ED shoots back at CCC

Meanwhile, former First Lady Grace Mugabe received a standing ovation from the crowd gathered for the inauguration.

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has shot back at the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC)’s decision to seek the intervention of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in Zimbabwe’s August 23 and 24 poll dispute.

This week CCC said it decided not to challenge Mnangagwa’s re-election through the country’s courts because the crisis in Zimbabwe was not a legal issue, but a political one. The crisis has escalated tension between the opposition party and Mnangagwa’s government.

Speaking at his inauguration for a second term at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, Mnangagwa said: “The undermining of our national institutions and laws will not be condoned, under whatever guise. No country or group of persons should disregard the sovereign decisions and views of the people of our motherland, Zimbabwe.”

CCC leader, Nelson Chamisa is fervently pushing for Sadc’s mediation in the Zimbabwean crisis after dismissing last month’s elections as a “gigantic fraud”, which the Sadc and other foreign observer missions also condemned as failing to meet regional and international standards.

“We make no apologies for entrenching and protecting our unique Zimbabwean values, cultures and norms … Zimbabwe is a sovereign State and a friend to all and enemy of none. Our membership and engagement within Sadc, the African Union and United Nations and other countries in the comity of nations remains guided by the principles of mutual respect and the sovereign equality of nations as enshrined in the United Nations charter,” Mnangagwa said.

Sadc countries appear divided over the election outcome with the head of the regional body’s observer team Nevers Mumba maintaining that the elections deviated from the Sadc guidelines and local constitutional provisions.

The divisions appeared evident after several heads of State from Sadc, African Union and the rest of the world  were conspicuous by their absence at Mnangagwa’s inauguration, while some countries were decent enough to send representatives.

Sitting Sadc Troika chairperson Hakainde Hichilema did not attend the inauguration. He sent his Foreign Affairs minister Stanley Kakubo.

Three heads of State out of the 67 invited attended the ceremony.

South African President Cyril Ramaposa was joined by his Mozambican and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterparts, Felipe Nyusi and Felix Tshisekedi, respectively.

Kenya, Eswatini and Tanzania sent their prime ministers while Botswana was represented by the country’s vice-president.

Mnangagwa promised to be tolerant to the opposition and promote democracy and the rule of law, which have been sticking issues in his first five-year rule.

“Under my leadership and the new Zanu PF government, democracy, good governance, the rule of law and the politics of tolerance will be entrenched in line with the spirit and letter of our sacred national Constitution and laws. The institution of traditional leadership and freedom of worship will continue to be protected by my new government,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration event, South African’s ruling party, African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula endorsed Mnangagwa’s victory saying Zimbabwe is a sovereign country.

“We had an election in Zimbabwe that was not marred by violence and was peaceful. We know what Zimbabwe want is prosperity and also regional integration.

“We are opposed to any form of sanctions on this country. As the ANC party, we respect the will of the people and sovereignty of the country. We know what imposition of unilateralism has done to nation States like Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

Mbalula said the United States’ position on the elections and their outcome was invalid as they were no saints on matters of elections.

“America is not the world police. We do not take advice from them and they cannot force us to reform because they too have their own problems,” he said.

Meanwhile, former First Lady Grace Mugabe received a standing ovation from the crowd gathered for the inauguration.

Former Vice-Presidents Joyce Mujuru and Phelekezela Mphoko also attended the event.

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