The United States has said the 2018 Zimbabwean elections are an essential benchmark on whether the country’s political environment of the past is changing for the better.
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of African Affairs, Matthew T. Harrington who is visiting Zimbabwe on a three-day visit, said the country has an opportunity to set itself on a very different path politically and economically.
He said the July 30 polls will be an early indicator of the government’s commitment to political and economic reforms that will ensure a better relationship with the US and the international community.
“I am in Harare for two principal reasons. First, I am here to listen and to learn. Secondly, I am here to make clear that the United States is interested in a better relationship with Zimbabwe, and to share our perspectives on how that can best be achieved,” said Harrington.
“We welcome President Mnangagwa’s public commitment to ensure the election is free and fair and to invite international observers. These are important steps.
“We will also be watching for other reforms- economic, human rights, and good governance. Because credibility of elections is only one measure of change.”
Harrington said as Zimbabwe prepares for the elections on July 30, the government can send a powerful message that it is committed to building public trust by ensuring that ZEC is free from political interference and partisanship.
“That all political parties can campaign freely and have equitable access to state media. That security force play members play no role in administering the election or intimidating voters and that there will be full transparency around the voters roll,” he said.
“It could also help Zimbabwe begin to build a stronger economy and strengthen democratic institutions and processes that are better able to meet the needs of its citizens. We are rooting for Zimbabwe to succeed.”