HARARE — Southern African countries should consider holding their general elections without the presence of international observers, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
Hosting a state dinner for visiting Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, Mnangagwa said Malawi was a country that had held “harmonized presidential elections without foreign observers.” Elections were held without the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community and civil society organizations observing, “but they were successful, peaceful elections conducted by Malawi on its own,” he said.
“This makes us think whether it’s still necessary in future for SADC countries to look for supervision from across oceans,” Mnangagwa said.
Chakwera, who was elected president in June, is on a two-day visit to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is due to hold general elections in 2023.
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera on Wednesday pledged economic cooperation with Zimbabwe so as to improve the welfare of the two countries.
Chakwera was speaking at a State banquet hosted by Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa at the State House in Harare on Wednesday night.
At the banquet, the Zimbabwean President presented a bouquet of flowers to Malawian First Lady Monica Chakwera on behalf of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa. The Malawian First Lady Monica Chakwera celebrated her birthday on Wednesday.
Chakwera will hold bilateral talks with his Zimbabwean counterpart Mnangagwa, whose regime has come under international spotlight for gross human rights abuses.
On his part, Mnangagwa was defiant according to quotes reported by state-owned The Herald newspaper: “ Those who prefer confrontation, anarchy, delinquency, civil disobedience and peddling falsehoods in a bid to unseat democratically elected Governments have no place in our country and indeed in the SADC region.”
Zimbabwe leader stressed the need to strengthen economic ties between Harare and Lilongwe.
He said Chakwera’s visit to Harare affords the two nations “an opportunity to refocus our cooperation in the areas of trade, agriculture, mining and social services. “
Said Mnangagwa: “Zimbabwe is ready to host the next session of the Joint Permanent Commission to enhance our socio-economic collaboration and identify new areas of cooperation.
“It is important that we leverage on the natural resources within our countries to grow our economies and improve the quality of life of our people.”
In line with the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and in the context of the African Continental Free Trade, the President said cooperation between Zimbabwe and Malawi, two countries that share cultural and geographical ties, will lead to a more prosperous and empowered Africa.
The President said Malawi and Zimbabwe should enhance private sector business exchanges and cooperation as well as cooperation between small and medium enterprises.
Officials from the two countries are working to establish a Zimbabwe-Malawi Business Forum to facilitate increased trade cooperation.
The Zimbabwe trip is Chakwera’s second State visit since he assumed office in June this year, the first being a day-long visit to Lusaka, Zambia last week.
The visit will be followed by Tanzania and Mozambique in what State House has described as “solidarity visits.”
Presidential press secretary Brian Banda confirmed that President Chakwera “will have a day-long visit to Mozambique next Tuesday and later Tanzania.”
Malawi borders Tanzania to the North, Mozambique to the South and East, and Zambia to the West.