Successful, harmonised election – free and fair?

via Cabinet on Zim election: Successful? Yes. Free and fair?  Mail & Guardian.  by ANDISIWE MAKINANA

Journalists have been left puzzled as Zuma’s Cabinet lauded Zimbabwe for a “successful, harmonised election” – without calling it free and fair.

What does a “successful harmonised” election mean?

Is it the same as a free and fair election?

And on what is President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet basing its pronouncement that the recently held Zimbabwe elections were successful?

These are questions that put a senior government spokesperson and a Cabinet minister into a spin during a post-Cabinet briefing on Monday morning.

A prepared media statement, following last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting read: “The Cabinet congratulated the people of Zimbabwe and political parties on holding successful harmonised parliamentary and local elections.”

“Cabinet commended the efforts of President Jacob Zuma as the Southern African Development Community [SADC] facilitator on the Zimbabwe Dialogue in ensuring that all political parties were committed to peaceful elections,” continued the statement.

Zuma has led a four year facilitation process in Zimbabwe on behalf of the SADC, which concluded with the July 31 elections.

‘Anything but free and fair’

SADC is yet to meet and pronounce on the Zimbabwe elections, which many observers have claimed were anything but free and fair.

This is why journalists in Parliament questioned the Cabinet’s use of the word “successful” with regards to the Zimbabwe elections and whether this was not premature considering Zuma’s role in those elections.

“Given that the president’s mandate comes from SADC, is it not premature for the Cabinet to declare the Zimbabwe elections successful [and also] given that the SADC meeting is yet to take place?” asked one.

Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams responded: “The Cabinet has congratulated the people of Zimbabwe on the harmonised parliamentary and local elections, it did not get to discuss what SADC’s position is going to be; it didn’t discuss what is going to happen thereafter. It only commended the peaceful elections that were held in Zimbabwe.”

Journalists were not convinced, and more questions arose.

“Could you please explain what does “congratulating Zimbabwe on a successful election mean?” asked another.

“What is the Cabinet actually saying: do you accept the result, do you think it was free and fair?”

Decision pending

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who attended the briefing to explain matters relating to her portfolio, jumped in.

“We didn’t make any pronouncements on the state of the election. So there has [been] no pronouncement on whether the election is free or fair. We have just acknowledged that it has been successful,” she said.

Joemat-Pettersson said a pronouncement on the elections would be made once the SADC has met and a decision is taken there.

“So we are in no way making a pronouncement on the elections, we are congratulating that the elections ran smoothly without violence and without any incident of severe violence.”

Does the government believe that you can have a successful election without having a free and fair election?

“We have not declared whether the elections were free or fair. We do not have an opinion on that,” said Joemat-Pettersson wrapping up the press conference.



  • comment-avatar
    Thamas Munazvo 11 years ago

    South Africans should kick this ANC gvt before it is too late because I see the country going the Zim way.

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    Tapuwa Mukuruvambwa 11 years ago

    If Zimbabwe stabilizes then SA’s exports to Zim. will be affected.
    SA is happy seeing Zim’ industry not working and Zim. importing from them thus making good their economy. SA can never be on the people of Zim. ‘s side but on those whom them regard as benefiting their economy.

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    Rudadiso 11 years ago

    Africa’s oldest president, having been at it for 33 years, is being congratulated for not being primitive this time around. He apparently didn’t cut off people’s limbs. He didn’t kill anyone either this time around.

    What an indictment comrade president! Peaceful elections are taken for granted by civilised nations. But for Mugabe just being peaceful on voting day is considered a monumental achievement.

    A normal civilised person, not accustomed to barbarism would bow his head in shame.

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    TRINOS 11 years ago

    Yes given a good government, the once Breadbasket now turned begging bowl of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe’s economy can once again compete with South africa. Naturally people hate competition except athletes of course.South Africa will obviously support the status quo so as to kill any competition from a free Zim.Ido not blame Zuma that’s the name of the game,- investors are finding their way into S.A

  • comment-avatar
    Sikalazo 11 years ago

    Shame upon you mr zuma.

  • comment-avatar

    What I find so sad is that before Independance, the African people’s voice and vote could not be heard in Rhodesia, and now even after Independance, their voice and vote still can’t be heard in Zimbabwe……what a tradgedy?!

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    Lesley 11 years ago

    Seems the Zimbabwe Situation is all about sour grapes, seeking time and again to discredit Zimbabwe at every turn. Just come out clear and clean that your agenda and long held motive is to see Mugabe out of power. But because you are not God, it will surely not happen your way but God’s way.