Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday vowed to hold free and fair elections next year, warning his party the contest was “nearer than what you expect”.
Speaking at a meeting of the ZANU-PF central committee, Mnangagwa said that he was committed to reforms.
“Government will do all in its powers to ensure that the elections are credible, free and fair,” he said.
“These elections are nearer than what you expect.”, The East African quotes him say.
The U.S. and the UK have recently said they will not give financial support to Zimbabwe until the new regime guarantees free and fair elections.
Mugabe’s era is said to have crippled the country’s economy facing sanctions from various western powers.
The European Union in 2014 removed sanctions on Zanu-PF officials, military officials and government-owned companies, but the US has maintained a travel embargo on several ruling party bigwigs.
President Mnangagwa told the Zanu-PF central committee that the sanctions had crippled the economy.
“We call for the unconditional lifting of the political and economic sanctions, which have crippled our national development,” he said.
“We realise that isolation is not splendid or viable as there is more to gain through solidarity, mutually beneficial partnerships.”
The opposition had called on the government to implement electoral reforms and organise free and fair elections for it to get international recognition.
President Mnangagwa came to power last month after the military toppled long time ruler Robert Mugabe.