HARARE - National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku yesterday commended the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for a job well done amid mounting allegations of vote-rigging and urged MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to concede defeat.
Madhuku yesterday told a news conference that Tsvangirai, who lost the polls to incumbent President Robert Mugabe, must accept the result in order to move the nation forward.
“The interests of this country require that we all move forward focusing on building the economy of this country, deepening its democratic systems, promoting peace and unity and encouraging all of us to participate in the public affairs of our country,” Madhuku told reporters at the NCA’s Bumbiro House in Harare.
“We should put the election behind us and take lessons for the future. The NCA wishes to commend Zec for discharging its responsibilities diligently despite the severe constraints it faced,” said Madhuku.
However, the unavailability of the voters’ roll and the failure by nearly a million people to vote in the just-ended polls has left civic organisations questioning the credibility of the polls.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (Zesn), to which the NCA is a member, has already declared that the polls were neither free nor fair.
In a clear indication of the widening chasm between former allies the NCA and the MDC, Madhuku, who took over the reins at the constitution reform pressure group from Tsvangirai, said: “The election results have been announced. There are winners and losers. Every election has its winners and losers. Given the peaceful nature of these elections and the compelling need to move our country forward, the NCA urges the losers to concede defeat and take the country out of the ‘permanent election mode’ it has been for several years now.”
The MDC is launching a court challenge to the outcome that saw Mugabe rake in 61 percent of the votes and his Zanu PF clinching a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Among the issues that the MDC is citing is the absence of security sector and media reforms before polls, the shambolic state of the voters’ roll and the high incidence of people who were assisted to vote during the decisive polls.
Another thorny issue that is now dominating public discussions is the overprinting of ballot papers and also the involvement of Nikuv Private Investment (NIP), an Israeli company, in the polls.
But Madhuku said the complaints raised by the MDC were inconsequential.
“It is the NCA’s firm view that the complaints raised against the 31 July, 2013 poll by the losers do not raise anything new and cannot be used as a basis for rejecting the results of an election in which they participated voluntarily. It is not desirable to encourage a state of affairs in our country where political parties participate in an election with only two scenarios: either they win or they dispute the result,” said Madhuku.
The NCA boss said he was convinced that the votes cast on July 31 were the votes counted and announced.
“The NCA does not know the reasons for that pattern of voting,” Madhuku said.
“The essence of an electoral system based on a secret, one-person-one-vote is that each of the voters can only be sure about the vote he or she has cast. Provided that the votes have been cast freely, the result is binding. The way forward is to focus on moving the country forward while preparing for the next elections.
“We should put the election behind us and take lessons for the future.”
Madhuku said his NCA was satisfied with the peaceful atmosphere that characterised the period before, during and after the elections.
“All Zimbabweans have a responsibility to nurture this peaceful environment and desist from any actions which may directly or indirectly interfere with the peace prevailing in the country,” Madhuku said.