United States Deputy Chief of Mission to Zimbabwe, Thomas Hastings, Wednesday said his country would closely follow Zimbabwe’s March 26 by-elections including the preparations and campaigns.
Hastings told journalists that the by-elections were pivotal for the promotion of democracy. Hastings made the remarks after paying a courtesy call to the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda. He said after the closed-door meeting:
My government is pleased that the by-elections are now going to take place. They were delayed for quite some time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are pleased to see that they are taking place. Democratic conditions of free and fair elections are a key priority for governments all over the world.
In September last year, the United States (US) Embassy in Harare asked the government of Zimbabwe when it was going to resume by-elections after the elections had been suspended indefinitely over the prevalence of the coronavirus. An article posted by Pindula News back then read:
When will the Zimbabwean government resume by-elections? Long-standing parliamentary vacancies have left over 754,000 voters in 26 constituencies without elected representation. Only by-elections will restore these citizens’ rights to representation.
Many countries have held elections despite the pandemic, including Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, and the United States, demonstrating that COVID-safe elections are possible. We are confident Zimbabwe can do the same.
Back then, The Herald, a state-run paper, quoted some political analysts as criticising the US’s “behaviour of interfering in the affairs of other sovereign states.”