by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
PRETORIA, (CAJ News) – THE United States (US) and South Africa are hopeful Zimbabwe will hold credible elections on August 23.
It is hoped free and fair elections would result in the situation improving after elections and encourage scores of Zimbabweans in South Africa to return home.
The elections in Zimbabwe was among topical issues at the just-concluded South Africa – United States Working Group on African and Global Issues (WGAGI), held in the administrative capital Pretoria.
Other issues include the political turmoil in Niger, the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia.
The delegations acknowledged that South Africa provides refuge for millions of Zimbabwean nationals, and acknowledged that improved conditions in Zimbabwe could help many Zimbabweans return to their country.
The delegations emphasized the need for all Zimbabweans to avoid resorting to political violence ahead of and following upcoming national elections.
They hoped that the people of Zimbabwe would be able to exercise their right to vote without fear, intimidation or interference.
Preparations for the polls suggest South Africa and the US are hoping against hope.
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), in power since 1980 is accused of using its incumbency to frustrate the opposition.
Mnangagwa (80), who has been at the helm since 2017 when Robert Mugabe (now deceased) was overthrown, seeks a second term.
His main rival is Nelson Chamisa (45) of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
Critics accuse the courts and law enforcement agencies of being an appendage of the ruling party, after the disqualification of former ZANU-PF member and erstwhile cabinet minister, Saviour Kasukuwere (53), from the presidential vote, and banning of some CCC rallies.
South Africa is bearing the brunt of the political and economic crises in its northern neighbor that has a history of disputed polls
Zimbabweans’ presence south of the Limpopo is a source of rising anti-migrant sentiment as the host country battles to create jobs and opportunities for its youth.
The presence of undocumented “foreign” nationals is also blamed for rising crime.
While the US blames ZANU-PF for the problems in Zimbabwe, the liberation party believes illegal sanctions imposed by America have paralysed the economy.
– CAJ News