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Zimbabwe’s election: an African appeal

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It is crucial for the interests of both Zimbabwe and Africa that the elections on 27 June 2008 are free and fair.

Zimbabweans fought for liberation in order to be able to determine their own future. Great sacrifices were made during the liberation struggle. To live up to the aspirations of those who sacrificed, it is vital that nothing is done to deny the legitimate expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

As Africans we consider the forthcoming elections to be critical. We are aware of the attention of the world. More significantly we are conscious of the huge number of Africans who want to see a stable, democratic and peaceful Zimbabwe.

Consequently, we are deeply troubled by the current reports of intimidation, harassment and violence. It is vital that the appropriate conditions are created so that the presidential run-off is conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. Only then can the political parties conduct their election campaigning in a way that enables the citizens to express freely their political will.

In this context, we call for an end to the violence and intimidation, and the restoration of full access for humanitarian and aid agencies.

To this end it will be necessary to have an adequate number of independent electoral observers, both during the election process and to verify the results.

Whatever the outcome of the election, it will be vital for all Zimbabweans to come together in a spirit of reconciliation to secure Zimbabwe's future.

We further call upon African leaders at all levels - pan-African, regional and national - and their institutions to ensure the achievement of these objectives.

All the initial signatories of this letter have added their names in a personal capacity rather than in their organisational role.

All individual members of the global public, and civil-society groups, are invited to endorse the letter here. This appeal is an African initiative supported by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
The signatories are:

Abdusalami Alhaji Abubakar, former president of Nigeria (1998-99)

Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations (1997-2007), Nobel laureate and member of The Elders

Kwame Appiah, Laurence S. Rockefeller professor of philosophy at Princeton University

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former secretary-general of the United Nations (1992-97)

Lakhdar Brahimi, former United Nations special representative for Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq and South Africa, and member of The Elders

Pierre Buyoya, former president of Burundi (1987-93, 1996-2003)

Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique (1986-2005)

Achmat Dangor, author and chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund

John Githongo, former permanent secretary for governance and ethics in Kenya

Richard Goldstone, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel International and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Sam Jonah Former, chief executive of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation

William Kalema, chairman of the Uganda Investment Authority

Among openDemocracy's many articles on Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe:

Bev Clark, "Mass evictions in Zimbabwe" (13 June 2005),

Netsai Mushonga, " Two nights in Harare's police cells" (5 December 2005),

Andrew Meldrum, " Zimbabwe between past and future" (23 June 2006),

Conor O'Loughlin, " Zimbabwean travails" (13 September 2006),

Wilf Mbanga, " Happy birthday, Robert Mugabe" (21 February 2007),

Stephen Chan, " Farewell, Robert Mugabe" (20 March 2007),

Michael Holman, " Dizzy worms in Zimbabwe" (13 September 2007), The Zimbabwean,

" Zimbabwe votes - and waits" (31 March 2008), Wilf Mbanga,

" Zimbabwe's unfolding drama" (7 April 2008), Roger Southall,

" South Africa and Zimbabwe: the end of ‘quiet diplomacy'?" (29 April 2008)

Kenneth David Kaunda, former president of Zambia (1964-91)

Angelique Kidjo, musician and Unicef goodwill ambassador

Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel laureate

Graça Machel, president of the Foundation for Community Development and member of The Elders

Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

Ketumile Masire, former president of Botswana (1980-98)

Moeletsi Mbeki, deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs

Benjamin William Mkapa, former president of Tanzania (1995-2005)

Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana (1998-2008)

António Mascarenhas Monteiro, former president of Cape Verde (1991-2001)

Elson Bakili Muluzi, former president of Malawi (1994-2004)

Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former president of Tanzania (1985-95)

Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Civicus

Domitien Ndayizeye, former president of Burundi (2003 - 05)

Babacar Ndiaye, former president of the African Development Bank

Youssou N'Dour, musician and Unicef goodwill ambassador

Njongonkulu Ndungane, former Archbishop of Cape Town and founder of the African Monitor

Moustapha Niasse, former prime minister of Senegal (1983, 2000-01)

Loyiso Nongxa, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand

Karl Offmann, former president of Mauritius (2002-03)

Mamphela Ramphele, former managing director of the World Bank and former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town

Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana (1993-2001)

Johann Rupert, chairman of Remgro Limited

Mohammed Sahnoun, former UN/OAU special representative for the Great Lakes region of Africa and former assistant secretary-general of the OAU

Salim Ahmed Salim, former prime minister of Tanzania (1994-95) and former secretary-general of the OAU (1989-2001)

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo. former president of Benin (1991-96)

Miguel Trovoada, former president of São Tomé & Príncipe (1991-2001)

Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate and chairman of The Elders

Cassam Uteem, former president of Mauritius (1992-2002)

Zwelinzima Vavi, general-secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)

Joseph Sinde Warioba, former prime minister of Tanzania (1985-90)


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