Two United Nations human rights experts have welcomed the peaceful change of leadership in Zimbabwe, after the 93-year-old was pushed to resign last week without bloodshed.
President Robert Mugabe’s 37-year-old rule came to an end after a military takeover which was prompted by the sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Following that takeover, Mnangagwa – who had fled the country for security fears – returned to Harare to take over the presidency on a caretaker basis.
The UN experts are now calling on the international community to respond by lifting the sanctions imposed on the Southern African nation.
“The resignation of Mr. Mugabe heralds the emergence of a new era, which must be based on democracy and the rule of law,” the experts on democracy and sanctions said.
“However, this cannot happen under the shadow of economic coercion. Sanctions have been in place since the early part of this century, and have led only to the suffering of ordinary people rather than bringing about political change. Now is the time for political dialogue, and the restoration of a functioning economy,” they added.
Zimbabwe has been burdened by heavy sanctions that for years since a land takeover move orchestrated by Mugabe against the wealthy white community in his country.
The sanctions played a part in Zimbabwe’s deteriorating economy, which at the end of Mugabe’s tenure, was one of the worst worldwide.
The UN experts urged the international community and Zimbabweans to work toward strengthening the country’s economy and wok towards holding elections.
“We urge the international community to work with Zimbabwe to restore the economy and the financial system, and to create the conditions necessary for free and fair elections,” the experts stated. “We must all work together for peace and prosperity in Zimbabwe.”
President Mnangagwa in his inaugural speech pledged to ensure that the elections are held in 2018 as scheduled.