Roman Catholic bishops condemn sham elections held in Zimbabwe
By Garikai Mafirakureva and Simbarashe Mtembo | Masvingo Mirror |
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) has challenged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to audit the August 23, 2023, election to restore public confidence in the country’s poll process.
In a pastoral statement released yesterday, ZCBC-CCJPZ chairman, Right Rev. Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro condemned the electoral process irregularities that saw Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the winner with a 52.6 percent vote as an adulterated fraud.
The Roman Catholic clergy’s Statement added another voice to many others that condemned the election as a sham marred by anomalies.
The Statement reinforces observations by SADC, EU, AU and The Carter Centre that the deceptive process removes the element of fairness in the election and the legitimacy of the declared winner.
In their list of things that led to the scandalous election, ZCBC said in some communities, it noted that material discouraging people from voting was distributed, displays of campaign material on the road leading to polling stations and distribution of campaign regalia to voters within polling stations and inadequate lighting facilities in some polling stations and the disenfranchisement of some voters who failed to find their names on the voter’s roll.
Part of the Statement reads: “In reflection on the above-mentioned challenges, as ZCBC, we encourage ZEC to give an account to the nation about the delays and procurement of voting material and the missing names on the voters’ roll.
“The opening of the polling centres during the night may surely bring to question the preparedness of ZEC for the just-ended election.
“An audit of the whole exercise may give relief to the electorate to whom ZEC is answerable. This may help the nation to be satisfied by our electoral process. As ZCBC, we totally discourage hate speech by some members of political parties.
“Actions that restrain and disrupt other political parties’ gatherings violate the right to association as enshrined in Section 58 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) 2013.
“Let us shun barbaric actions that are contrary to the Christian ethos and national values as stated in the Preamble of our national Constitution. Violent actions paint a negative picture of the whole election process.
“We call for respect from our International Mission Observers and let their objective assessment of the elections help us as a nation to correct ourselves and move on.
“Their input should enrich us and act as the light of Christ showing the nation, where corrections are needed. We therefore advocate for peace and condemn all forms of actions that may disrupt the post-election peaceful environment.
“The ZCBC continuously calls for peace and tolerance during this post-election period for the continued growth of our beloved nation.”
However, the clerics urged aggrieved parties to seek redress through the legal route.