Only a few minutes ago, a story we have been pursuing for a week now was confirmed: Four Western governments have given an undertaking to President Mnangagwa's government that they would stand by the results of Zimbabwe's election in the event of a boycott by the opposition.

"It's a very sensitive matter, you know," said the source who confirmed it to us. "But these governments have all said that nothing that has happened so far on the ground in the Zimbabwe precludes the holding of a free and fair election. On that basis, and provided that there is no violence or other disruptions between now and the election, they will stand by the election results after 30 July."

The pivotal argument appears to be that the process so far is above board from what these government can see and what they have been told by representatives on the ground.

One of the governments appears particularly exasperated by what they see as the "goalpost-moving, constant fault-finding and jumping the gun" by one of the major players in the election.

The proviso that the election would be endorsed as free and fair only if the atmosphere remains the same to election day appears to be designed to send the message to ZANU PF that this is not a carte blanche undertaking. The government that are promising to stand by him and the election results still insist that there are basic principles that, if violated, would make it impossible for them to remain quiet and to endorse the result.

The source who confirmed the news to us, attended the meeting where the undertaking was made. They are very certain that the opposition has overestimated not only its strength, but also its influence.

"ED was pleasantly surprised at the reasonableness of the Western powers. It appears that what helped a lot was social media and the tone they could see for themselves on those social media platforms, which has led them to the conclusion that for huge chunks of the loudest opposition voices, ED and ZANU PF can never do anything right, ever. But they also pointed out that social media accounts for about 15% of the population of Zimbabwe. That's why they want to see what happens in an election that is free of fear or intimidation or violence, regardless of who takes part or who boycotts. If that happens, they said they will fight for the winner."

Mnangagwa and VP Chiwenga have been silently engaging some of the most pivotal international players whose opinion on the election is going to be crucial. Their concern has been to demonstrate that they "are bending over backwards" to differentiate themselves from "the previous dispensation" and should not be held responsible for any irresponsible behaviour by their opposition.

Yesterday, communication was sent to Rugeje, the Political  Commissar for ZANU PF, instructing that party members not react to any provocations. This was done apparently because the opposition now know of the position of the Western governments and there is a very real fear that they will try to provoke confrontations with ZANU PF supporters in order to bolster a case for an election that is not free and fair.


Popular posts from this blog

Who Killed Elliot Manyika?


Makoni Confidant Dies