via AU final report on Zim poll reflects ‘solidarity of the African elite’ | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo November 1, 2013
The African Union Election Observer Mission has released its final report on Zimbabwe’s elections, in which it endorses the process as having conformed to continental standards on the conduct of elections, and an accurate expression of the will of Zimbabweans.
The report will come as no surprise to many observers as it simply confirms the position taken by the AU observer mission head Olusegun Obasanjo, who pronounced the Zim poll credible and legitimate a few days after July 31st.
In the report the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is lauded for conducting a “successful” and “professional” election despite being resource-handicapped.
According to the report, the Zim elections were held in accordance with the OAU/AU Declaration and Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa.
The report includes some concerns and recommendations which relate to what civil society groups and the MDC formations have said are serious anomalies that discredited the electoral process.
The report noted the absence of the voters’ roll which it said “should be made available to all stakeholders for verification and inspection, in both electronic and hard copy format, at least 14 days before elections.”
The report also noted the inequitable access to the public media and called for ZEC to “scrupulously enforce the relevant regulations of the Electoral Act to afford alternative voices and all political parties equitable access at all times during elections.
“The AUEOM further recommends that the provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act be fully implemented to enable the liberalization of radio and television ownership, thereby providing a broader platform for all stakeholders to voice their opinions, consistent with the stipulations of the new Constitution.”
Abel Chikomo, head of lobby group Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said the report is what he expected from the AU as it was in line with the Mission’s preliminary report.
Chikomo added: “Given all the anomalies that they highlight in their report, it becomes difficult to see how they can endorse such as a flawed process as a reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
“The only logical explanation would be that both the AU and SADC decided to endorse this poll as a way of getting out of Zimbabwe as fast as they could.
“I got the feeling that the outcome really didn’t matter to these bodies, it was about getting out of Zimbabwe in a way that would hand the responsibility back to the Zimbabwean people,” he said.
Chikomo observed that the AU report failed to locate the role of ZEC in the electoral process within the broader political narrative in Zimbabwe.
“All they did was analyse the resource constraints that ZEC faced, but the AU failed to ask ‘what is ZEC within the Zimbabwe political context’.”
Chikomo said, given the serious concerns raised throughout the electoral process, the AU should have called for an audit of what really happened.
“There were too many flaws in this election which shouldn’t have been ignored by the AU as this has potentially set a very wrong precedent for future elections in the not in Zimbabwe but also in the rest of the continent.
“The AU and SADC Zim poll endorsements despite objections from a large section of the population prove that the so-called African solidarity is nothing but the solidarity of the African elite,” Chikomo said.