The Elders

Press release

The Elders: Statement on Zimbabwe

The Elders urge the African Union to acknowledge that Zimbabwe's elections were neither free nor fair. The crisis in Zimbabwe requires leadership, wisdom and moral courage that the African Union can provide.

The crisis in Zimbabwe requires leadership, wisdom and moral courage that the African Union can provide.

As leaders gather for the African Union summit in Sharm El Sheikh today, we ask that they clearly state that the results of the June 27 elections in Zimbabwe are illegitimate – for they occurred under the cloud of targeted political violence, precipitating the withdrawal of one of the two candidates. The African election observers left no doubt: the elections were neither free nor fair.

Secondly, we ask that the African Union’s brave leaders appoint a special envoy to pursue a robust mediation effort, working across the parties to build confidence, create a transitional government; prepare for free and fair elections; and start a process of national reconciliation.

Third, we ask that the AU require that the Zimbabwe’s current government meet its responsibility to protect its citizens by bringing an end to political violence and abuses of human rights and by reversing its decision to suspend the work of aid agencies.

The crisis in Zimbabwe affects all Africans. And the fate of all Zimbabweans is on our conscience. The African Union has a commitment to good governance, justice, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Its leadership is needed at this pivotal moment. It can help Zimbabwe return to the greatness that inspired so many of us during its proud history.

Let us be inspired again.


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The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

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