Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa to Chamisa - Back Off ZEC - Go to the Courts If Unhappy

Former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the State House in Harare while fellow members of “The Elders” group Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, and Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian career diplomat look on.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday denied interfering with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and advised his main rival to go the courts if aggrieved about the manner in which the poll agency is discharging its mandate.

The Zanu PF leader and candidate for the presidency in the July 30 vote was addressing the media after meeting former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan and his Elders Group in the capital.

Annan and his team are in the country to meet political leaders and back a push "for free, fair and transparent elections (as well as) an inclusive transition and a brighter future for the country".

Mnangagwa rejected opposition charges that his Zanu PF party is forcing ZEC to rig the election in his favour.

The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa is at war with ZEC over various issues including the design of the ballot paper, its printing and storage.

Chamisa gave the defiant ZEC deadline of this Friday to give in to his alliance's demands failing which his supporters would picket the electoral body's Harare offices in masses.

Mnangagwa however, said his rival should go to the courts if he feels the electoral agency has flouting the law.

"ZEC is an independent electoral commission," he said.

"Government has no roll in controlling or influencing ZEC at all. They are guided by the Constitution and Electoral Act of the country.

"Those who feel that ZEC has not complied with the law or constitution, our courts are open to deal with such issues."

Mnangagwa said he the meeting with Annan and his team had been "excellent".

"They wanted a brief on the current situation in the country. As a result of opening up the democratic space in Zimbabwe, we have 133 political parties in the country out of which 55 are contesting elections and out of them 23 are contesting the presidency.

"We are happy that up to now, our people, political parties included, have heeded our call for nonviolence. Yes, there was an incident in Bulawayo but that was intended to assassinate me, not democracy."

The Elders also met with Chamisa and his Alliance partners on Friday.

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