Caribbean Community leaders have at last added their voices to the condemnation of the farcical elections held recently in Zimbabwe and the violence against the people of the country.
“The Caribbean Community condemns this unacceptable trampling of the democratic and electoral processes in Zimbabwe,” CARICOM leaders said in a statement that was issued following their 29th summit tat was held in Antigua July 1 -4.
The economic integration and cooperation body, which unites 13 English-speaking Caribbean territories, Suriname and Haiti, had come under criticism from the regional press for its silence on the Zimbabwe situation.
The region, led by the late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley was at the forefront of the international struggle for the end of the racist regime and independence for the then Rhodesia, when the current Zimbabwe ruler, Robert Mugabe led the guerrilla campaign against Ian Smith’s regime.
Following is the full text of the CARICOM statement:
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has followed with great concern the general elections in Zimbabwe and the subsequent presidential runoff of 27 June. The first round of the electoral process was tarnished by grave irregularities and inordinate delays in the announcement of the results and allegations of manipulation of these results to force a runoff. The second round of the presidential elections was further marred by spiralling political violence, intimidation and harassment which led to the withdrawal of the opposition candidate, Mr. Tsvangirai.
“The Caribbean Community condemns this unacceptable trampling of the democratic and electoral processes in Zimbabwe. Held in circumstances which made a free and fair ballot impossible, these elections were totally devoid of legitimacy as they did not reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
“While acknowledging the complexity and sensitivity of the situation in Zimbabwe, the Caribbean Community, steeped as it is in the democratic process, calls on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to use their best efforts to find a negotiated outcome to this flawed election in order to avoid a further deepening of the social, economic and political crisis for the people of Zimbabwe and its harmful effect on neighbouring states.”