via Tsvangirai blasts Sadc – DailyNews Live by Xolisani Ncube
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the Sadc election observer mission has failed to live up to its set guidelines for free and fair elections.
He said the observer team produced a “saddening” report that is “factually wrong”.
Tsvangirai told journalists after visiting his incarcerated chief elections agent Morgen Komichi at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison yesterday that the report released by the Bernard Membe-led Sadc election observer team endorsed an election that fell short of the regional bloc’s own minimum standards for a free and fair election.
“The final report is not different from the initial endorsement of the elections,” Tsvangirai told reporters outside the prison.
“What I fail to read in the report is first and foremost that in Maputo, Sadc was very clear that certain reforms and processes were key if free and fair elections were to be conducted.
“And secondly, Sadc has guidelines; they don’t even mention whether our elections passed the test of those benchmarks, they don’t even make that reference.”
The former prime minister, who lost the hotly-contested July poll to his bitter rival President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, said he was not happy with the manner the regional body conducted itself in Zimbabwe elections.
“I am actually disappointed because certain narratives reflect a Zanu PF narrative,” he said. “For example, how does an observer talk about pirate radio stations? How do you talk about sanctions and that the opposition is campaigning for sanctions that is why they lost the elections? I think there is nothing new, they have endorsed.”
Speaking in Harare on Monday at the presentation of the Sadc observer mission’s final report on the July 31 elections, Membe said opposition groups should call for the lifting of sanctions, warning Zanu PF would be difficult to remove if the measures remained in place.
“Let me tell you this passionately from my heart, and if there are opposition leaders here and if there are opposition people in this conference you know this question of sanctions must be fought by all parties,” Membe said.
“To tell the world to remove the sanctions because if you don’t it’s very difficult for the opposition to win elections. As long as sanctions are there this Zanu PF will prevail for 100 years to come if you hear me.”
The MDC leader said he will continue engaging with the regional bloc even though he does not expect any changes with regards to its endorsement of the polls. He said he was eager to have facts known.
Sadc deployed 600 observers countrywide for the July 31 vote. The Sadc report issued on Monday “endorsed” the outcome of the election, but Tsvangirai said it was expected given that they had already endorsed the result in their preliminary report.
He said by referring to the issue of sanctions and pirate radio stations, which had nothing to do with the manner in which the last elections were prepared and conducted; the Sadc observer mission leader “was certainly reading from a Zanu PF script.” He said he would launch a formal complaint with Sadc and the African Union (AU).
Tsvangirai said he was aware of the crisis of expectation from the people Zimbabwe, whom he said had their “victory stolen”. He cautioned that dealing with a the current regime required time, patience and resilience, adding that the MDC would continue with the democratic means to bring change in Zimbabwe.
He said the biggest mistake Zimbabweans could make was to give up the struggle for political change, adding he would soon consult with the people of Zimbabwe on the way forward.
Tsvangirai was visiting Komichi who is incarcerated at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on charges of contravening the electoral law.
Senator Komichi was arrested in July after he handed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) a special vote ballot paper which had been picked from a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) in the last election.
Tsvangirai said it was absurd that instead of prosecuting Zec officials for negligence, they were instead incarcerating Komichi for exposing the irregularity.
“It is strange that they chose to incarcerate Komichi instead of Zec for its negligence in the election,” said the MDC president.
He took opportunity to visit the remaining four Glen View 29 accused Last Maengahama, Yvonne Musarurwa, Simon Mapanzure and Tungamirai Madzokere. He said he was encouraged to see them in good spirit.
He said the four including Komichi gave him words of encouragement to continue with the struggle for a new democratic dispensation.
“I was quite touched and encouraged to hear them say, ‘president do not give up, let us continue with the fight’,” Tsvangirai said.