United Nations Development Programme resident representative to Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli believes the southern African nation can hold credible elections.
Parajuli told the UN News during a recent visit to New York: “As far as we see it, there are some good signs because the new voter rolls are being developed, with 5.4 million in new voter registration.
“There is a lot of engagement between political parties and the ruling faction; engagement between the Election Commission, civil society and others. The political parties themselves are getting together to agree on a code of conduct for holding peaceful elections. So, all these signs are positive.”
Zimbabwe is due to hold harmonized elections in July or August although most indications are pointing to July.
It is under pressure to hold free, fair, transparent and credible elections because the last four elections under President Robert Mugabe – in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2013- were disputed.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also been put in a tight spot by one of his junior ministers who reportedly said the military will not allow opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to take over if he wins the elections, though the deputy minister, Terence Mukupe, denies ever saying that.
Parajuli also asked the international community to re-engage with Zimbabwe and investors to come to the country in response to Mnangagwa’s invitation that the country is open for business.
“I think the international community should be very open, the UN should be very open, to engage and partner with – and support Zimbabwe – to come out of some of the major crises they have had in the last several years so they can stand on their own,” he said.
“The government has been very active in terms of promoting engagement and they have declared themselves as open for business, contrary to the past administration.
“They are calling for a lot of investors to come in, private sector to come in, which is really fundamental, actually. Aid alone is not enough.”