Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan has admonished Zimbabwe to solve their current leadership struggle through credible elections in 2018.
According to Mr. Annan, a sustainable and legitimate election with integrity in 2018 is the only way to solve the current leadership impasse.
“I believe, nevertheless, that this crisis offers a unique opening for democratic renewal based on the freely expressed will of the people of Zimbabwe. They must be a full partner in the resolution of this profound crisis.
“The enthusiastic crowds who marched in the streets of Zimbabwe’s major cities on the weekend were demanding freedom, not just a change of leadership,” Mr. Annan said in a statement.
The deadline was set by Mr Mugabe’s own party, Zanu-PF. The embattled leader surprised Zimbabweans on Sunday, declaring on TV that he planned to remain as president.
Zanu-PF says it backs impeachment, and proceedings could begin as soon as Tuesday when parliament meets.The public has poured on to the streets in protest in recent days, calling for the end of Mr Mugabe’s 37-year presidency.
His grip on power has weakened considerably since the country’s army intervened on Wednesday in a row over who should succeed him.
Elections in Zimbabwe are already scheduled for mid-2018.
The former UN leader said the elections present an historic opportunity for the voters of Zimbabwe to choose their leaders in a manner that confers full legitimacy on the winning candidate adding that the leaders of Zimbabwe must also put the interest of country first.
“That vital goal will only be achieved by safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process. This requires that all political parties and candidates are allowed to campaign openly and freely without intimidation, that the media is permitted to provide impartial coverage of the elections and the Zimbabwe voters are empowered and encouraged to vote for whomever they wish without fear or favour.”
“We have seen how other African countries have suffered grave disappointments and violent setbacks during periods of political transition. I therefore urge the leadership of Zimbabwe – political and military – to promote and facilitate a transition to genuine democracy.