Press Releases

    SG/SM/8135
    AFR/382
    26 February 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS
    CRITICAL TEST FOR DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA

    NEW YORK, 25 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on Thursday, 21 February, by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    Next month’s elections in Zimbabwe are a critical test of democracy not only in that country, but in all of Africa. That is why I join African leaders in urging in the strongest possible terms that the elections be allowed to go forward in a manner that is peaceful, legitimate, and credible. The people of Zimbabwe must be allowed to cast their votes free from violence, intimidation, and hindrance of any kind in the presence of as wide a range of international observers as possible.

    I, therefore, appeal to the President of Zimbabwe and his Government, as well as to the opposition, to put the interests of the country ahead of any individual interests, and to work together to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free and fair manner, and that the rights of all citizens to participate are assured and protected. For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe, of its neighbours and the entire continent of Africa, I appeal to the Government to let the people make their choice, and to live by it.

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