Accept defeat and move-on – US Congresswoman tells Chamisa

Karen Bass

United States Congresswoman Karen Bass has urged MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to accept the outcome of the July 30 elections won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and push to win the next polls in 2023.

By Staff Reporter

In an interview with the Voice of America, Bass, who observed the elections, said she wanted to see a Zimbabwe where the rights of all citizens were protected, and the opposition given room to hold peaceful protests, as guaranteed by the constitution.

She said the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling confirming Mnangagwa’s win should be respected.

“The courts have ruled, that is the process, and so to not recognise him as president, I don’t know what that means,” Bass said.

“He is the president, and so I am hoping that they will respond in a peaceful manner and that they will be the peaceful opposition. They did win seats in parliament, they are in parliament, they are part of the government.”

She was hopeful the opposition would remain peaceful.

“Look at our situation here. I don’t like our current president (Donald Trump) and we had a very messy process here in the United States and many people questioned the legitimacy,” Bass said.

“But he is the president and as long as he is the president, you know I can say I don’t want him to be the president all day long, but I am a member of Congress and I function as part of government and he’s the president. And I am hoping that we’ll be able to change that in 2020 if not before.”

Bass said Chamisa should “continue to participate as a member of parliament, to expand and organise his base and to run for the presidency again in the next election.”

She said removal of US sanctions following the signing of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act (Zidera) depended on Mnangagwa.

“Well, whether or not we remove sanctions and we move forward in our relations, is going to be how the government responds,” Bass said.

“So I do want Chamisa to be a loyal opposition, but what I don’t want to see, is I don’t want to see the government commit human rights abuses. And I don’t want to see them arrest, incarcerate and attack the opposition. So both sides have to maintain peace. And if peace is maintained and the opposition is allowed to function as a legitimate opposition, then the United States should examine our relations with Zimbabwe, and see how we move forward.”

Bass, from the 37th Congressional District in California, was part of the observer mission organised by the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute.

She said her key findings were that the process appeared to be well organised and peaceful.

“I will tell you that I was envious of an 85% turnout in an election which I certainly have not seen in the United States. And everything went really well,” Bass said.

“The problem was the days after the election and I left two days after, and you know of course that the opposition rejected the results, and felt that the counting was not accurate, especially the transmission of the results from the polling place, and you know that the (Constitutional) Court ruled in favour of the election results.

“So, I think that that was a very sad outcome to what looked like a very well organised and peaceful process. But obviously if you have a large percentage of the population that is not happy with the results, then I am concerned for what will take place in Zimbabwe in the near future.” – The Standard