Writing in the Washington Past, former finance minister Tendai Biti says western countries should not be fooled by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “charade” that Zimbabwe will host free and fair elections. Writes Biti,
For those who believe the military junta will allow free and fair elections, look no further than the 2008 electoral defeat of Mugabe. The late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won at the polls, fairly and resoundingly, but Mugabe refused to leave power. At the urging of Mnangagwa and the military, Mugabe unleashed a vicious campaign of political violence. In the months that followed, our supporters and activists suffered beatings, rapes, kidnappings, disappearances and arson attacks. Nearly 300 of our supporters were killed in cold blood. Many of these crimes have been laid at the feet of Mnangagwa, yet no one has ever been held accountable.
In Zimbabwe, what’s past is prologue. Mnangagwa did not seize power in an unconstitutional coup and then, miraculously, become a reformer or a democrat overnight. His long record of abuse did not disappear, nor have his brutal tactics of repression. To our friends around the world: Do not be fooled by the propaganda and false promises being promoted by well-funded lobbyists in Western capitals. Mnangagwa remains who he always has been.
Despite the mounting danger, my colleagues and I in the MDC Alliance will continue raising the alarm while forging ahead with our positive reform agenda. We will continue to believe that Zimbabwe can have a brighter future, based on respect for human rights, the dignity of all people and the principles of freedom and justice. We will continue to stand with brave civil society activists who want both peace and accountability. Our beleaguered nation deserves no less.