Condoleezza Rice: Elections in Zimbabwe
Results from Elections in Zimbabwe
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
April 1, 2005
Despite years of repression and intimidation, the Zimbabwean people turned out in great numbers to vote in yesterday's parliamentary elections. The United States applauds their determination to keep democracy alive. Results are still coming in, but it is already clear that many Zimbabweans have rejected the government's failed policies and are calling for change. We hope the government will hear and respect these voices.
Although the campaign and election day itself were generally peaceful, the election process was not free and fair. The electoral playing field was heavily tilted in the government's favor. The independent press was muzzled; freedom of assembly was constrained; food was used as a weapon to sway hungry voters; and millions of Zimbabweans who have been forced by the nation's economic collapse to emigrate were disenfranchised. On election day itself, more than ten percent of would-be voters overall, and a disproportionately higher ratio in the most hotly contested constituencies, were turned away from polling stations due to irregularities with the voter registration rolls.
The United States calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to recognize the legitimacy of the opposition and abandon policies designed to repress, crush and otherwise stifle expressions of differences in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's leaders have a responsibility to address the political and economic problems that have wrecked what only a few years ago was one of Africa's success stories. By restoring democratic institutions and respecting the wishes of its people, Zimbabwe can retake its place as an honorable member of the world community.
Released on April 1, 2005