PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has responded to the United States (US) criticism of Zimbabwe’s electoral process by saying the Americans should keep their noses out of the country’s business.
Addressing thousands of his supporters in Chinhoyi today, Mugabe said the US along with the European Union (EU) and even the MDC formations should not be making an issue out of the failure to implement a raft of electoral, media and security sector reforms meant to create conducive conditions for free and credible elections.
These matters, he said, should only be brought up as an election issue by the MDCs in their manifestos, but they cannot be used to stop the holding of constitutionally due elections.
He said the coalition government was specifically created to prepare the country for elections after allegations that the June 2008 presidential poll run-off had been tarnished by violence, so the issue has been about creating a violent-free situation for the polls.
“That is the only command that we got from the African Union and Sadc. That’s why we have been talking about peace. Even (Prime Minister Morgan) Tsvangirai has been talking about peace because it’s the only requirement, so we say the US should keep their pink noses out of our affairs. We decided our own destiny so please keep your hands off,” he said.
Mugabe reiterated that the US and EU would be barred from observing Zimbabwe’s elections.
US State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said on Tuesday America is concerned and disappointed that preparations for the elections have not followed the Sadc roadmap which prescribed a raft of electoral, media and security reforms that would ensure a smooth poll.
He further emphasised the need for the Zimbabwean government to ensure the vote will be peaceful and fair, adding that a poll which lacks credibility will have implications for US sanctions against Zimbabwe.