Concern for Zimbabweans Continues as Political Situation Remains Unresolved

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AFJN’s concerns for the Zimbabwean people continue in
the wake of the June 27th run-off elections:  Despite the withdraw of oppositional candidate
Morgan Tsvangirai in response to violence against his supporters and widespread
awareness of the election’s illegitimacy, Robert Mugabe was declared the
landside winner with more than 85% of the vote and was sworn in for the his
sixth term as president. However, while the suppressive and oppressive tactics
used by Mugabe’s party to ensure victory have been clearly documented,
meaningful pressure for change has yet to be seen, from non-African and African
leaders alike.

In the March 29 elections, President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF lost control of the
parliament for the first time in 28 years. Mugabe himself was defeated as well,
but opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was denied the 50% required to legally
claim victory. The impasse led to the decision to hold a run-off election on
June 27th, despite widespread belief that the shortfall was due to
election fraud.

In the run up to the June election day, limitations on election oversight,
on the functioning of civil society and
relief organizations, and on freedom of speech and assembly, not to mention the
systematic, targeted violence and intimidation against members of the MDC and
supporters of Tsvangirai, have been the norm in Zimbabwe. Although Tsvangirai
withdrew from the election, citing a desire to protect his supporters and an
unwillingness to participate in a sham election, the electoral commission said it
was too late for the election to be cancelled or postponed. On election day
itself, while turnout was low, many who did vote reported being pressured into doing
so by Zanu-PF supporters or being required to give their identity and home
address alongside their vote.

Many regional and international organizations and governments have
expressed their disapproval. However, while the African Union has called for
integrating the MDC into the presidency and the United Nations has expressed
regret over , neither body has formally denounced the legitimacy of the run-off’s
results, nor Mugabe’s brutal tactics.

In light of the state of Zimbabwe’s economy, the campaign of
state-sponsored violence, and our belief in its people’s right to a
democratically-elected government, AFJN believes it is the duty of the
international community to increase pressure on the Zimbabwean government and to
support African regional mediation toward a peaceful resolution. While it is
important to be clear that Mugabe’s style of leadership undermines any visage of
democracy, an agreement must be reached through a process that engages both the
Zanu-PF and the MDC, with the hopes of avoiding further violence against the
people of Zimbabwe. AFJN also encourages U.S. support for the voice and actions
of African civil society in Zimbabwe in particular, to ensure that the
African-led mediation toward a transitional agreement reflects the will of the
people.

  • To read Africa Action’s policy recommendations, go here [link removed or dead, 2014]
  • A Q&A on the situation on BBC
  • To support relief work in Zimbabwe, go to Africa Action [link removed or dead, 2014]
  • An article on Zimbabwean churches amidst the struggle in The Tablet [link removed or dead, 2014]
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