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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Testimony given before The US House of Rep's Subcommittee on Africa,
Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations
Lawenika, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
September 12, 2013
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Mr. Chairman, allow me to start by passing my profound
thanks to you and the committee for presenting me and the Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition an opportunity to testify in front of this
committee. I would also like to request that my statement in its
entirety be submitted for the record.
My name is McDonald Lewanika, the Executive Director
of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, one of Zimbabwe’s leading
networks on Governance and Democracy issues, with a membership of
over 80 organizations. I am resident in Zimbabwe, and my job entails
that I stay in constant contact with key political actors in the
country, members of civil society and ordinary citizens of our republic.
In addition, I am obligated to engage on a very regular basis with
the press, both for purposes of making comment on and forwarding
our understanding of political developments as well as exchanging
notes as part of the same civil society.
my testimony will touch on various issues that stem from the disputed
July 31 Harmonized Elections, moving on to key actors and developments
since then that we believe have an impact on Zimbabwe’s transition.
It will end with a set of recommendations to the United States that
we believe are of importance to highlight in post election Zimbabwe.
The results of the Elections of July 31 2013 were
met with a lot of consternation by the generality of citizens, who
up to this point do not believe that they were reflective of their
will. Moreover ample evidence both anecdotal and empirical exists
that shows that the election result was contrived in favor of Zanu-PF.
This contrived result, which the SADC region and national institutions
have gone on to give force to has the unfortunate effect of perpetuating
the crisis in Zimbabwe, where legitimate government is concerned,
and dims the hopes of Economic recovery, the respect of human and
people’s rights as well as blighting prospects for democratic
the African Union and their verdict on Zimbabwe’s Elections
The African Union (AU) and SADC, as guarantors of the GPA
were an integral part of the election observation in Zimbabwe. Both
institutions endorsed the elections, but were non-committal with
regards to the fairness of the process. The AU was very emphatic
in highlighting the irregularities in the election processes limiting
the elections from complying with the electoral guidelines and principles
of the two institutions. This further exposed the institutional
weaknesses in applying set standards in member states.
At its meeting held in Malawi on 17 and 18 August
2013, SADC endorsed the Zimbabwe elections and also conferred the
vice chairpersonship of the regional bloc on President Mugabe. This
was a strong political statement by SADC on Zimbabwe’s election
and also reflected a possible weakening in the strengthening of
electoral democracy in the region. As President Mugabe begins another
five-year term, SADC and AU have exhibited weaknesses likely to
affect their influence on democratization processes in post-election
Zimbabwe and other regional and continental countries.
On 2 September 2013, the chair of the SADC Election Observer Mission
(SEOM) Tanzania’s Foreign Minister, Mr Bernard Membe, presented
of the final report on behalf of the mission which reproduced SADC’s
earlier endorsement of the general election. In our view, the final
report was a mere formality given that the SADC leaders had already
the election at the summit held in Malawi on 17 and 18 August 2013.
In our respectful view the final report was a technicality meant
to legitimize the already taken political decision. The above has
led us to challenge the report by weighing its findings against
our assessment of how the harmonized elections were conducted in
Zimbabwe using the same SADC
Principles and Guidelines. From our assessment it is difficult
to accept the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM) report as acceptable
and as credible.
Mr. Chairman, In respect of the 15 guidelines and
standards assessed, there was virtually no compliance with regards
to 8 (53.3%) and only partial compliance in line with 6 (40%). Only
1 (6.7%) principle was fully complied with which relates to the
holding of elections at regular intervals. One of the most important
guidelines regarding the existence of an updated and accessible
voters’ roll was not complied with at all.
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