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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Statement on Zimbabwe Elections

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
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Monrovia — Statement by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic of Liberia, on the elections in Zimbabwe

It was a great privilege to co-lead the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) joint international election observation mission for Zimbabwe’s presidential and parliamentary elections (ZIEOM) with former Interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza and all of its distinguished members.

As we wait for the final report of ZIEOM, I feel it important to clarify my position on the elections, as a BBC interview I gave on the 4th of August was misinterpreted by some, suggesting that I had assessed the totality of the election as “free and fair.” This is not the case. My words were directed solely at one aspect of the process, the conduct of the voting on election day, which was without major incident, reflecting an enthusiasm of the voters for participatory democracy.

I associate myself with statements made by the joint observation mission since the July 30th elections, noting deep concern over the post-election violence, and its statement, following the certification of the results by Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court that, “Zimbabwe has not yet demonstrated that it has established a tolerant, democratic culture that enables the conduct of elections in which parties are treated equitably and citizens can cast their vote freely.”

After this divisive contest, and with the inauguration of Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa, there is a need for tolerance and inclusion, respect for the rule of law, a commitment to honor the individual rights of all citizens and most importantly, for fundamental institutional reform across all sectors of society. These are the essential ingredients for a sustainable peace.

All of us who watched the people of Zimbabwe vote on the 30th of July, were heartened by their embrace of democracy, and remain committed to standing with them going forward. ZIEOM will issue its final report in the near future detailing specific recommendations for adopting a reform agenda.

For more information contact: Office of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf