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Zimbabwe’s Government Defies International Pressure on Run-off Vote

Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations, Boniface Chidyausiku, explains his country's plan to host a run-off presidential election Friday, despite the U.N. Security Council's declaration that a fair election is not possible during the present political crisis.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Next, the latest on Zimbabwe.

    Yesterday, we spoke with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad about the deteriorating security situation in Zimbabwe. Last night, the U.N. Security Council condemned what it calls a "campaign of violence" that will render free and fair elections impossible.

    Now, the other side of the story, from Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations, Boniface Chidyausiku. I spoke with him a short time ago.

    Mr. Ambassador, welcome.

    BONIFACE CHIDYAUSIKU, Zimbabwe's Envoy to the United Nations: Thank you.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The United Nations where you sit has called for Friday's elections in Zimbabwe to be called off. Will they?

  • BONIFACE CHIDYAUSIKU:

    No.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Why not?

  • BONIFACE CHIDYAUSIKU:

    Well, the United Nations has no mandate to give instructions to member-states on when or where they should hold elections. That is the prerogative of a sovereign state, to decide when and when it suits them to do elections.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    So how do you conduct a free and fair election without an opposition candidate?

  • BONIFACE CHIDYAUSIKU:

    The opposition candidate has been playing to the media. He deliberately saw defeat in the face and he realized that the only way out was to jump ship and appeal to the international community, who have accepted his antics. And he's now galvanizing international opinion against the government of Zimbabwe.

    But as far as we are concerned, we need a mandate from the people, because, on the 29th of March, that mandate was not given to any of the candidates that aspired to be president of Zimbabwe. And as per our constitution, that requires a runoff.

    And we have put the systems into place that Friday there will be a runoff. And we are proceeding ahead.

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