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Mumba handed CCC the Sadc Electoral Observation Mission report?

by Staff reporter
10 Sep 2023 at 08:55hrs | Views
BY covertly handing over the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) report to CCC, as confirmed by the opposition party's fugitive spokesperson, Mr Promise Mkwananzi, the SEOM head of mission, Dr Nevers Mumba, has flouted the bloc's guidelines on elections and ethics of observers, which require the teams to be impartial, Government has said.

In an interview with a local weekly last week, Mr Mkwananzi confirmed that CCC had seen the SEOM's final report, which spotlights Dr Mumba's role in the high-stakes game to besmirch Zimbabwe's August 23-24 elections.

In the lead-up to the recent elections, concerns were raised on the conduct of Dr Mumba, as he seemingly aligned with CCC and even went to the extent of accompanying Mr Chamisa — one of the 11 presidential candidates — to cast his vote in Kuwadzana, Harare.

He also attended Mr Chamisa's press conference later that day.

Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Communications) Mr George Charamba said if what Mr Mkwananzi is saying is true, it represents an unprecedented breach of SADC principles and guidelines on elections.

"If what CCC has indicated is true, namely, that the final report has been shared with a political player in Zimbabwe, ahead of presentation to the chairman of the (SADC) organ (on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation), who is Zambian president, and ahead of its adoption by the Presidents of the Troika (Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania) — those who are supposed to sign it — and also ahead of a signed copy of the report being given to the Zimbabwean Government; if this is what has happened, it is a breach of the SADC code of conduct in relation to election observation. If there is evidence, we will take it up with SADC," he said.

Diplomatic sources indicate that

beyond the scarcely concealed bias towards CCC, Zambia was also closely following the country's election to the extent of getting regular updates from the opposition, before, during and after the elections.

It is also believed that, apart from dispatching Dr Mumba on a mission to "deliver a free and fair election for Zimbabwe", Zambian officials were still making frantic efforts to convince the region to convene an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe.

Further, the sources said, the Zambian government, in direct contravention of the impartiality demanded of it, called some Heads of State in the region to prematurely and misleadingly announce that Mr Chamisa had won the elections by 51 percent of the vote, with President Mnangagwa managing 47 percent.

However, it turned out that President Mnangagwa actually garnered 52,6 percent of the vote, with Mr Chamisa getting 44 percent.

This misdirected offensive by Zambian officials reportedly prompted Tanzania to try and send its former President Jakaya Kikwete, as an elderly statesman, to help manage an anticipated volatile situation in Zimbabwe.

However, before Mr Kikwete could fly to Zimbabwe, several SADC governments that had been contacted by Lusaka phoned the Zimbabwean Government seeking confirmation of developments in Harare.

"Tanzania thought there would be chaos in Zimbabwe. That is why they wanted to send former President Kikwete, but after they had been told the truth, they then decided to abort that mission," a source said.

The plot, which ultimately was designed to dent Zanu-PF and President Mnangagwa's legitimacy, reportedly involved some members of the SADC secretariat, including officials from the Zambian government.

Before the elections, Western governments, especially the European Union (EU), even went to the extent of extending close to US$3 million to ensure CCC fielded polling agents across the country.

The money, however, disappeared.

Eyebrows were also raised when Dr Mumba's preliminary report was almost similarly worded as the EU and US government-sponsored Carter Centre reports.

But the report is widely expected to be rejected by the region.

Sources added that one of the SADC secretariat members who had been allegedly compromised was Mr Elijah Munyuki, a Zimbabwean who had been seconded to the secretariat by the EU.

"He is a CCC member who is bitterly against the Zanu-PF Government because of issues related to his late father, who died soon after he had been appointed to a high post in Government. This is the man who co-authored the preliminary and final report; this explains why there was close liaison between Nevers Mumba and the EU delegation," said the source.

SADC guidelines

According to the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, the Head of Mission (HoM) issues the preliminary statement at a press conference within 48 hours of closing the polls.

Whenever possible, the presentation is also made at the same platform as other international observer missions present in the country.

The preliminary statement reintroduces the SEOM to the public, and it provides details of its mandate, methodology and activities since its launch.

It also provides the preliminary findings from its consultations with electoral stakeholders. Based on findings and observations, the statement presents recommendations.

The preliminary nature of this statement derives from the fact that when it is issued, the electoral process is still ongoing.

It often comes when the tabulation has not been concluded and when the results are yet to be announced.

In the case of electoral processes with two rounds of polls, particularly in the case of the presidential race, the preliminary statement is issued only after the second round.

At the end of the first round, the SEOM issues a pronouncement, which presents findings on the first round, but does not include recommendations or conclusions.

The drafting team — guided by the HoM, the Organ Troika and SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) — compiles the preliminary statement with input from the long-term observers' core team.

The mission leadership delivers the final report to the member state and electoral authorities 30 days after completion of the process, including complaints and appeals.

The SEOM final report presents the mission's overall assessment of the election.

It is normally issued within one month of completion of the electoral process.

The report plays a highly important political and technical function in providing a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process.

The final report details the SEOM's overall findings and conclusions on all aspects of the electoral process.

A key feature of the final report are the detailed and constructive recommendations it offers to improve the framework and conduct of future elections and strengthen democratic institutions in member states.

The final report is usually prepared during the closing period of the mission, and, where possible, a first draft should be prepared before departure of the leadership team.

The final version is produced in the mission's working language and translated into official languages of the SADC to make it as broadly available as possible.

The final SEOM report is adopted by the SEAC and the Organ Troika before its submission to the member state and the election management body (EMB) of that member state.

The member state is given an opportunity to study the report and its recommendations.

It will either accept the recommendations, if they are progressive and consistent with the constitution and laws of the country, or reject them.

Zimbabwe usually studies these recommendations through a ministerial committee.

The country invited a number of observer missions for this year's elections and so it will be expecting reports from them.

After the SEOM report has been compiled, it will be submitted to the ordinary session of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ, where ministers will debate on the report and make recommendations to the summit.

This Ministerial Committee of the Organ is usually held in June/July annually.

After completion of a SEOM, and in accordance with Section 7.3 of the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2021), the SEAC — at the invitation of the member state concerned, and in full agreement — can undertake post-election reviews and follow-up missions to encourage implementation of recommendations issued by the SEOM.

Source - The Sunday Mail