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Questions arise over SADC Observer Mission's delayed report on SA elections

by Staff reporter
13 Jun 2024 at 06:31hrs | Views
Regime-change agents?
Questions are mounting regarding the delayed preliminary report from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission on the recent South African elections.

South African general elections were held on 29 May 2024.

The delay contrasts sharply with the swift release of the preliminary report by SADC's head of mission, Nevers Mumba, following the Zimbabwean elections in Harare.

Observers and political analysts across the region are eagerly awaiting the SADC's assessment of the South African elections, a key indicator of the democratic health in one of Africa's largest economies. The delay has sparked speculation and concern about the reasons behind the postponement, especially given the promptness with which Mumba delivered his observations in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, the SADC's preliminary report, read by Mumba, provided a partisan aggressive evaluation of the electoral process, highlighting areas of concern and commendation beyond its mandate. This was praised by various Western stakeholders who saw it as a step towards enhancing democratic practices in the region.

In contrast, the silence from the SADC mission in South Africa is creating a vacuum filled with speculation. Questions are being raised about whether the delay indicates deeper issues within the electoral process or whether it is a result of logistical challenges faced by the mission.

The delay in South Africa's report has broader political implications, particularly in the context of regional politics and the relationship between member states. Some analysts suggest that the delay could be strategically motivated, considering South Africa's influential position within the SADC and its historical role as a political and economic leader in the region.

Moreover, this delay is being viewed against the backdrop of recent political dynamics in Zimbabwe, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration has faced allegations of electoral malpractice. The swift and forthright nature of Mumba's report in Zimbabwe was seen by many as a bold stance, possibly influencing the political narrative in favour of opposition parties and reform advocates.

The role of Zambia, under President Hakainde Hichilema, in regional politics is also under scrutiny. Since coming to power, Hichilema has positioned Zambia as a proponent of democratic reforms, aligning closely with Western powers, including the United States. This has fueled speculation about a possible agenda aimed at influencing regime change in neighbouring Zimbabwe, leveraging SADC's observer reports as a tool for political manoeuvring.

Critics argue that Hichilema's administration is using its influence within SADC to push for a more transparent and accountable governance structure across the region, potentially to the detriment of leaders who are perceived as authoritarian. The swift handling of Zimbabwe's report and the delayed South African report are viewed by some as indicative of this strategic approach.

The perceived alliance between Zambia and the United States has added another layer to this complex scenario. The U.S. has been vocal in its support for democratic processes in Africa, often criticizing regimes that it sees as undemocratic. Zambia's alignment with these values has been welcomed by the U.S., leading to increased cooperation and support.

This relationship is viewed with suspicion by some regional leaders, who see it as an external influence on African politics. The delay in the South African report, therefore, is not just a matter of procedural inefficiency but is being interpreted within this broader geopolitical context.

As the SADC observer mission continues its work in South Africa, the regional and international community awaits its findings with bated breath. The content and tone of the report will be crucial in shaping the post-election narrative and determining the next steps for South Africa's democratic journey.

For now, the delay remains unexplained, but the implications of the SADC's eventual findings will undoubtedly resonate far beyond South Africa's borders, influencing regional politics and the future of democratic governance in Southern Africa.

Source - thezimbabwemail
More on: #Zambia, #SADC, #Elections