Zimbabwe Must Hold Peaceful, Credible Elections: German Minister

“The Germany government has called for a fair and credible referendum on the constitution and fair and credible elections without violence. I appeal to all players to ensure that there will be really peaceful elections. The kind of violence that happened in 2008 must not happen again,”Niebel who was in a three day visit said at a press conference at the Zimbabwe-German Society offices in Harare.

“It is our expectations that elections observers, long term election observers be invited at an early point from SADC  (Southern African Development Community), from other institutions, the EU (European Union) to be here not only on the election day but throughout the entire campaign.”

“The Germany government expects Zimbabwe to guarantee human rights and freedom of the press and to return to the rule of law,”he added.
 
Niebel met with senior government officials that include Vice President Joice Mujuru, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Ernegy Minister Elton Mangoma and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube in separate interviews in Harare.   “We talked about the fact that Zimbabwe has reached a critical point on the way to a democratic system. There will be elections next year,” he said of the meetings.

He did not meet President Robert Mugabe.  “I had no meeting with President Robert Mugabe bacause we do not have official government level co-operation,” he said.

“Germany froze its official development cooperation in Zimbabwe in 2002 because of the political situation but since the government of national unity was formed in 2009 Germany has supported Zimbabwe through transitional aid, humanitarian aid, no money goes to government,” Niebel said.

“My visit does not mean that we are normalising relations with Zimbabwe in the field of development. Germany development cooperation with Zimbabwe will continue to be suspended until democracy and the rule of law have been restored.”

Niebel urged Zimbabwe to observe bilateral agreements with Berlin after disturbances at conservancies that are owned by the Germans in the lowveld. He said the indigenisation laws which forces foreign firms to cede 51 percent to indigenous people will deter the much needed investment in the country.

“I believe the indigenisation law is more likely to deter investors than to help create more wealth within your country,” he said.
 
“At present Zimbabwe’s government does not guarantee the protection of Germany companies investments even though it has made a commitment on international law to do so. I expressly call for compliance with the investment protection agreement for Germany companies.”