South Africa is keenly watching events unfolding in Zimbabwe with President Cyril Ramaphosa telling journalists yesterday that he was happy elections had been conducted in peace.
Ramaphosa was speaking while attending the governing African National Congress (ANC) Lekgotla, adding his government would work with any party that wins the elections.
“The election has started very well, there are no violent acts. It means that the people of Zimbabwe are determined to install a government that is representative of all the people of that country.
“We support them and we say to them which ever party emerges victorious, we are prepared to work with them as South Africa and we wish them the very best,” Ramaphosa said.
The ANC leader added he would be attending the inauguration of the new President.
“We look forward to going to the inauguration once the results have been announced. So everything seems to be going on well and we are very pleased as a neighbour of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa two weeks ago wrote to Ramaphosa, who doubles as regional power broker, Sadc chairperson, demanding a summit to deal with what he described as a “crisis in Zimbabwe”.
At the time, Chamisa was locked in a war of words with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) over the design, printing and storage of the ballots used in the general elections yesterday.
The MDC Alliance that Chamisa leads had also complained about the structure of the voters’ roll.
However, Zec stuck to its guns and rejected Chamisa’s demands for access to the storage and to change the design of the ballot. Chamisa had threatened “there will be no elections without reforms”.
However, the 40-year-old presidential aspirant seen as the only candidate with a realistic chance of stopping Zanu PF’s continued rule in Zimbabwe, seemed to have capitulated last week, telling a media briefing that while he would have loved to stick it out, pressure from his supporters had forced him into the poll.
Chamisa has claimed he has put in place “anti-rigging mechanisms”, but would not accept a result that does not favour him. South Africa as the biggest economy in the region, home to millions of migrant Zimbabweans who escaped Mugabe’s economic meltdown could silently be praying for a resolution of her neighbour’s near two-decade long turmoil to ease pressure on itself.
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