Zimbabwean political leaders, still embroiled in the aftermath of the country's own March presidential election, on Wednesday greeted the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president as a development with positive local ramifications.
The Movement for Democratic Change formation headed by Morgan Tsvangirai, founder of the opposition party and prime minister-designate since the signature of a power-sharing agreement with the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, said Obama's victory on Tuesday represented "a victory of hope, faith,
change...values and dreams which have underpinned our fight as a movement
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the
Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the U.S. election was instructive for Zimbabwe.
Speaking on behalf of ZANU-PF, former ambassador to China and ZANU-PF Information Committee member Chris Mutsvangwa also congratulated Obama,
saying the historic victory could pave the way for improved bilateral
In Harare, U.S. Ambassador James McGee offered remarks at an embassy
event marking the end of the American election cycle. McGee said that he was "very proud" to be a U.S. citizen, adding that "what has happened in
the United States...makes me want to work even harder to bring peace and
democracy here in Zimbabwe."
McGee added, "I hope that we can all re-dedicate ourselves
to doing that."
Meanwhile, correspondent Loirdham Moyo reported that residents of the eastern border city of Mutare
similarly welcomed Obama's victory, some saying the democratic process that brought an
African-American to power sets an example for African leaders.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Advocacy Officer Gladys Hlatshwayo offered the caveat that Obama's election may not
significantly alter U.S. policy on Zimbabwe, as incumbent President George Bush
has already adopted a tough position with Harare.
One Studio 7 listener sent a text that, "The example given by Mr. Bush of accepting the result of the election
should teach Mugabe a lesson to go by." Another listener named Ray
wrote: "Now that you are in power Mr Obama can you do anything possible
to save our Zimbabwe?" From another listener: "Obama I salute
you, remember to assist the Zimbabwean people. Americans, I salute you
In the country's power-sharing crisis, meanwhile, the Mugabe government accused President Ian Khama of Botswana of interference in Harare's internal affairs after he said a new presidential election might be needed if talks to resolve the deadlock
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, chief ZANU-PF power-sharing negotiator, described Khama's statement, and his meeting with Tsvangirai, as "extreme provocation."
Meanwhile, the South African Broadcasting Corp. quoted Jacob Zuma, president of the ruling African National Congress, as saying that Zimbabwean
leaders should not be allowed to use delaying tactics to derail the
Mutsvangwa said Khama was trying to interfere in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, but MDC spokesman Chamisa dismissed this contention.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe