Sadc must stand firm on Zimbabwe

via Sadc must stand firm on Zimbabwe – DailyNews Live by KERRY KENNEDY  •  13 AUGUST 2013 4:04PM

On July 31, 2013, Zimbabweans took their hopes and aspirations to more than 9 000 polling stations across the country to cast their ballots in a much- anticipated election.

While many analysts in Zimbabwe and throughout the world predicted a close contest between longtime President Robert Mugabe and his chief rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, the results proved to be nothing of the sort.

Indeed, several days later on August 3, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) announced a historic landslide, with Mugabe winning more than 60 percent of the popular vote and his party securing an overwhelming two-thirds majority in Parliament.

While the proceedings on Election Day were largely peaceful and rightly commended by both domestic and international observers, the myriad legal violations leading up to the vote combined with reports of irregularities and allegations of voter fraud on election day itself, have provided the international community ample reason to doubt the integrity of the outcome.

The amount of credible and mounting concerns that have so far come to light should prompt an immediate and thorough investigation by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) before election results are certified.

In March 2013, I led an international human rights delegation to Zimbabwe that documented the concerns of ordinary citizens, including human rights violations against individuals and civil society organisations participating in the electoral process.

During our visit, I heard countless tales of intimidation, harassment, violence, and arbitrary detention of activists, as well as infringements on freedom of expression and access to information.

I even received a small taste of that repression firsthand, as our hotel rooms were visited by shady State agents and our delegation stopped, searched, and questioned repeatedly by the police.

By all accounts, violations of basic political rights and civil liberties continued unabated throughout the electoral process and were not adequately remedied by responsible State authorities.

Most troubling is the fact that many credible reports suggest the electoral register was manipulated to provide the Mugabe regime the necessary latitude to unequivocally tilt the election in its favour, with reports that upwards of one million deceased voters and more than 100 000 citizens over the age of 100 remained on the roll.

The fact that an electronic form of the register was not made available to the political opposition or to civil society organisations prior to Election Day is unacceptable, and a clear violation of domestic law and international electoral standards.

On election day itself, it is estimated that between 700 000– 1 000 000 voters, mainly in areas sympathetic to the opposition, were disenfranchised by being turned away at polling stations across the country.

In a statement on August 2, Sadc was quick to label the election as “free and peaceful,” though it stopped short of calling the results credible, and for good reason.

One civic group has documented nearly 2 000 total breaches of the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, a vast majority of which were committed by Zanu PF officials or affiliated State authorities.

Although Sadc acknowledged a number of electoral irregularities in its preliminary assessment, the regional body has yet to take a definitive stand on the Zimbabwe issue.

Instead of applying its own standards to reach a conclusive and evenhanded judgment, Sadc has undermined the prospects for democracy not only in Zimbabwe, but for the region writ large.

With important upcoming elections in South Africa, ?Malawi, Namibia, and most worryingly Mozambique —which is currently experiencing serious political strife —this is no time for Sadc to stand idly by or to blindly disregard its own guiding principles.

The forthcoming Sadc Summit in Malawi provides a timely opportunity for regional leaders to hear the concerns of all parties involved in Zimbabwe’s electoral dispute, including domestic civil society and country observation teams.

A mere lack of physical violence, while certainly a marked improvement for Zimbabwe, does not itself constitute a credible election.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 23
  • comment-avatar
    Qiniso 7 years ago

    Lets get this straight Kennedy. Your report is too general, lacks specifics and its very misleading. You’re just throwing #s around and that’s not proof atall. We need proof here, this general statement about Zim elections being stolen is baloney.

    Right now they’re no specifics apart from throwing numbers around.

    Who can say those people who were disenfranchised were going to vote MDC?

    “with reports that upwards of one million deceased voters and more than 100 000 citizens over the age of 100 remained on the roll” is absurd. The voter’s role in a mess but not to the extent you’re trying to imply here. Did the dead vote? Did the 100+ years people vote? … if so how and that’s what is needed… and MDC has to provide that proof.

    This generalization is getting absurd. Tell us how the election was stolen. We the ordinary people know we voted and after the count, zanu was the winner and all the parties certified votes in the polling stations as correct.

    Why did MDC sign that the voter count was correct?

    Give an example of one country were you get everyone accepting elections results… Don’t bring USA coz, the GOP was screaming about Black Panthers and illegal votes having influenced election results plus also Texas refused allow UN observers when the Dems brought it up.

    • comment-avatar
      Diego Zhaba 7 years ago

      SADC is a spent force. What can we expected from SADC, rhetoric?
      @ Quiniso – you are out of touch with reality like your leader.

      • comment-avatar
        Qiniso 7 years ago

        Mugabe is Zim leader baZhaba. There is no need for you to bury your head in the sand. Accept the situation. There is no going back, Tsvangison is done and the best is for him to put Zim 1st not his personal ambition.

        • comment-avatar
          Morris 7 years ago

          If Tsvangirai and the MDC should just put the country ahead of their ambitions “which were huge in an undemocratic country like Zimbabwe”, why didn’t the Zanu Pf put our needs ahead of theirs and carryout a very honest, free and fair election? Maybe they still could have won albeit by a small margin. Any allegations of rigging would be clearly proved to be wrong fairly and squarely. That would have provided our country with a government with unquestionable legitimacy. A government yoked by legitimacy allegations is a disadvantage to us.

    • comment-avatar
      Morris 7 years ago

      General is not wrong for just a general opinion piece like the one above. The author clearly did not intend to furnish detailed specifics but just some pointers to suggest that the could have been tilted. In all fairness this is a fair statement ‘700 000– 1 000 000 voters, mainly in areas sympathetic to the opposition, were disenfranchised by being turned away at polling stations across the country’. In areas sympathetic to the MDC is key here, and results show that where such is the case the differences in numbers are really glaringly huge between MDC and Zanu Pf. In a court of law the specifics will be needed for sure but in the court of public opinion the article makes sense. Of course, if the court of law is also tilted they will demand insurmountable amount and count of evidence! Yet in a fair court, electoral law and constitutional breaches like not giving opposition parties the electronic version of the voters’ roll in reasonable time before the election will render the election void. There is a case here for posterity. Do we want our elections in Zimbabwe to be that shambolic and still say the winners won and the losers should just hang? What standard do we want our governments to be established by?

    • comment-avatar
      Collin Mackenzie 7 years ago

      MDC cry foul was they think that the people turned away were only MDC people even Zanu PF people were turned away that guy is writing rubbish he was not even there.
      And for the record even if those turned away had to vote it will make a difference
      Zanu PF won this one hands downs
      Mdc must just concede and work together for an better Zimbabwe the only person I respect form MDC is the minister of Education the rest are just boys
      Oh Morgan needs a facial guys that man is ugly yooh yooh

  • comment-avatar
    Thamas Munazvo 7 years ago

    Qiniso, what proof do you want yausingazivi iwewe. Kana Mugabe achitaura ega kuti vakomana vake vakazonyanyisa kuita rig. Masvingo province reflects the whole story because vanhu veko varikuti havana kana kuvhotera Zanu but tarisa result yeikoko.

    • comment-avatar
      Qiniso 7 years ago

      Hard proof Thomas. Ballots were counted in the polling stations. How did Zanu switch the boxes? Where was the MDC election agents when that happen? This was a manual process, not a computerized system. C’mon lets have hard facts not generalization. I have talked to a lot of people in Hre and Byo and most of them tell me that they didnt vote because they expected Zanu pf to rig the election and my question is…whose vote was stolen if you didnt vote. I will ask you the same question, did u vote?

      • comment-avatar
        thamas munazvo 7 years ago

        Qiniso , kana uri weZanu rambawakadaro umwewangu because that is your choice and that is how democracy works. Inini ndicharamba ndiriweMDC. Hongu Tsvangison sokuona kwako akakundwa in what you call a free and fair elections but you fail to answer mibvunzo yawakandirwa eg vana vadiki were bused kuMt Pleasant kunovhota and video yacho iripo as proof. Vamwe vaishandisa maslips kuvhota vasimo muvoters roll, Harare witnessed an increased number yevanhu vakarambidzwa kuvhota saka imwe proof yaunoda ndeyei. I for one voted Mugabe pamaelections ekutanga but you have to realise kuti tirikuvharwa kumeso nemapoliticians aya ivo vachiguta nevana vavo , vachivaendesa abroad Kumauniversity vedu vachikwangwaya. Kusvika rini tichinanzva kumashure kwaMnangarwa.Hazvibatsire chinhu kungoti Zanu pasina chainokupa. Wake up haikona kuita musoro uzere Ragea (as in stomach).

      • comment-avatar
        Rudadiso 7 years ago

        Qiniso, why were urban voters not allowed the mandatory 30 day registration period and the 30 day voter inspection period? Why wasn’t each candidate availed an electronic copy of the roll as required by law? Why were those who had been granted special voting allowed to vote on July 31 in violation of the law. To date ZEC has not produced the roll used forthe eelections.

        I voted in mt. Pleasant where youths, none of whom were able to specify exact addresses were allowed to vote. Where did these people come from. They came in hired ZUPCO buses.

        Having boted since 1985 from the same wad, my name had been transfered to a different constituency altogether. If I had not checked long before the elections and insisted on being transferred back to my ward I wouldn’t have been able to vote as happened to many.

        • comment-avatar
          Qiniso 7 years ago

          You checked for your name before the elections and you managed to vote and thats what everyone should have done. Its a standard world wide.

          ZEC has to answer for the Mt Pleasant fiasco, but again why did the MDC election agents certify the voter count in Mt Pleasant if they witnessed irregularities? Noone seems to know where these buses came from and its suprising in this world of social media.

  • comment-avatar

    Qiniso,
    You speak for your self, We the voters know who we voted for are you,we the voters??

    • comment-avatar
      thamas munazvo 7 years ago

      Pachako waAmai ndiwo mafungiro ako rambawakadaro but I bet you in real life zvinhu hazvina kumira zvakanaka kuvazhinji. Iyi virtual world inotipa simba rokutaura kana ndikawana kaSamsung Galaxy S4 kana iphone 6 but chokwadi chinodzipa ruzhinji rwunongoti Zanu but chabuda hapana. God knows,zvedai Mwari vatiregerera nokuti hapana chatinoziva.Wenyama haatyiseba asi, Baba varikudenga vakatiziva tichiri munamadzibaba edu. Hameno

  • comment-avatar
    Chiwaridzo 7 years ago

    Quinso , it doesn’t matter who the 1000000 disenfranchised citizens were going to vote for the fact that they were turned away is a violation in its self. To deny an electronic copy of the voters roll to all participating parties before the election is a blatant violation, the video evidence of people being transported from Honde Valley to Mt. Pleasant to vote is a violation, the diaspora not being permitted to vote when other citizens working in foreign embassies are permitted to vote is unconstitutional. But why did ZANU not complain about the electronic voters roll , because they already had a copy, why did the registrar general stop a certain civil rights group from having a public hearing on the anomalies of the voters roll, because he knew it would be difficult to answer the allegations honestly. The outgoing Minister of Education of the ZIMBABWEAN Govt who served all ZIMBABWEANS has pointed to at least 6 violations to the Constitution prior to the election.

  • comment-avatar
    simon 7 years ago

    who in their right mind thinks a geriatric 89 year old can lead a nation (most under the age of 40) in this day age???!!!!! Rarely does democracy work in Africa it seems. Leaders keep frauding elections under the guise of ‘being democratic’ Many moons ago Africa ruled itself with cheifdoms and kingdoms and it seems leaders don’t know how to lose gracefully with very few exceptions ie Ghana. We all know a new broom sweeps well and that is what Zimbabwe needs. A fresh new start but were denied this again!! Why wont the Gvt of South Africa release the 2022 election report??!! even agains the high court order..see the rot start in South Africa now too. Mugabe lost already in 2002.

  • comment-avatar

    Even if you add in the disenfranchised numbers of 306,000 and add in the number of asisted voter @+/-270,000 and add those numbers to Morgan’s total after subtracting the 270,000 from R.G.’s total Morgan still does not win. So unbelievablly rigged or not giving a lot of leeway to Morgan. Mugabe won that election outright, lets move on and unite to provide a platform for real economic growth in the next five years.

  • comment-avatar
    Phillip Mazowe 7 years ago

    South African vice president Mothlatle commented that the 2013 were going to be the same as the 1980.I wonder whether he meant Mugabe’s landslide! Food for thought.

  • comment-avatar
    thamas munazvo 7 years ago

    Qiniso , kana uri weZanu rambawakadaro umwewangu because that is your choice and that is how democracy works. Inini ndicharamba ndiriweMDC. Hongu Tsvangison sokuona kwako akakundwa in what you call a free and fair elections but you fail to answer mibvunzo yawakandirwa eg vana vadiki were bused kuMt Pleasant kunovhota and video yacho iripo as proof. Vamwe vaishandisa maslips kuvhota vasimo muvoters roll, Harare witnessed an increased number yevanhu vakarambidzwa kuvhota saka imwe proof yaunoda ndeyei. I for one voted Mugabe pamaelections ekutanga but you have to realise kuti tirikuvharwa kumeso nemapoliticians aya ivo vachiguta nevana vavo , vachivaendesa abroad Kumauniversity vedu vachikwangwaya. Kusvika rini tichinanzva kumashure kwaMnangarwa.Hazvibatsire chinhu kungoti Zanu pasina chainokupa. Wake up haikona kuita musoro uzere Ragea (as in stomach).

  • comment-avatar
    reason 7 years ago

    Well Kerry Kennedy, the reporter of this article must be one of those who lost the stolen land back to their original owners. whatever crap you write the majority of ZIMBABWEANS HAVE SPOKEN, and Mugabe is very much aware of that. In other words the results as it is today and the next 5 yrs or beyond are irreversible.

  • comment-avatar
    Ishmael 7 years ago

    Wena Qiniso mdidi kanyoko. Are you so blind, dump and dear to see and perceive these elections were flawed? They were so much below to our constitutional standard.
    Fuseki mani mdidi wakho

  • comment-avatar
    jongwe power 7 years ago

    If it is a cliched fact that African leaders do rig elections, why bother taking them seriously? After all, you do know exactly who the winner is, right? Why give yourselves heart and blood pressure problems by hoping in vain that somehow, the opposition candidate wins? The West will do nothing, because they are getting what they want out of Africa via Chinese middlemen. Did you folks really think these “Look East” style policies adopted by African governments are going to uplift your poorer brethren. Just stop making a religion out of African politics and if you have to break some rules and moral codes to survive, so be it. It’s not like our sociopathic leaders follow rules anyway, so why bother?

    Just hope that when the Chinese begin their later phases of colonisation, they don’ decide to use “population control” strategies on us. After all, Asians don’t really like black people that much, and I highly suggest you folks read (and translate) the things they write about us on their Internet forums.

  • comment-avatar
    Kondo 7 years ago

    Qiniso, are you saying what u are saying out of principles and convictions or are you one of those who are looting and/or personally benefiting from the current rot in the system? Look deep inside yourself before you respond to this post or any other post on this page.

  • comment-avatar
    Qiniso 7 years ago

    @Ishmael. Why resort to insults? Shame on you.

    @Kondo…I have no associations with zanu pf at all. I hate zanu pf, its personal and at the same time my hatred doesnt blind me. Tsvangison slept on the job hence the big loss. Zanu pf had a message and it resonated with the people. MDC had no message at all. It was all about Mugabe’s age, Mugabe stealing etc..
    Zanu had land and indigenization. MDC-Ncube had devolution and people didnt like it hence the poor showing. What was the MDC-T message? Be honest, dont bring generalities