Posted by Alex Bell on Sunday, August 4, 2013 | SW Radio Africa
Masizole Mnqasela said he and 14 others observers rejected the SADC mission’s claim that the elections were ‘free and fair’
The main opposition party in South Africa has rejected the preliminary endorsement of Zimbabwe’s elections by a regional observer mission, saying the polls were not free, fair or credible.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) refused to sign off on a report on the polls which was compiled by the SADC Parliamentary Forum observer mission. The DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Masizole Mnqasela, who was part of the mission, said on Saturday that he and 14 others observers had rejected the mission’s claim that the elections were ‘free and fair’.
“Last night (Friday night), the DA was asked to sign off on the statement declaring the elections free and fair. I refused as my observations indicate that the credibility and fairness of the elections are questionable due to irregularities with the voters’ roll,” Mnqasela said.
He told SW Radio Africa that he was not alone in raising concerns, saying observers from Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and others were not happy with what they saw during the elections last week.
“SADC has a tendency to arrive at a conclusion without reaching a consensus that would correctly represent the aspirations of the observer mission on the ground,” Mnqasela said.
He listed problems with the voters roll and restricted access to it, among the serious issues that should lead to the vote being “nullified.” He also raised concerns that voter registration slips were allowed as ‘proof’ of registration, even if names did not appear on the voters roll. He said this created “a serious loophole and an opportunity for fraud.”
“This intensifies my argument as to why it is wrong to say the elections are credible and free. It is nonsense. The election in Zimbabwe was not free and fair, and it lacked credibility,” Mnqasela said.
The DA official explained that his dissenting view was included in the SADC Parliamentary Forum report. But he said this is still not good enough
“There is this tendency (in SADC) …where people think that liberation movements must protect each others’ interests. And that cannot be right at the expense of millions of Zimbabweans,” Mnqasela added.
The DA meanwhile will be releasing an independent list of its observations next week.