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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • SADC observer mission says elections free and fair
    Nomalanga Moyo, SW Radio Africa
    August 01, 2013

    View this article on the SW Radio Africa website

    A SADC observer mission on Thursday declared Zimbabwe’s elections “peaceful, credible and an efficient electoral process”.

    The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC (ECF-SADC), which describes itself as a peer mission, and of which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is a member, delivered its poll verdict at a press conference organised on its behalf by ZEC.

    The mission’s statement was read out by Nothemba Tjipuejan, who also urged Zimbabweans to accept the results as the elections were held in a peaceful and transparent manner.

    She said: “With regard to the electoral campaign the mission noted with great satisfaction the general calm and peaceful atmosphere throughout the period it observed.

    She added that the environment was conducive to free participation by Zimbabweans: “No incidents of violence, harassment or intimidation were brought to the attention of this mission.”

    Tjipuejan further said that her team was satisfied with the steps being taken by ZEC to, among others, address media access by all political parties and said they had received assurances that most of the concerns raised by all stakeholders would be rectified.

    ESF-SADC joins the Chinese government and the SADC and AU observer teams which have already said that they were happy with the overall electoral process.

    On Wednesday, election observer and Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lin Lin, told the state media that the polls were conducted in a peaceful and credible manner.

    Also on Wednesday the AU observer mission head, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, also said that there was nothing so far to suggest that the elections were neither credible nor free and fair.

    The SADC observer team has also said that its preliminary assessment pointed to a legitimate poll, although they are yet to issue an official statement.

    However, civic groups from the region have condemned the pronouncements by both SADC and the AU, which they say are premature.

    In a statement issued Thursday, The Regional Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum said Obasanjo had declared Zimbabwe elections free and fair, totally disregarding concerns about the electoral climate.

    The body noted: “Concerns raised by opposition parties, in particular those raised by MDC T Secretary Tendai Biti, and the numerous concerns regarding the electoral climate raised in statements issued by Zimbabwean civics and regional solidarity movements, appear to have been completely disregarded.

    “In particular the diabolical manner in which the flawed voters roll has been dealt with, and the varied forms of repression and intimidation that have been well documented and clearly presented, cast the AU statement that the election is free and fair in an extremely dubious light.”

    The body said the lack of meaningful reforms as outlined in the Global Political Agreement meant that the electoral environment was flawed, and not conducive to a legitimate process.

    “We will need to find forms of organisation that cannot be circumvented by the technically flawed and deeply circumspect current systems of voting that cannot any longer be argued to be legitimate representations of the will of the people,” the civic groups said in a statement.

    SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said both SADC and the AU were generally expected to reiterate their earlier statements endorsing the poll.

    “This appears to be part of a bigger plan to endorse and legitimise the election so that the international community can wash its hands of Zimbabwe.

    “Remember the EU has already said it will take SADC and the AU’s word for it, and this is where it is leading to: an all-round endorsement of the poll that will dump the problems into the hands of Zimbabweans,” Muchemwa added.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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