22 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Pro-Mnangagwa War Veterans Accuse U.S. of Interference in Zimbabwe Elections


In Zimbabwe, war veterans who support President Emmerson Mnangagwa alleged Tuesday that the United States is encouraging the international community to back the opposition, and is seeking to reverse the outcome of the July 30 election, in which Mnangagwa was declared the winner. The war veterans made their remarks as a court prepares to hear the opposition’s request to nullify the election.

Veterans who support the ruling ZANU-PF party praise Mnangagwa, and denounce former President Robert Mugabe and those they consider Zimbabwe’s enemies as they prepare for a press briefing in Harare.

Others chant, “Down with America."

Victor Matemadanda, the war veterans' secretary, is among those who accuse the United States of interference in Zimbabwean politics.

“The international community led by America is portraying that this election was not run properly," he said. "They are condemning ZEC and now they are looking at the courts to wait for a result and say this is wrong, this is right. But we are not going to take American law to determine how we run Zimbabwe. The president-elect won by 50.8 percent. Full stop. ...We know how we voted. We do not need America’s approval.”

On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court is scheduled to hear a petition by Nelson Chamisa, Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, seeking to overturn the official election results.

ZEC, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared President Mnangagwa the winner with just under 51 percent of the vote. It said Chamisa took 44 percent.

On Monday, Chamisa called those results a “subversion of the will of the people.”

The U.S. has not directly commented on the elections. Its embassy in Harare could not be reached for a response to Matemadanda's remarks.

Last week, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols, told reporters after a meeting with President Mnangagwa at the State House that Washington did not support the opposition. He did, however, talk about the court case.

“I think that the courts will have to prove to the people of Zimbabwe that they are weighing the facts of the case and considering them carefully and rendering an impartial judgment. That is an answer that will be answered by the performance of the court, not by me or any person giving their opinion,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 40-year-old Chamisa, who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)-Alliance, said his group would follow all “legal and constitutional routes” available if the court does not rule in the party's favor.

His party said the war veterans have instilled fear in the court by “threatening to use guns and bullets to protect Mnangagwa’s so-called victory.”

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