Posted by Alex Bell on Monday, August 5, 2013 | SW Radio Africa
There is growing condemnation of the outcome of last week’s highly disputed election, which saw Robert Mugabe being re-elected as Zimbabwe’s President.
The poll saw Mugabe’s party score a ‘landslide’ victory against its political rivals and so far the outcome is being endorsed by some observer missions, particularly those from Africa.
These endorsements have been in spite of widespread reports of voter fraud and rigging, as well as the declaration by the main opposition MDC-T that the process was a “farce.”
The latest group to criticise the “flawed” electoral process and disputed outcome is the UK based Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), which said “it is not possible to conclude the elections were free, fair, credible and reflected the will of the people.” ACTSA’s Mark Beacon told SW Radio Africa that they are “deeply concerned with what happened in the run up to this election and what happened during the election.”
“It is difficult to see how anyone can endorse what has happened as free, fair and credible,” Beacon said.
He listed a number of irregularities that have been raised by some observers on the ground during the poll, including an observer from the Federation of Unions for South Africa (FEDUSA). That group on Monday also condemned the poll, calling the outcome “a fraud.” Their assessment was based on a report from their member Elias Bila, who was part of the Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) observer team.
“Firstly we must agree that the Zimbabwean elections of 2013 was peaceful and without obvious intimidation, especially in light of what happened in 2008. However, we can categorically state that the electoral processes were not fair. The main cause of this is that the voters’ roll was only released on Tuesday, on the eve of the election. This led to many people who wanted to vote, not appearing on the list,” Bila told SW Radio Africa on Monday.
“Many voters who did not appear on the voters roll were allowed to register there and then on a separate register, while others were not,” Bila continued, adding: “Even more concerning is the cases where ballot counting was not done by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission but by the police.”
These irregularities and others listed by observer missions have led to some international bodies and government’s raising concern, including Australia which over the weekend called for a rerun of the polls. Other Western nations, like the US, the UK and the European Union (EU) have also expressed concerns about the reports of rigging.
This has contrasted sharply with the opinions of mainly African nations that have been quick to endorse the elections. Kenya on Monday became the latest African country to accept the legitimacy of the elections and urged MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to “accept defeat.” (There was widespread criticism of Kenya’s March election and allegations of vote rigging).
Kenya’s position echoed that of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who extended his “profound congratulations” to Mugabe on Sunday. He also called for Tsvangirai to accept the outcome.
South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has since called on Zuma to retract this statement, until proper investigations into the rigging reports have been concluded.