The Elders, a group of eminent statespersons that was chaired by Kofi Annan, today called on Zimbabwe’s political leaders to act responsibly when the Constitutional Court announces its verdict tomorrow to avert further bloodshed.
They also urged Zimbabweans at every level in society to uphold the democratic rights to justice and peaceful protest, and refrain from words or actions that could incite violence, in honour of Annan who died last Saturday.
Annan, who was in Zimbabwe ahead of the 30 July elections, left the message that “nothing other than the democratic will of the people should be allowed to determine the future of Zimbabwe”.
Violence broke out two days after the elections when it became apparent that the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance was losing. Six people were killed.
Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa challenged the results and went to court.
The case was heard yesterday but judgment was reserved until 2pm tomorrow.
“Meaningful democracy is not only about free and fair elections, but also accountability for those in positions of authority, freedom of expression and assembly, respect for human and civil rights, and a clear separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary,” the Elders said in a statement.
“The government of Zimbabwe and the security forces have the primary responsibility for maintaining peace in a professional and accountable manner that strengthens civilian authority.
“It is essential that the independent investigation ordered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa proceeds with integrity and holds accountable those found to bear responsibility for the tragic events of 1 August. An independent inquiry should also scrutinise other incidents of post-election violence and rights violations across Zimbabwe.”
The Elders expressed their gratitude for the generous tributes paid to Kofi Annan by Zimbabwean civil society and both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.
“The best way for both leaders to honour his legacy and the aspiration of the people of Zimbabwe for a brighter future for all, is to abjure violence, intimidation and incitement, and instead promote dialogue and magnanimity as a path to inclusive national reconciliation, cohesion and development,” the Elders said.