By Alois Vinga
OPPOSITION MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa has called on fellow African leaders and African state institutions to emulate the “excellent precedence” set by neighboring Zambia after successfully holding peaceful elections amid guarantees for a smooth transfer of power.
He made the remarks during an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com Thursday on the just ended Zambia elections which saw the incumbent President Edgar Lungu losing to longtime rival, Hakainde Hichilema.
“It has set Africa in a very positive light. Africa must be seen as a continent of excellent values, standards, ideas and processes. Africa must be known for its strong institutions and smooth transitions. Zambian elections confirm that narrative. A narrative we must sustain,” he said.
Chamisa said the mutual and convivial and camaraderie spirit seen in Zambia should be the new song in all elections and transitions in Africa. Elections must not be a declaration of war where people fight or kill each other through violence.
He underscored that at the core of leadership contests and elections should be the pursuit of the opportunity to serve and respond to collective national aspirations and expectations.
“Elections must not just be about an empty pursuit of power without the responsibility to serve. Elections must empower each and every citizen to determine the collective destiny of a nation. State institutions must respect and not disrespect, invalidate or disregard the will of the citizens,” he said.
He expressed confidence in state institutions’ ability to allow for power transfer in the event of citizens having voted against the incumbents.
“In the case of Zimbabwe we have many patriotic men and women in uniform with exceptional integrity and duty to the constitution.Any vote by the citizens shall be upheld and respected,” Chamisa said.
The youthful leader said among other measures, governments across the continent must allow citizens in the diaspora to participate in elections in line with the latest precedent.
“Africa is on a positive trajectory. We need to uphold the unimpeachable processes and uncontested plebiscites. Countries like South Africa, Botswana,Malawi and more recently Zambia among other regional players have been doing very well in their elections. For South Africa in particular, you would realise that election results are posted in real time,” he said.
Quizzed on the possibility of Zimbabwe’s capacity to conduct forthcoming elections in a prudent manner, Chamisa said there must be agreement by all stakeholders on who prints the ballot paper and the security of election material, Zimbabwe Elections Commission’s independence and the involvement of the diaspora vote.