Britain, which was accused by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance of backing President Emmerson Mnangagwa before the elections, has condemned the violence that broke out after the 30 July Zimbabwe elections and the disproportionate response from the security forces but it has urged all political parties to work together to ensure calm.
“It is vital that any appeals against the results or the process are handled swiftly and impartially,” Britain’s Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said.
“All candidates have a responsibility to ensure their supporters act with restraint and avoid violence, while any challenges to the results are resolved.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa won the elections by a narrow margin but violence broke out before the announcement of the results after Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa insisted he had won the elections following a poor showing by his candidates in the national assembly.
Baldwin, who was in Zimbabwe earlier this year, said the UK was encouraged that Zimbabweans turned out in record numbers to vote in the elections on 30 July, and particularly the increase in first-time voters, including many young, urban Zimbabweans, who found themselves excluded from previous electoral rolls.
She said while polling day passed off peacefully, a number of concerns have been raised by observer missions, particularly about the pre-election environment, the role of state media, and the use of state resources. There is much to be done to build confidence in Zimbabwe’s electoral process.
“The UK remains deeply concerned by the violence following the elections and the disproportionate response from the security forces. We have urged all parties to work together to ensure calm,” she said.
She, however, said her government will continue to work with the government of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean people to support democracy and good governance, help with the country’s development, and promote regional security and prosperity.
“The UK remains a close partner of the Zimbabwean people in their quest for a better future,” she said.