Sadc report fake: MDC

HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC yesterday claimed that the recently released Sadc observer mission report declaring Zimbabwe’s poll largely credible was not a Sadc report but one emanating from the Tanzanian Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Membe.

Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general, told a news conference at the MDC headquarters in Harare, that the Sadc observer mission has not yet endorsed Membe’s report.

“We have inquired with a number of Sadc countries and the Sadc secretariat who have professed ignorance to the existence of this report,” Biti said.

“Further, Mr Membe makes reference to a full report of Sadc which he was summarising from. However, this full report is still to be produced.

“He should have only come to Zimbabwe to present the final report. Because the final report was not out, he had no business, with due respect, coming to Zimbabwe,” said Biti.

“We totally reject this report and we know that Sadc observers did not meet. Right now there is confusion because there is no substantive executive, we expect a withdrawal of Membe’s statement.”

Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salamo recently stepped down, and was replaced by Stergomena Lawrence Tax from Tanzania at the Sadc summit held recently in Malawi.

“We have consulted with other countries and South Africa, we have also consulted the secretariat in Botswana and they are not aware of the report,” said Biti.

The former Finance minister said Membe’s report, which he presented alone, “in the absence of the full observer team”, was at variance with Sadc’s preliminary report on the July 31 polls, which admitted that the country’s elections, although free, had challenges.

“Membe came to Zimbabwe to declare that elections were fair and credible. The interim report does not support that conclusion,” said Biti.

The MDC secretary general questioned the legitimacy of Membe saying “we see efforts to undermine Sadc by producing reports that have no legal standing, no support from Sadc, all in the interests of addressing the challenges of a regime that is seeking legitimacy.”

The Sadc election observer mission on Monday unveiled what it claimed to be a final report on Zimbabwe’s July 31 poll which it endorsed as “free, peaceful and generally credible”.

The regional bloc has struggled to justify its endorsement of the elections, which have been slammed by western governments and the MDC as a “farce.”

The EU has called for an independent audit of the vote, while the US has said the vote was “flawed” and will maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Membe, who headed the Sadc election observer mission, told reporters at a press briefing in Harare that despite the shortcomings, the elections were free and had expressed the will of the people.

“The elections that took place on 31 July 2013 were free - free in the sense that our observers noted that the candidates were free to campaign, free to associate, free to express their views and the voters were free to cast their votes.”

President Robert Mugabe won 61 percent of votes against Tsvangirai’s 34 percent.

Biti said regional leaders met on June 15 in Maputo and agreed that the conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe were not conducive for the conduct of a free, fair and credible election.

“It is sad how this report can now conclude that an election held in an environment that needed reforms can be said to be free, peaceful and credible,” Biti said.

“A report of any Sadc Election Observer Mission is supposed to make reference to the Sadc Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Democratic Elections, which are supposed to act as the basis for judging the freeness, fairness and credibility of the election.”

Regrettably, said Biti, the Sadc Election Observer Mission report was silent on the guidelines governing the conduct of democratic election.

“Its conclusion therefore that the Zimbabwe election satisfied Sadc guidelines defies simple logic,” Biti said.

“The report is self contradictory, inconsistent and incoherent. It raises issues that render the 31 July 2013 election unfair and not credible and at the same time concludes and ‘elevates’ the election to a credible one.”

Membe’s report  stated “the provision of voters’ roll in time goes to the very heart of fairness in the election process. If the voters’ roll is not made available on time, the fairness of the election is brought into question.”

Biti said having made this point, the observer mission also noted that the voters’ roll was not made available on time and yet still makes the conclusion that the election was free, peaceful and credible.

“We have made it clear that the failure by Zec to provide us with a copy of the roll as required by the law was a well-calculated ploy to mask several irregularities that were deliberately orchestrated by the Registrar General, Nikuv and the military intelligence,” Biti said.

“For Sadc to conclude that an election in which other parties had no access to the voters’ roll is credible is baffling.”

Biti also rejected the conclusion that the poll was free.

Membe’s report states that “despite the shortcomings that have been annotated in the grand report, we said and we want to reiterate that elections that took place on 31st July, 2013 were free. Free in the sense that our observers noted that candidates were free to campaign, freely.

to associate, free to express their views and the voters were free to cast their vote.”

“This is erroneous,” Biti said. “While there were some cases of genuine illiteracy, the report fails to acknowledge the unprecedented number of assisted voters who were clearly intimidated into faking illiteracy so they could be assisted.”

He said the report was also conspicuously silent on the record number of voters that were turned away on polling day. Over 300 000 potential voters, according to Zec, were disenfranchised which resulted in either voters’ names not appearing at all on the voters’ roll or names having been transferred to different wards, constituencies or provinces.

Biti said the Sadc guidelines on elections have been lowered and could be a ticket for incumbent leaders across the continent to flout democratic yardsticks in order to hang on to power.

“At the moment it is Zimbabweans who are crying, next year it will be Malawians. This is not a tragedy for the MDC alone but for Africa as a whole,” said Biti.

He blasted the 15-member bloc for giving Zimbabwe the nod to assume the chairmanship of Sadc next year, saying such a move was retrogressive and an indictment on Africa as a whole.

Comments (14)

As fake as their claims to winning the July 31st elections

great Mandizvidza - 6 September 2013

Mr T Biti you are yoyo ko uriku rasika papi. Am better of than you with my 1976 Grade & school certificate. Who did you check with at SADC give us their names and positions and exactly what they said. Watanga zwema-rumours

NANSI LENDODA - 6 September 2013

Mr Tendai Biti who is your source of this information. Please contact Ms Leefa Penehupifo Martin and get your facts right. Stop misleading Zimbabweans asi vanhu ve MDC-Tea makupenga here. What you are saying is truly shocking Mr Learned Lawyer (T Bit). No wonder you can read, understand and interpret the new Constitution. Shocking you ended up filling your court application to the wrong. Umuntu olodaba lwe-maintenance and you file your opposing papers with the Criminal Court. Kikkkk MDC-Tea lawyers. Maybe its ZANU PF that misdirected you.

NANSI LENDODA - 6 September 2013

The whole region has been turned into a region of dictators by Mugabe.All the regional leaders are afraid of him hence they gave him the chairmanship after rigging the elections.Maybe they are going to change SADC guidelines for the holding of free and fair elections to suit what has taken place in Zimbabwe.

chimwango - 6 September 2013

@Nansi- Perhaps this Leefa Martin can clear the air here, does she work at the SADC secretariat and is she also calling Biti a liar? Short of this it becomes both speculative on both sides and it does not help anyone. Everyone is waiting for the SADC report, it need not be as tainted as our election otherwise this makes nonsense of the observer mission..Somebody please help put this matter to rest. Was Member reading from the SADC report or is it something he made up, if the latter what does he hope to gain by doing this?

gutter poet - 6 September 2013

It is imperative and important that we understand the dynamics of African Politics which hinge on comrade ship which stems from our colonial legacy. Liberation movements which are in power will always congregate together as brothers of Old. Botswana stands on its own because it has no liberation history that is noted so it appears to have a divergent view. To understand what is going on in this time you need need to get to the core what up bringing/teaching the the movement Leaders have undergone in the process of time. Kwane Nkrumah stands out tall as the teacher, Julius Nyerere, Robert Mugabe, Kenneth Kaunda etc... the students of Kwame. Kwanes teachings are evident in the successes of these leaders in the immediate post independence period. Julius Nyerere stood the process of time and principle and passed over the baton and managed to keep Chama Chamapinduzi intact and left a legacy by not having diverged from Kwames teachings. Robert Mugabe had post independence successes which are undeniable consistent with Kwames teachings. The process of time and the changing dynamics of politics caused many students of Kwame to diverge from their teachings and depending on what path they followed the current state of the countries they lead is evident today. The African dream is really about achieving African imancipation with civil liberties by first respecting each other as Africans and promoting sustainable development. What is evident in the current dynamics is leaders agreeing with discord to gain comparative advantage over their fellow countries( in trade and business)...zim imports maize from Zambia...it used to be the other way round, question, so whose farming in Zambia.....?

Voice of reason - 6 September 2013

blaaaaaa Sadc, blaaaaa Africa, what standards do they know??

McAaron - 6 September 2013

SADC report inochinjeyi? Whether the report is cooked up or real or whatever, how about your fake court applications and subsequent withdrawals? You blame Membe of manufacturing a fake report but you don't talk about your fake court challenges! muri kutipedzera nguva yedu!

Gatsi Rusere - 6 September 2013

Didnt know kuti Biti imboko zvakadaro. He thinks he can influence mafungiro emaZimbabweans kuve vatengesi saiye na Mogay. To HELL with you Biti and your puppet party. Zvimbwasungata zvevanhu

Rocksolid - 7 September 2013

machinja makamama, nyika takutonga , sadc is at state house yu fooooools. wasting time hamuchina zvekuita. zanu pf has a lot of work to do to emancipate the pple of Zimbabwe mdc stop noise

nhirab1 - 7 September 2013

We have inquired with a number of Sadc countries and the Sadc secretariat who have professed ignorance to the existence of this report,” Biti said. Which SADC States are those? Botswana,Bulawayo and Harare? Biti uri mbiti yemunhu. Wasting our time muchitaure nonsense kunge anhu ari kudhliya harurwa. You failed and your 1 tv is the worst tv station on satelite. Isn't it that yakaerectwe nemaBritish? You booty lickers.

Hlongwane Spinach - 7 September 2013

Ungatitaurire zvekobvunza mastreet kids ekunze woti wave nemafacts. Wakafunde chii iwe? Unoite macomments ekuda kufadze Bronnert kuti mare irambe yechiuye muhomwe yako. Enda wondopiwe kapiece keLondon, Otawa kana Sidney mootenge ikoko.

Hlongwane Spinach - 7 September 2013

Action speaks louder than words. SADC handed the Vice Chair of the body to Mugabe soon after the elections. That was the most eloquent way of endorsing the election. No need for a report when SADC has acted in this manner. Next was UNWTO which handed Mugabe the post of Tourism Chief. How else could the UN endorse the election of Mugabe! A mere report can not nullify this loud action.

Gatsi Rusere - 7 September 2013

Its ridiculous and it demonstrate the degree to which those who support lack of transparency as transparency in the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe can bolden to attack Biti. Why did Mugabe rush the dates before reforms? The answer was to still an election. You can defend with whatever points but the election was stolen by people who have lost everything including ubuntu so they do not have ubukhosi. Two weeks down the line we are threatened by economic woes and you talk in defence of these people, no open up people and learn to call a spade a s spade. Why was the voter's roll released on the eve of the election? To steal the election. Why is ZEC dominated by security personnel? To steal, Why were diasporas not allowed to vote? T steal. Why did those who were to be on duty vote 15 days earlier? To steal. Grow up and stand by the truth. Why the report must be real is to expose those who stole so you can not then call Biti Mboko.

Taneta - 8 September 2013

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