Saturday, June 21, 2008

Zimbabwe: Forty-four African leaders speak out

Zimbabwe: Forty-four African leaders speak out

edited by William Minter

Forty-four African leaders speak out

Two weeks before the presidential run-off elections in Zimbabwe, over forty prominent African leaders have released an urgent call for free, fair, peaceful, and transparent elections. The open letter was published on June 13 and June 14 in full-page advertisements in South Africa 's Business Day, the Financial Times, and the New York Times. The initial signatories included 18 former presidents or prime ministers, two Nobel Laureates, musicians Youssou N'Dour and Angelique Kidjo, and former United Nations Secretaries General Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. It was sponsored by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, founded and directed by African mobile phone magnate Mo Ibrahim.

For previous AfricaFocus bulletins on Zimbabwe , see:


Africans Call for Free and Fair Elections in Zimbabwe

Prominent African civil society leaders have united to call for an end to violence and intimidation in

Zimbabwe ahead of the elections on June 27 2008. In this open letter, former heads of state, business

leaders, academics and leading campaigners call for the presidential election to be conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner that allows the citizens of Zimbabwe to express freely their will. This is crucial for the interests of Zimbabwe , and for Africa as a whole. We invite you as individuals, and as representatives of civil society organisations to join our call by adding your signature to the letter. Go to to add your signature. Let your voice be heard. Thank you for your support.

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It is crucial for the interests of both Zimbabwe and Africa that the upcoming elections are free and fair. Zimbabweans fought for liberation in order to be able to determine their own future. Great sacrifices were made during the liberation struggle. To live up to the aspirations of those who sacrificed, it is vital that nothing is done to deny the legitimate expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe .

As Africans we consider the forthcoming elections to be critical. We are aware of the attention of the world. More significantly we are conscious of the huge number of Africans who want to see a stable, democratic and peaceful Zimbabwe . Consequently, we are deeply troubled by the current reports of intimidation, harassment and violence. It is vital that the appropriate conditions are created so that the Presidential run-off is conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. Only then can the political parties conduct their election campaigning in a way that enables the citizens to express freely their political will. In this context, we call for an end to the violence and intimidation, and the restoration of full access for humanitarian and aid agencies.

To this end it will be necessary to have an adequate number of independent electoral observers, both during the election process and to verify the results. Whatever the outcome of the election, it will be vital for all Zimbabweans to come together in a spirit of reconciliation to secure Zimbabwe 's future.

We further call upon African leaders at all levels pan-African, regional and national - and their

institutions to ensure the achievement of these objectives.

The initial signatories are: 1. Abdusalami Alhaji Abubakar Former President of Nigeria (1998 - 1999) 2.

Kofi Annan Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997 - 2007), Nobel Laureate and member of The Elders 3. Kwame Appiah Laurence S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton

University 4. Boutros Boutros-Ghali Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1992 - 1997)

5. Lakhdar Brahimi Former United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan , Haiti , Iraq and South

Africa, member of The Elders 6. Pierre Buyoya Former President of Burundi (1987 - 1993, 1996 - 2003) 7.

Joaquim Chissano Former President of Mozambique (1986 - 2005) 8. John Githongo Former Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics in Kenya 9. Richard Goldstone Former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa 10. Mo Ibrahim Founder of Celtel International and Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation 11. Sam Jonah Former Chief Executive of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation 12. William Kalema Chairman of the Uganda Investment Authority 13. Kenneth David Kaunda Former President of Zambia (1964 - 1991) 14. Angelique Kidjo Musician and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador 15. Wangari Maathai Founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Laureate 16. Graca Machel President for the Foundation for Community Development and member of The Elders 17. Ketumile Masire Former President of Botswana (1980 - 1998) 18. Moeletsi Mbeki Deputy Chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs 19. Benjamin William Mkapa Former President of Tanzania (1995 - 2005) 20. Festus Mogae Former President of Botswana

(1998 - 2008) 21. Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro Former President of Cape Verde (1991 - 2001) 22. Elson Bakili Muluzi Former President of Malawi (1994 - 2004) 23. Ali Hassan Mwinyi Former President of Tanzania (1985 - 1995) 24. Kumi Naidoo Secretary General of CIVICUS 25. Domitien Ndayizeye Former President of Burundi (2003 - 2005) 26. Babacar Ndiaye Former President of the African Development Bank 27. Youssou N'Dour Musician and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador 28. Njongonkulu Ndungane Former Archbishop of Cape Town and Founder of the African Monitor 29. Moustapha Niasse Former Prime Minister of Senegal (1983, 2000 - 2001) 30. Loyiso Nongxa Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand 31. Karl Offman Former President of Mauritius (2002 - 2003) 33. Mamphela Ramphele Former Managing Director of the World Bank and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town 34. Jerry John Rawlings Former President of Ghana (1993 - 2001) 35. Johann Rupert Chairman of Remgro Limited 36. Mohammed Sahnoun Former UN/OAU Special Representative for the Great Lakes region of Africa and former Assistant Secretary-General of the OAU 37. Salim Ahmed Salim Former Prime Minister of Tanzania (1994 - 1995) and former Secretary-General of the OAU (1989 - 2001) 38. John Sentamu Archbishop of York 39. Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo Former President of Benin (1991 - 1996) 40. Miguel Trovoada Former President of Sao Tome and Principe (1991 - 2001) 41. Desmond Tutu Nobel Laureate and Chairman of The Elders 42. Cassam Uteem Former President of Mauritius (1992 - 2002) 43. Zwelinzima Vavi General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions 44. Joseph Sinde Warioba Former Prime Minister of Tanzania (1985 - 1990)


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