News / Africa

Mugabe Makes Plea for Peaceful Elections in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, center, prepares to light the independence flame during Zimbabwe's 33rd independence celebrations in Harare, Apr. 18, 2013.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, center, prepares to light the independence flame during Zimbabwe's 33rd independence celebrations in Harare, Apr. 18, 2013.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has made a plea for peace in the upcoming elections.  Zimbabwe's last elections in 2008 were disrupted by a campaign of violence by Mugabe's supporters against the opposition MDC party. 

Addressing thousands of people in Harare Thursday to mark the country’s 33rd anniversary of independence, President Robert Mugabe pleaded with Zimbabweans to be peaceful as the country prepares for elections. "So I say you are all Zimbabweans.  Go and vote your own way," he said. "No one should force you to vote for me.  Peace begins with me, me Robert Mugabe, you and with everybody, with all of us.”

Zimbabweans approved a constitution last month as part of a process leading to the elections, expected to take place in the second half of the year.

The new constitution was a requirement of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party and of regional leaders, who pressured Mugabe and Tsvangirai to form a coalition government after the disputed 2008 polls.

Those elections were marred by widespread violence.  Tsvangirai has said about 200 of his supporters were killed by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party militia.

On Thursday, Mugabe said he hoped the West would lift sanctions imposed on him and some ZANU-PF party senior officials in 2002 because of alleged election rigging and human rights abuses.

Earlier this week, the visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Reuben Brigety, met Mugabe and said Washington is set to improve relations with Zimbabwe. “The United States is prepared to move towards full normalization of relations with Zimbabwe.  We are prepared to do so consistent Zimbabwe meeting the benchmarks it has promised itself, it has promised the region in the context of the Global Political Agreement, starting with elections that are credible and are violence free," he explained. "We are anxious to see those elections unfold in that manner.”

The March constitutional referendum passed peacefully, with voters overwhelmingly approving the new charter.  But observers fear violence and intimidation tactics may return for the elections.

Police have been confiscating radios that pick up foreign stations -- a measure that would force Zimbabweans to use state-run media, which generally support Mugabe.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More