Zimbabwean Opposition Party Says Mnangagwa Rule Is Illegitimate

  • New President must introduce electoral reforms: NPP leader
  • Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe; is due to call elections

Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's president, pauses during a meeting of the Zimbabwe Business Club in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Thursday Jan. 18, 2018.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Zimbabwe’s opposition National People’s Party said the country’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, lacks legitimacy and is overseeing military rule ahead of elections he says will take place before July.

Mnangagwa should return Zimbabwe to legitimate civilian rule and introduce electoral reforms, Joice Mujuru, head of the NPP, said in an emailed statement late Thursday. He must also undo “oppressive” legislation that undermines press freedom and enables the persecution and arrest of opposition party members, she said.

Mnangagwa was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s president two months ago after the military briefly took control from his predecessor, Robert Mugabe. He indicated the July deadline for elections earlier this week, and has invited both the United Nations and the European Union to monitor voting, according to the Financial Times. Mnangagwa also has plans to revive an economy that’s halved in size since 2000, he said in an interview earlier this month.

Calls to the Presidency seeking comment on Mujuru’s statement weren’t answered.

Read More: Mnangagwa Plans Zimbabwe’s Economic and Democratic Revival

“The new administration is the product of a military coup,” Mujuru said. “It is an administration that lacks both legitimacy and legality to lead and govern the people of Zimbabwe. The administration needs to urgently heed the call for electoral reforms.”

Mujuru, the widow of Zimbabwe’s former military commander, Solomon Mujuru, served under Mugabe for 23 years, both as minister and vice president, before being expelled from the ruling party. The NPP is in a loose coalition with the Movement for Democratic Change that will take part in the elections.

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