Thursday, July 5, 2018

US travel warnings an indictment on Mnangagwa

Views
REPORTS that the United States government has urged its citizens travelling to Zimbabwe to exercise extreme caution due to an anticipated spike in crime and civil unrest ahead of the July 30 elections amid an ill-equipped police force is an indictment on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
It’s one thing for Mnangagwa to carry on a charm offensive to convince the world of changed circumstances back home, and it is another to walk the talk.
It appears Mnangagwa has done little, if any, to convince the US and international community at large that the polls will be free, fair and credible. The contestations by the opposition MDC-T led by Nelson Chamisa could worsen the situation. Regrettably, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has also stoked the wrangle over poll preparations.
For as long as Zec negates its responsibility as a neutral in electoral planning, Zimbabwe can brace for an uncertain result.
Zec must act neutrally and stay on its course. We have no doubt that Mnangagwa and Zanu PF can still sweep to victory if their campaign machinery and messages are understood by the electorate. The same applies to the opposition.
Therefore, it is inconceivable for Zec to tilt the scales in Zanu PF’s favour with 23 presidential candidates, and thousands others representing some 55 political parties in the election.
That other presidential candidates have not raised issues with Zec, is not Chamisa’s problem. These irregularities must be attended urgently for a smooth vote to occur.
We believe Mnangagwa can still serve the situation if he impresses on Zec to stick to its mandate to allow the electorate to give him an untainted mandate suppose he’s the best presidential candidate.
The long list of opposition parties’ candidates should stick to what the law allows and not to try to spoil it for selfish reasons. Either way everyone must win.
If it is true that Zec is refusing to implement constitutional provisions to favour Zanu PF, we have no doubt that many would be haunted the rest of their lives if by any chance any of the opposition parties wins the polls.
Clearly, the significance of the warning is that this is the second time the US has issued an alert in seven months.
Zimbabweans are kind and peace-loving, and what the US believes would happen may not after all. All the same, Mnangagwa must not ignore the warning as this helps government to prepare for any eventuality.
The heightened political tensions around the votes are palpable and acts of violence may continue to occur at rallies countrywide ahead of the polls.
The fact that Mnangagwa recently escaped an assassination attempt as a result of the lack of trust among the security agencies shows that the US is spot on.
This creates an environment where citizens are not secure. Citizens must be allowed to cast their ballot in a peaceful, free from intimidation, fair and credible manner come elections day.