President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants free, fair, credible and transparent elections next year because that is the only way a country can move forward peacefully, politically and economically.
He said this on his twitter handle adding that this was why he had emphasised in his State of the Nation Address that his government is committed to entrenching a democratic society driven by respect for the constitution, rule of law, mutual tolerance, peace, and unity.
“To this end, government will do all in its power to ensure that the 2018 harmonised general elections are credible, free and fair,” Mnangagwa said in his address.
“In #SONA17, I emphasised the need for free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2018. That is the only way a country can move forward peacefully, politically and economically,” the President tweeted.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said while Mnangagwa had promised free and fair elections one of his most senior lieutenants Christopher Mutsvangwa had publicly disclosed that soldiers and traditional leaders will be assisting ZANU- PF to campaign in the forthcoming elections.
“This is a very alarming and disturbing development that shouldn’t be allowed to take place if at all next year’s elections are going to be held in a free and fair environment,” the MDC-T said.
“The MDC will take comfort from a state of affairs whereby the newly appointed Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, would publicly announce that the army is not going to take part in campaigning for any political party and also that the army will accept the results of a free and free election regardless of who is the winner of the Presidential election.
“The jury is still out on the Mnangagwa administration and we hope and trust that all the promises and undertakings that were made in President Mnangagwa’s inaugural SONA will be implemented. Indeed, action speaks louder than words.”
Mutsvangwa claims he was misquoted.
"Contrary to reports that were attributed to me, that the army would ensure an electoral victory for ZANU-PF, it’s a lie,” Mutsvangwa said.
"I said there was a team which helped to undo the dynastic tendencies of Mugabe. Then I promised the President that we would deliver an election victory to him and that specifically excludes the army because the army had played a role in the ascendancy to power of the new president.
"The army is a professional entity which doesn't get involved in election campaigns and I urge all journalists to report accurately."
Mnangagwa, who is completing former president Robert Mugabe’s term which ends on 21 August 2018, needs his own mandate and will ensure free and fair elections to prove that the people are behind him because all along he has been carrying the tag that he is unelectable.