Progressive Zimbabweans Group Plans To Close Beitbridge Border Over Fresh Elections

10 months agoSun, 17 Sep 2023 13:51:26 GMT
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Progressive Zimbabweans Group Plans To Close Beitbridge Border Over Fresh Elections

The Progressive Zimbabweans in South Africa (PZSA) group is threatening to close the Beitbridge Border Post in an effort to pressure Zimbabwean authorities into calling for new elections. This push comes after Presidential Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the presidential election held on August 23-24, 2023, by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The victory was criticized by the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM), led by Dr. Nevers Sikwili Mumba, who deemed the election as not being free, fair, and credible. The SEOM cited concerns such as delayed voting, ballot paper mix-up, and voter intimidation.

Call for Fresh Elections and Why It Matters:

The PZSA group has stated that it will announce the date for a shutdown. The group is advocating for new elections that are free, fair, and credible in Zimbabwe. In a flier seen by Pindula News, the group added:

Fix Zimbabwe, Stop immigration crisis in South Africa.

A significant number of Zimbabweans reside in South Africa, either as workers or students. This has caused immigration concerns, as some South Africans believe that Zimbabweans are taking away job opportunities. Authorities have also expressed concerns about the strain on the economy, particularly in the healthcare sector. Last week, a large number of Zimbabwean nationals residing in South Africa participated in street protests on Friday, September 8. They were expressing their dissatisfaction with the election results of August 23, which they claimed were manipulated in favor of the ZANU PF party.

The Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa, rejected the presidential results and called for fresh elections supervised by an independent body like SADC, the African Union or the United Nations instead of the perceived biased ZEC. 

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Waning chances of fresh elections:

Following his inauguration on September 4, 2023, President Mnangagwa has announced his new cabinet. Congratulations from regional and global leaders, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres, have reduced the likelihood of a fresh poll. Academic Ibbo Mandaza believes that regional and international bodies “will do absolutely nothing unless Zimbabweans themselves take the initiative to use this occasion to pressure the regional body to carry out its responsibilities under the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security

Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono shares a similar view, stating that Mandaza’s observation accurately captures the current post-election situation in Zimbabwe. He added:

Anyone who tells you that SADC, AU or UN will do something for Zimbabwe to resolve the election situation is lying to you. It is only Zimbabweans who can fix their problems.

The CCC is adamant help is coming. Nelson Chamisa stated that his party will not wait for five years to provide leadership in Zimbabwe. He criticised President Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of undermining the democratic process through various coups on the ballot since 2008. He said:

We will not wait for five years there has to be change now and we are going to lead in making sure that change comes to Zimbabwe. We are putting a full stop to this mess. Whatever it takes, we must provide leadership. 

Some modicum of hope for Fresh elections?

It remains to be seen if there will be fresh polls. In 2008, Robert Mugabe was sworn in as the President of Zimbabwe after the presidential elections. However, the international community, including some countries and organisations, expressed concerns about the electoral process and alleged irregularities. There were reports of violence, intimidation, and manipulation of results during the elections. As a result, many countries and international bodies did not recognise Mugabe’s re-election and raised doubts about the legitimacy of his presidency. The situation led to diplomatic tensions and further strained Zimbabwe’s relations with the international community.

The reaction from the international comunity forced the ruling party to engage in negotiations that led to a power-sharing agreement between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. The agreement established the Governmrnt of National Unity (GNU) which was operational between 2009 and 2013.

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