SADC protests against Zim polls at SA parliament

via SADC activists protest Zim polls at SA parliament | SW Radio Africa By Violet Gonda

Activists from the region rallied at South Africa’s parliament to protest the endorsement by SADC and South Africa of the electoral process in Zimbabwe, which they say was flawed. Dozens of protestors from Zimbabwe, South Africa and other SADC countries, presented a memorandum to Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu, in which they outlined thirteen breaches of the constitution and the Electoral Act, which they say renders the election unacceptable in terms of Zimbabwe law and the African Union declaration governing elections in Africa.

The protesters appealed to South Africa’s legislators to ensure that South Africa and SADC pronounce the conduct of Zimbabwe’s election as unacceptable and also call for an independent audit of the electoral process.

Danai Musandu, a Zimbabwean student studying at UCT, told SW Radio Africa that a collection of students from all parts of Africa participated in the demonstration.

“We have to realize that where the minority gather there is a force that comes with that. This is a matter of the young generation and we are speaking out. This is our future. There was a lot of hope and we the youths are coming together as a collective.”

Justice Mavedzenga, another student at the University of Cape Town, said the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe is a struggle for Southern Africa. “We implore our fellow brothers and sisters in South Africa and in the region to engage in the struggle for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. It is not just a Zimbabwean struggle, but it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism for the entire region.”

Ramabina Mahapa, a UCT student from Limpopo province, said endorsing the Zimbabwe election is a dangerous precedent. “Looking at South Africa as a South African per se, and looking at the fact that South Africa will be heading into elections next year – now for South Africa and the SADC region to endorse those elections, with so much illegalities – that would be setting a dangerous precedence because in effect you are saying you are allowing a country to run on an election with was not legitimate. So in effect the South African government would be saying we allow the will of the people to be tampered with. And that for me is a dangerous case.”

Sipho Mudau, a law student, said peaceful elections are not necessarily fair elections. “I am just part of a group of concerned citizen’s from the SADC region – I’m from Zimbabwe, and I’m standing against unfree and unfair elections in Zimbabwe. I think our main argument and contention is that peaceful elections don’t equate to free and fair elections and we’ve outlined about 13 fundamental breaches of the Zimbabwean constitution that took place either before or during the elections, that we deem to be flagrant breaches and abuses of the electoral process in Zimbabwe.”