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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
SADC’s final stamp - A lowering electoral standards
Rights NGO Forum
lowering of electoral standards by the regional bloc saw Zimbabwe
getting a seal of approval
from the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s election
observer mission (SEOM) on September 2, 2013 following a verdict
that the Zimbabwe
harmonized election was ‘generally credible’.
Fairness as an electoral standard apparently fell away to accommodate
‘generally credible’ as a yardstick for the harmonized
elections that Zimbabwe held with the SEOM report ending on a congratulatory
congratulates ZEC and the people of Zimbabwe for holding a free,
peaceful and generally credible harmonized elections of July 2013
in which the will of the people was expressed.”
Tanzanian Foreign Minister, Bernard Membe, who was Head of Delegation
of SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) representing Tanzanian
President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, summed up the verdict on the Zimbabwean
election was generally credible. On the question of fairness, it
is difficult to say it was fair.”
Addressing at a press briefing which was attended by the outgoing
Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengwegwi, Zimbabwe Election
Commission (ZEC) Chairperson Rita Makarau, some member’s civil
society and the press Membe conceded that, “the credibility
of the election process” has been met with negative evaluations.
But maintained that the verdict on Zimbabwe took cognizance of the
fact that “there were so many other elements that when put
together elevated the election to a credible status” particularly
when measured against the 2008 elections.
Analysts expressed concern over this emphasis on comparing and contrasting
the 31 July harmonized poll to the 2008
elections saying an election should be measured against SADC
standards governing elections and not measured against the elections
in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson Thabani Nyoni said
SADC had lowered standards and the development warranted that Zimbabwe
and SADC citizens unite in calling for genuine democracy.
final report on elections in Zimbabwe is a clear message to the
citizens of Zimbabwe and SADC that our leaders are not interested
in the full expression of the will of the people through free, fair
and credible elections.
of the observer team confirms that the region is sliding towards
democratic regression rather than democratic progress,” Nyoni
Tawanda Chimhini, the director of Election
Resource Centre (ERC), said electoral standards in Zimbabwe
had been lowered, “unfortunately not by Zimbabweans but by
the region itself” adding that it, “is a tragedy not
only for Zimbabwe.” But the entire region considering that
seven SADC countries are holding elections by 2014.
that the regional body has not fully explored the absence of fairness
in this poll but are still prepared to accept it, suggests that
standards for elections in Zimbabwe have been lowered.
remained faithful to the established SADC
Principles and Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Democratic Elections
in making their assessment of the harmonized elections, the regional
body could have found it difficult to accept the July 31 2013 polls
as credible, let alone being a reflection of the will of Zimbabweans,”
Minister Membe at the press Briefing only presented a Summary statement,
saying the full report could not be made available because of logistical
problems related to the inauguration of a new SADC Executive Secretary,
Tanzanian woman, Stergomena Tax, on September 1, 2013. Membe promised
that the secretariat would be in Zimbabwe soon with the report to
distribute it to stakeholders.
the same issue, the outgoing Minister for Education, David Coltart
says Zimbabwe's elections failed miserably to meet the three key
guidelines set out in the SADC Guidelines on Elections, namely:
- 2.1.5 Equal
opportunity for all political parties to access the state media;
- 2.1.6 Equal
opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for;
- 2.1.7 Independence
of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions;
is given to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and David Coltart for the
views in this article.
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