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United States Pressing Mnangagwa Government to Hold Postponed Parly, Council By-elections

Zimbabweans vote at the Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, Monday July 30, 2018.
Zimbabweans vote at the Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, Monday July 30, 2018.

The United States is pressing the Zimbabwean government to hold by-elections to fill vacant seats following the recalling of Members of Parliament and councilors affiliated to Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Douglas Mwonzora.

In a tweet, the U.S.Embassy Harare said, ”When will the Zimbabwean government resume by-elections? Long-standing parliamentary vacancies have left over 754,000 voters in 26 constituencies without elected representation. Only by-elections will restore these citizens’ rights to representation.

“Many countries have held elections despite the pandemic, including Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, and the United States, demonstrating that COVID-safe elections are possible. We are confident Zimbabwe can do the same.”

Responding to the U.S. tweet, Zanu PF information director, Tafadzwa Mugutu said, "We will do it the Taliban way!! Stay far from our lane or the consequences will be humiliating the Taliban style.

“The USA tells ED (Emmerson Mnangagwa) as who? They shld nurse their humiliation at the hands of the Taliban in silence & stop trying to recover wanning foreign policy prestige using Zim. After all, sleepy - Joe Biden needs more attention.”

His remarks were echoed in a tweet by Zimbabwe’s Information Secretary, Nick Mangwana.

“It doesn't hurt to be nice. Afterall the purpose of an embassy is to help facilitate the means for peaceful cooperation and collaboration between a foreign country and its host state.

“Some people just love the word “crisis” and very much wish to associate it with Zimbabwe. Last year we were all hearing of an undefined “crisis” in Zimbabwe which of course was not there. Then suddenly “constitutional crisis”. Another wishful thinking.”

Some people, who followed the U.S. Embassy Harare’s tweeter thread on by-elections, supported its views, calling on the Zimbabwean government to urgently fill the 90 vacant parliamentary and council seats.

One of them, Tahombe Nemapirimira, said, “We are not in hurry to cast votes what we want to achieve first and fore most is head immunity, economic recovery and then we can play games.”

Another Zimbabwean using the Twitter handle, Mashoko, said, “Who do you think u are coming here to tell us what to do. Zim is Zim and will do things the Zim way not yo way. Yo regime change agenda to want to place yo puppets in power will not happen in Zim. I think u are going too far.”

A person identified as Denis had harsh words for the Americans. He said, “Elections will be held when sanctions are removed, our own day and time.” His sentiments were echoed by Godfrey Shumba, who said, “We do what we Zimbabweans want not what Malawians, Zambians etc want. Tell your puppets to that we are not in a hurry.”

But Nqobizitha Khumalo fully supported the United States’ views on the by-elections.

Khumalo said, “Canada and German too, elections are a constitutional right and they can be done amid covid-19, by following WHO's health guide lines regarding substantive matters.”

The Zimbabwean government says it will hold the parliamentary and council by-elections when the COVID-19 situation in completely under control in the country.

According to the Ministry of Health, more than 4,500 people have succumbed to COVID-19 since its outbreak in the southern African nation in March last year.