Zimbabwe Election Motion in Parliament

The Green Party fully supports the Prime Minister’s motion, and we are pleased that it has incorporated some of the Green Party’s motion that was to be moved today. The Mugabe regime has been an utter disaster for the people of Zimbabwe and has been able to survive for so long only because of support from some neighbouring countries, particularly the Mbeki Government in South Africa. We are very glad that is now changing.

It is clear that free and fair elections cannot be held purely under the auspices of the Mugabe dictatorship, and the resolution before us is right in calling for Robert Mugabe to step down as President. Whether or not that happens immediately, I think the world must at the very least insist that the regime allow in a peacekeeping force tasked with stopping rampaging thugs from intimidating supporters of the Opposition, and also with establishing a climate in which fair elections can be held. Although such peacekeepers, be they military or police, would predominantly come from African countries, I think it would be a good gesture and would be welcomed by the people of Zimbabwe if New Zealand offered to contribute to such a force. There must also be international monitors inside any electoral process in order for the elections to be truly free. Last time, the Mugabe regime stopped Zimbabwe’s electoral commission from releasing the result of the presidential election for some weeks, and there was very much doubt as to whether it was an accurate result. As the Prime Minister has just said, it may well be that the Opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, actually won that election.

The world cannot stand idly by while the people of Zimbabwe suffer so much under the heel of the dictatorship. It is our responsibility in every international forum—and I am glad that the Prime Minister and the other speakers have talked about this—and in any forums where we have links, particularly with the Government of South Africa, to press the United Nations and the Commonwealth for very strong action. The world has dallied enough and let the Zimbabwe people descend into the abyss. We must help them at this critical time.