanu PF party’s erstwhile enemies in Europe looks to be far from over.
This is despite a charm offensive the President has embarked on, preaching the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business” following the release of a damning report by the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM).
The report appears to confirm assertions by opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and other stakeholders that the tightly contested July 30 polls were stage managed to ensure a Mnangagwa victory and failed the credibility test on many fronts.
It is now no longer in doubt that the elections were fraught with irregularities, the Constitutional Court ruling not withstanding. We have no doubt that the EU EOM report is likely to further dent the international community’s confidence in the Harare administration. This could mean that the government really needs to bend over backwards and demonstrate beyond any trace of doubt that it will honestly pursue a new political and economic trajectory.
Regrettably, so far, no significant changes have been experienced in the country since the July 30 plebiscite. If anything, the chaos is more pronounced.
Zimbabweans believed that the elections were Mnangagwa’s best chance to prove earthwide that indeed we are in a new era.
But many of these anomalies, including an unfair playing field, were captured by the EU EOM report. We have no doubt that the irregularities are the albatross hanging on the new government’s neck with its credibility now shredded.
However the government twists the findings, the report vindicates the opposition which has been on record that the election was stolen. Chamisa has consistently refused to admit Mnangagwa’s win by whatever margin due to the very same concerns.
What next for Zimbabwe’s desperate bid to be re-admitted into the community of nations as well as securing international funding? Will the government’s drive to entice the world to invest find takers following this damning report?
Clearly, whether Mnangagwa was sincere that he wanted the polls to meet international standards is now in doubt if indeed, his acolytes interfered with the system to give him an unfair advantage over his rival.
It is not our business who won the election, but it should have been done fairly. The citizenry is worried now given the result of the conduct of those tasked with this onerous task which has now landed Zimbabwe in a dead end –in essence we are back to pariah state status.
Mnangagwa, who needs international acceptance, should tread carefully to extricate the country from this quagmire.
The fact that the report raised issues that have also been flagged by other observers implies its authenticity.
As we saw following the November 2017 coup, many countries were eager to give the Mnangagwa regime a chance. But the post-election blunders such as the brutal shooting of unarmed civilians on August 1, significantly dented the elections.
Mnangagwa must prove why Zanu PF deserves to remain in power by how he will tackle the many challenges the country is facing.