SA opposition demands SADC report on Zimbabwe polls
By Alex Bell
South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has demanded that the full report on Zimbabwe’s elections, compiled by the regional SADC group observer team, be tabled in Parliament.
The DA’s Shadow Minister of International cooperation, Ian Davidson, has made a formal, written request for Parliament to be given access to the observer report for proper scrutiny and debate.
Davidson made the request after regional leaders, including South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, endorsed Zimbabwe’s polls and the re-election of Robert Mugabe as President.
“It is of serious concern that President Zuma, on behalf of the South African government, supported the SADC position taken in Malawi that recognised the election results without the final report having even been made public,” Davidson said in a statement.
He added: “In light of the serious irregularities reported in the elections, by at least 14 SADC observers, the declaration is clearly premature and demonstrates a premeditated determination to ensure that results are accepted despite the elections not being considered or officially declared as ‘fair.”
The DA, along with 14 other observers from across the region, refused to sign off on a report on the polls compiled by the SADC Parliamentary Forum observer mission. The DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Masizole Mnqasela, who was part of the mission, told SW Radio Africa that he and 14 others had rejected the mission’s claim that the elections were ‘free and fair’.
“The DA was asked to sign off on the statement declaring the elections free and fair. I refused as my observations indicate that the credibility and fairness of the elections are questionable due to irregularities with the voters’ roll,” Mnqasela said.
He told SW Radio Africa that he was not alone in raising concerns, saying observers from Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and others were not happy with what they saw during the elections.
“SADC has a tendency to arrive at a conclusion without reaching a consensus that would correctly represent the aspirations of the observer mission on the ground,” Mnqasela said.
The DA’s Davidson said that “by showing support for an election that is considered to have been far from what constitutes a truly free and fair election, President Zuma indicates to South Africa, SADC and the international community that he is willing to support undemocratic practices.”
“It is becoming clear that certain Southern African leaders, including our own President, believe that elections need only be peaceful to be credible. This speaks ill of what our concept of democracy is and sends a message that significant irregularities with elections will be tolerated,” Davidson said. SW Radio Africa