Sadc queries poll fairness

HARARE - Southern African Development Community election observer mission (SEOM) says Zimbabwe’s disputed elections on July 31 were “generally credible” but questioned the fairness of the vote.

Bernard Membe, a Tanzanian government minister who led the Sadc observer mission, told a news conference yesterday that the fairness of the July 31 election was questionable.

Mugabe won 61 percent of the vote, but opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who garnered 34 percent of the vote, alleged widespread rigging and fraud.

Mugabe, who at 89 is Africa’s oldest leader, has angrily rejected the fraud allegations and was sworn in on August 22 for a fresh five-year term in the southern African nation that he has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.

“The provision of voters’ roll in time goes to the very heart of fairness in the election process,” Membe said while presenting a summary of the final report in Harare yesterday.

“If the voters’ roll is not made available on time, the fairness of the election is brought into question. This is because voters’ rolls are public documents and it is the duty of electoral commission to abide by Section 21 subsection 1 of 6 of the Electoral Act.

“We are saying so because our observers on the ground reported complaints related to the delay in issuing the voters’ roll on time.

“In trying to gauge fairness of this election, SEOM focused its attention among others on State media, pirate radio stations and voters’ roll.

SEOM noted that media were highly polarised and for the most part biased along political party lines,” Membe said, adding it was difficult to say the election was fair.

Britain said last week that Mugabe’s re-election could not be deemed credible without an independent investigation into allegations of voting irregularities, while the US has said the poll was flawed and will keep sanctions on Zimbabwe.

But Sadc and the African Union had, in earlier reports, said the poll was free and peaceful, refraining to comment on the fairness of the vote.

Western countries which are in the process of re-engaging Zimbabwe were awaiting the Sadc and African Union (AU)’s final reports to ascertain which steps to take.

Membe said though there had been some negatives on the election process, a cumulative of issues including the peaceful environment and freeness of voting made it “generally credible”.

Membe said: “On credibility of the election process, a lot has been said to the negative, however, while agreeing that issues such as the delay of the voters’ roll and media polarisation. (sic) There were so many other elements that when put together elevated the election to a credible status, therefore, this election was generally credible, I repeat, generally credible.

“When compared to 2008 electoral process, this year’s election has neither bloodshed nor massive arrests of voters and candidates that is why we were quick to say it was peaceful.”

Membe also called for the banning of “pirate radio stations” and regulation of the public broadcaster ZBC to afford all political parties and independent candidates contesting on election free access.

The issue of media reforms was one of the greatly-contested subjects in the coalition government guided by  Global Political Agreement, with MDC arguing that the media environment needed to be opened up to allow non-partisan private players to operate in Zimbabwe.

Rita Makarau, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Chairperson, said her body welcomed the report as it highlights both the negatives and positives of the election process.

“We very much welcome the report; it is very, very balanced,” she said.

However, the MDC yesterday quickly rubbished the Sadc report. In a statement, the MDC said: “The MDC takes note of the summary statement of the Sadc Election Observation Mission on the just-ended election that was presented in Harare today.

“However, the MDC notes with grave concern the report’s failure to properly put into context the enormity and magnitude of the problem presented by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s failure to avail the voters’ roll to candidates on time.

“The report’s attempt to compare the extent of bias by the State media with what they refer to as ‘pirate radio stations’ and or the private media is quite misleading.”

The statement said it defies any logic that the report raises quite some disturbing issues with regards to process and handling of the election and still continues to declare the outcome as credible.

Further reads the statement: “The report, which is also silent on many other irregularities such as chaotic voter registration, shambolic special vote exercise, fake voter slips, bussing of voters, high number of assisted voters, is in all intends and purpose highly fictitious, totally inaccurate and incredibly unscientific.”

“It is clear that the people’s vote was stolen and Sadc has once again let the people of Zimbabwe down by failing to condemn the rigging which took place.”

Comments (10)

MDC-Tea wandipedza mafuta. Only MDC-Tea is right and will never listen to anyone who goes against their thinking. Now MDC-Tea Tsvangirai give us your side of story. You went to Court and withdrew the case on your own and promised us that your next call was SADC the AU.

NANSI LENDODA - 3 September 2013

Can someone explain to me what SADC is saying by credible when its not fair. I thought the credibility of elections is centred on freeness & fairness. How do you have credible results from an unfair process? Elections were free-YES; Fair-NO & Credible-NO.

Mabhora Mugedhe - 3 September 2013

No one can help.

Worry - 3 September 2013

chiiko nhai nyaya yapera kare iyi , vamugabe vava kutonga zvavo. saka kuataura ndekweyi. nothing will change anyway. pamberi nechimurenga . zvimurenga hobhooooo

jojo - 3 September 2013

the period running to the Harmonised elections saw people outside Zimbabwe urging those in Zimbabwe to be hostile and fight against the system. Am glad that those who are in Zimbabwe did no listen especially to the so called Baba Jukwa. Aida kuti vanhu vapandukirane. Takadzidza isu hatiteerere kuti tipandukirane. Lets remain a peaceful nation. Ithank you!

the Patriot - 4 September 2013

Its the Lord who ordain leaders and its Him who rejects. When Chomatama's time comes he will rule if God has permitted, oh my God......God forbid a dictator worse than Mugabe who is power hungry and is driven by the desire to accumulate riches as his aspirations the Zanu Pf officials have done. Unfortunately he has reached e best level God has permitted Him, Tsvangirai being a president NOOO TB Joshua told him and his own father told him and said he will never reign Zim, Hey go and apologise to ur fr may b it may b reversed and you may live ur dream of ruling Zim.......and to u baba jukwa zimbos r nt lyk foolish Lybians and Egyptians who can go abt destroying their own prpty draging dvpment dwnwards just 4 e interests of America, wy do u instil chaos n protests iwe Tsvangirai BE AWARE AMERICA ITSUTSUKUVIRI MANGWANA INOZOKUPANDUKIRA, They don just help 4 nothing!! don b their puppet since their resources are the strings to control u unofira pasina!! MDC what u need is God's support not people's support. You were supported by 3/4 of Zimbos bt wat did u come out with? Be patient bt i doubt if u cn make it, u Tsvangison u endorse homosexuals? Ah i doubt if u cn make it!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake up! Baba jukwa (chatunga) leave us alone u are u full of lies n gimmicks stop it!! Lets look forward n ahead. muka MDC!!!!! - 4 September 2013

muka MDC-Tione - 4 September 2013

Chamatama bvuma kuti wakakwaturwa na Bob.wange wazonyanyawo kuda ma skirts sahwira.kwozoti campaigning yako yaive yakaneta.Baba Chatunga vakakupindira mumamisha nemumaruzevha wakavata mumwe wangu.unotaura nezverigging zvako but ziva kuti Baba Chatunga is a former guerilla.vanoziva kupinda mumisha nekubata vanhu muchanza cheruoko.uri mutete mwana waamai.dai ndirini iwe sahwira ndaingoti chenji yakasara pamari dze Amerika ndotenga mombe kwakumbosiyana nazvo.ndezvenyika izvi,zvine mweya waNehanda izvi.kana watopihwa post zvako,aah sahwira,agura musuva ari nane pane arara nayo nzara.

mabhogora - 7 September 2013

Kikikikikiki. as 1+1=2 so shall free and fair be equals to credible. credibility is a result of agreed standards being met within the perimeters of a given. This is a given phenomenon which SADC and Zanu can not change, but its for them to change.

Chamu - 9 September 2013

Water is "H2O" but if you remove one "H" FROM THE BOND the result is not Water please, please, Africa, no wonder why we argue that a wheel can be square and that the square wheel can revolve at the same speed with a round one whilst the two are carrying the same weight without any damage to the square wheel. Where is our intelligence??????? FREE AND FAIR EQUAL TO CREDIBLE. FOOLS.

Chamu - 9 September 2013

TAURA HAKO CHAMU

KURUKUDYU - 9 September 2013

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