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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • More observer teams slam 'unfair' Zim elections
    Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa

    August 15, 2013

    More observer teams from Zimbabwe's elections last month have moved to refute claims that the process was free, fair and credible, slamming the serious problems and post-election incidents of harassment witnessed across the country.

    Observer missions have been releasing preliminary reports on the polls, which saw Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party score a 'landslide' victory. That electoral win is now being challenged in court, amid mounting evidence that the process was seriously manipulated in Mugabe's favour.

    While regional leaders have been quick to endorse the polls, a growing number of observer missions have insisted that the process cannot be deemed to be credible.

    The latest groups include a Diaspora Observer Mission, comprised of the South Africa based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, the UK based Council of Zimbabwe Christian Leaders and the Global Zimbabwe Forum.

    The mission said in its report that "although the election was peaceful it failed the test of a credible free and fair election."

    "The conduct of the elections fell short of the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections and the African Charter on democracy, elections and governance. The observer team cautions that the holding of a free and peaceful election should not automatically amount to a credible free and fair assessment," the report said.

    One of the observer mission members, who spoke to SW Radio Africa on condition of anonymity, said she witnessed many "anomalies that show the election cannot be called fair."

    "I observed in Matabeleland, in the Midlands and in Harare and what I saw, particularly in the rural areas, was honestly pathetic. Almost every person was assisted, people were threatened if they refused assistance," the observer said.

    She added that the regional SADC bloc needs to be pressured to deal with the situation, saying: "Things in Zimbabwe are going from bad to worse."

    At the same time, the regional SADC Lawyers Association has also said that the elections were not credible. Their report said that the polls were "characterised by massive anomalies both in terms of the legal framework and in terms of non-adherence by state actors and the electoral management body to the spirit and letter of the electoral laws and the Constitution."

    The Lawyers Association concluded that the elections "could not be deemed to have been free, fair and credible."

    This was echoed by the Namibia Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (NANGOF) Trust which this week also questioned the credibility of the election results. NANGOF Trust, the umbrella body for civil society organisations in Namibia, said in a statement it was concerned about the "increase in flawed and sub-standard general elections in southern Africa."

    "SADC citizens deserve elections that protect, promote and guarantee their democratic right to choose their leaders in free, fair and credible elections," the statement said.

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

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