THE contrasting reaction by the West and Africa to President Robert Mugabe’s election victory last week has set the tone for yet another long drawn political stalemate in Zimbabwe.
Southern Eye Editorial
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T have refused to accept the results of the harmonised elections citing a number of irregularities, which they say they would prove in a court of law.
However, South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday indicated that he had accepted the results of the disputed elections.
Zuma — who has been mediator in the talks between Zimbabwe’s former coalition government partners — Zanu PF, MDC and MDC-T — took his cue from the African Union and Sadc observer missions that passed the elections as free and fair.
The position taken by the South African president has not gone down well with the main opposition Democratic Alliance, which has accused Zuma of letting Zimbabweans down by not challenging the alleged electoral theft.
Western countries have been more categorical in their response rejecting the poll outcome as fraud.
Australia even went as far as calling for a fresh election saying last Wednesday’s event lacked credibility.
The implications for this standoff are too ghastly to contemplate for Zimbabweans who have suffered for long.
The formation of the inclusive government in 2009 had helped Zimbabwe to reintegrate with the international community.
Countries such as Australia and the United States had started processes to remove sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle.
The European Union (EU) had also done the same, removing a number of people and State-owned companies from its sanctions list.
EU and the US had promised to revise the embargo if Zimbabwe held a credible election and from what transpired, it is clear they were not convinced.
Zimbabwe will be plunged back into isolation. Instead of celebrating, many Zimbabweans are despondent.
The victors have a lot in their hands to prove to the world that their win was clean and also to reassure Zimbabweans that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
It is clear even to those who won that the way these elections were conducted left a lot to be desired.