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US call for peaceful poll rattles govt?

by Staff reporter
30 May 2023 at 01:45hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT says it will take action against the United States (US) embassy for calling on Zimbabweans to vote in peace during the forthcoming elections, arguing that it was against diplomatic protocols.

The US embassy ran a campaign which encouraged Zimbabweans to vote in peace through its Twitter handle, but government described the move as interference. One of the messages read: "Zimbabwe's Constitution grants citizens the right to choose their representatives in legitimate, credible and peaceful elections. #VoteInPeace."

The other read: "Register to vote and make sure your voice is heard."

Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza said the embassy's message was in contravention of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.

"That is not a campaign for peaceful elections," Paradza said. "It's called interference in the internal affairs of a host country.

"It is against the provisions of the Vienna Convention where ambassadors are not supposed to interfere in the internal affairs of their host country. What the American embassy is doing is wrong."

Paradza said the US embassy should desist from engaging in such campaigns and just observe the process.

"This is not America, it's Zimbabwe. Government will take the necessary measures within our diplomatic sphere," he said.

No comment could be obtained from Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava as his mobile phone was not reachable.

Information ministry secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana also chastised the foreign diplomats for the "meddlesome" behaviour.

"Zimbabwe has a number of stakeholders in its elections," Mangwana said on Twitter. "Firstly, it's the Zimbabwean people, then the political parties and participating players, civil society, the referee Zec, etc. As for meddlesome foreign powers, they should either quietly observe in mute mode or butt out."

However, University of London professor of world politics, Steven Cahn told NewsDay yesterday that the US statement on peaceful polls was "factual".

"The statement is factual," Cahn said. "No opinion is offered as to whether the elections would be peaceful or not."

Source - Newsday
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