Press Releases

    SG/SM/8155
    AFR/387
    8 March 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN ADVANCE OF ZIMBABWE’S
    WEEKEND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS URGES PEOPLE TO
    VOTE WITHOUT FEAR, IN KNOWLEDGE BALLOT IS SECRET


    NEW YORK, 7 March (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan was issued today in New York:

    This weekend, the people of Zimbabwe go to the polls in presidential elections. I encourage them to exercise their democratic right to vote for the candidate of their choice, without fear and in the knowledge that the ballot is secret.

    As I have previously said, I believe it essential that the political leadership of Zimbabwe should be decided through the ballot box; and that the will of the people is respected regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s election; and further, that once the will of the people is fairly expressed, all sides commit themselves to national reconciliation.

    I attach the highest importance to the vote count being completed without interference or manipulation and the result announced without delay. A credible and fully transparent process is the best way to ensure that the result of the election is accepted by all as reflecting the will of the voters.

    I remain acutely concerned at reports that the elections may be accompanied or followed by violence. I appeal to all parties and individuals to show the utmost restraint, and to pursue their objectives by constitutional means, in accordance with the law. In democratic elections there are always losers as well as winners. Democracy depends on the losers respecting the outcome, and on the winners respecting the civil and political rights of the losers.

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