Namibia's Deputy Minister Defends President Geingob For Congratulating Zimbabwe's President Mnangagwa2 weeks ago
Namibia’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Jenelly Matundu, has come to the defence of President Hage Geingob for congratulating Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his election victory. Matundu made this statement during a parliamentary session in response to questions from Maximalliant Katjimune, a parliamentarian from the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM).
Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the Zimbabwean presidential elections held on 23 – 24 August 2023 by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, securing 52.6% of the votes. However, the SADC Observer Mission deemed the elections inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act, and the SADC principles and guidelines for democratic elections.
In her response to Katjimune’s inquiry about why Geingob congratulated Mnangagwa despite the SADC Observer Mission’s findings, Matundu explained that diplomatic standards and practices dictate that Geingob should extend congratulations to his counterpart following election results. Matundu said:
It is essential to clarify that the official opposition, the Citizen’s Coalition for Change (CCC), did not lodge any case with the Electoral Court. In any democratic system, legal avenues are available to address election-related grievances.
It is the responsibility of the concerned parties to pursue these avenues should they have concerns about the electoral process.
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According to Matundu, in the absence of any court challenge, President Mnangagwa was inaugurated on 4 September, which she said is in accordance with the relevant constitutional provisions. Matundu said:
It is worth noting that Electoral Observation Missions are not aimed at affirming or nullifying election results, but are geared at enhancing accountability, transparency and participation as core tenets of democratic processes in the region.
Matundu assured Namibia’s commitment to transparency and individual rights, including voting.
She also emphasised the positive relations between Namibia and Zimbabwe, praising Zimbabwe’s dedication to democracy. Matundu stressed the importance of dialogue and cooperation to strengthen democratic institutions, urging both countries to address any shortcomings.