Morgan Tsvangirai declares elections illegitimate
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed Wednesday’s election as ‘a huge farce’ which does not reflect the will of the people.
by Nomalanga Moyo
The Electoral Commission is yet to announce the final results but unofficial reports so far point to a ZANU PF win, against a background of what civil society groups have been saying is a seriously compromised polling environment.
Speaking at party headquarters Thursday morning, Tsvangirai said the legitimacy and credibility of the election had “been marred by administrative and legal violations.”
He cited the controversial voters’ roll, lack of security and media reforms as some of the reasons why the poll result is discredited and out of sync with international elections standards.
Going into the July 31st election, there were concerns about electoral irregularities raised by civic groups and the MDC formations, including thousands of people being prevented from registering, and duplicated names on the roll.
By Thursday, a day after the election, the MDC still had not received an electronic version of the voters’ roll, despite a court order compelling the Registrar-General’s Office to provide one.
Tsvangirai’s raised these issues again in his address, saying: “In our view, this election is null and void” and did not meet international guidelines for a credible process.
He said: “For the above reasons, the election has been heavily manipulated. In our view, the outcome of this election is illegitimate. But more importantly, the shoddy manner in which it has been conducted and the consequent illegitimacy of the result will plunge this country into a serious crisis.”
He went on: “It’s a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people. In our view this election does not meet the SADC, AU and international standards for a credible, legitimate, free and fair election.”
Tsvangirai said it was not the MDC-T that had been shortchanged in this rigged election, but the millions of Zimbabweans who will yet again suffer the economic and political consequences of ZANU PF misrule.
The MDC-T leader called for an audit of the whole electoral process by both the SADC and the AU teams. However, Tsvangirai’s call came too late, after the leaders of both observer teams gave the process a clean bill of health.
Head of the AU team, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, swatted away concerns over the voters’ roll and the disenfranchised voters as minor issues that wouldn’t affect the credibility of the result.
Speaking to the press conference at the close of polling Wednesday, Obasanjo said: “From what I saw and what has been reported so far from our observers, I feel the conduct of the election has been peaceful, orderly, free and fair.”
SADC, through its Head of the Observer Mission and Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe, said Tuesday the environment in the country was conducive for the elections. Both bodies are yet to give their official positions post-election.
However the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC (SADC-ECF), a grouping of electoral authorities from around the region, has already declared the elections credible at a press conference held Thursday.
It was always going to be the case that the SADC-ECF would endorse the poll, as condemning the process would have been tantamount to an attack on itself – considering that ZEC is a member.