14 Aug 2013 09:40
GOBABIS, 14 AUG (NAMPA) - The recent Zimbabwe harmonised elections, in which over six million voters were expected to cast their votes, continues to attract criticism at the same rate as it has earned commendation from various continental and global entities.
The Namibia Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (NANGOF) Trust has joined the fray of those who have questioned the credibility of the results of the 31 July elections in the southern African country, which extended President Robert Mugabes 33-year rule at the helm.
The NANGOF Trust formed part of the civil society observation teams under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community Council of NGOs (SADC-CNGOs), and the SADC Election Support Network (SADC-ESN).
Jackson Mwalundange from the NANGOF Trust Secretariat, Irene Laberloth (Forum for the Future) and Pauline Dempers (Breaking the Wall of Silence Movement) represented the mission in Harare.
In a media statement issued on Monday, the NANGOF Trust said it was concerned about the increase in flawed and sub-standard general elections in southern Africa.
It noted that SADC citizens deserve elections which protect, promote and guarantee their democratic right to choose their leaders in free, fair and credible elections.
Pointing to several issues that the Trust said raised more questions than answers during the Zimbabwean elections, NANGOF stated that southern Africa has become accustomed to questionable electoral processes which fail to instil confidence, and do not reflect the democratic aspirations of the regions citizens.
The Trust took issue with the voters roll, which it said was only made available at the eleventh hour, raising concerns over its legitimacy.
The voters roll was not made available until very late. On 28 July, the African Union Observer Mission demanded that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) avails the voters roll. On 30 July, stakeholders claimed that they had not yet seen the voters roll, the media statement continued.
According to the Trust, a number of observer missions, including those of the African Union (AU), SADC and the SADC Electoral Commissions Forum (SADC-ESF) noted serious problems with the registration of voters, the availability of the voters register, the special votes for security personnel and State media bias.
However, in their conclusions on the Zimbabwean polling, these observer missions apparently ignored these fundamental issues, and were quick to claim the elections were free and peaceful (if not fair), reads the media statement.
It is not clear to us why the AU and SADC missions did not come to a conclusion about the fairness and credibility of the Zimbabwean elections on the basis of these principles and the charter. It does appear that they chose to ignore their own electoral standards, as enshrined in these documents, the Trust added.
Outgoing Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party suffered its heaviest defeat to the ruling Zimbabwe Africa National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), has taken to Zimbabwean courts to have the election results nullified.