Elders urges parties not to make unreasonable demands, condemns attacks on women

HARARE – Political parties should not make unreasonable demands and should instead seek legal recourse if they feel the electoral process is being violated, chairperson of The Elders, Kofi Annan, said today.

The Elders is an independent group of global leaders that work together for peace and human rights.

In a press statement held in the capital, Mr Annan – who is also former United Nations secretary-general and a Nobel Peace Laureate – said making unreasonable demands, including inciting the population, had the potential to complicate the electoral process and yielding unforeseen outcomes.

“Politics is a tricky business, there are demands and there are demands. What is important is that we all play by the rules and we make reasonable demands; if we make demands which are unreasonable and which cannot be fulfilled, we are complicating the process,” said Mr Annan.

“But we should be careful of what we say and what we demand because the main thing is not to incite. If you incite the population you never know what happens and this is the last thing that the nation and the people of Zimbabwe need. No incitement and I think they should stay within the code of conduct but reasonable demands they should be able to make,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s presidential race tightened between early May and early July as incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa’s lead over challenger Nelson Chamisa dropped from 11 to just 3 percentage points among registered likely voters, a new survey shows.

Findings of the nationally representative survey, which the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) conducted in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe between 25 June and 6 July 2018, suggest that the MDC-T Chamisa/Alliance has benefited from a small increase in party identification and perceptions of Chamisa as the more capable candidate to address voters’ top priority: job creation.

According to Afrobarometer, compared to a pre-election baseline survey in April/May, the new findings point toward a close election outcome denying the winner a broad electoral mandate, and confirm majority support for a Government of National Unity (GNU).

“As for who was ahead in the presidential race, Mnangagwa’s 11-percentage-point lead in early May (42% vs. 31% for Chamisa) dropped to just 3 points as of early July: 40% of registered likely voters said they would vote for the incumbent vs. 37% for the challenger. It is important to remember that an uncertainty factor of +/-2 percentage points surrounds these figures and that the voting intentions of 20% of registered likely voters remained unknown.

“When asked which candidate they think will win the election, 43% of all respondents picked Mnangagwa, while 34% said Chamisa.”

Afrobarometer says Chamisa outranked Mnangagwa, 42% to 32%, in popular perceptions of which candidate would “do a better job in creating jobs for the people” – by far Zimbabweans’ most important campaign issue.

Six in 10 Zimbabweans said that if no presidential candidate achieves a clear victory, they would favour the creation of a Government of National Unity (GNU). The proportion who thought that a GNU was likely increased from 33% in early May to 41% in early July.

There are 23 presidential candidates in the forthcoming election featuring front runners.