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Zimbabweans Hail Senegal Election as President Wade Concedes Defeat in Run-Off

  • Jonga Kandemiiri
  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Activists say Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from countries like Senegal and Zambia, just next door, where peaceful elections have taken place with power being handed over without violence

Zimbabweans are hailing the election in Senegal Sunday that saw 85-year old President Abdoulaye Wade conceding defeat in a run-off poll in which he ran against his former Prime Minister, Macky Sall.

Mr. Wade's controversial bid for a third term in office had sparked violent protests which left six people dead and many were fearing the worst in the run-off, thinking he may want to cling onto power if he lost.

But with official results still expected Tuesday, Mr. Wade conceded defeat, congratulating winner Mr. Sall, who has declared a new era for his country.

The African Union, among others, praised Mr. Wade and the Senegalese people for what they say was a successful election.

Though Zimbabweans in general do not know much about Senegal, but with election talk gaining momentum in Zimbabwe as President Robert Mugabe and his party push for elections this year, many have been watching events unfolding in this west African country with a keen eye.

Activists say Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from countries like Senegal and Zambia, just next door, where peaceful elections have taken place with power being handed over without violence.

Many Zimbabweans remember the bloody 2008 presidential run-off that saw then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrawing from the race against President Mugabe, ultimately leading to the formation of the unity government.

Acting Director Joy Mabenge of the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Zimbabwe must emulate Senegal, adding the whole of Africa should also watch and learn if democracy is to flourish on the continent.

Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube told VOA's Ntungamili Nkomo the Senegalese experience is a great inspiration to Zimbabwe.

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube said Zimbabwean politicians should learn from Senegal.

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