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ED will always know SADC knows ZANU PF cheated!

29 Aug 2023 at 22:32hrs | Views
So, the much-anticipated results of the recently-held Zimbabwe presidential elections are officially out!

ZANU PF's Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was announced winner over his main rival, CCC's Nelson Chamisa – with 52.7 and 44 percent, respectively.

Not a very convincing win, for someone who bragged about 'developing and uplifting the livelihoods of Zimbabweans' – when in actual fact, the ordinary citizenry are worse off and poorer today than they were five years ago.

Nevertheless, something else also came out!

These were the preliminary reports by the various regional, continental and international election observer missions stationed in Zimbabwe for the plebiscite.

All of them practically (openly or in the tone of their statements) characterized the elections as woefully falling short of our own local laws (the Constitution and Electoral Act), as well as various regional, continental and international guidelines governing democratic elections.

Barely two days ago, SADC, AU-COMESA, the Commonwealth, as well as EU and Carter Centre all issued damning findings on the conduct of elections by Zimbabwe.

What was more interesting about these scathing preliminary findings is that, even organizations (such as SADC, AU and COMESA) which had traditionally opted to side with the ZANU PF government in all its savage attacks on democracy in the past – thereby, turning a blind eye to all manner of brutal oppression and brazen subversion of the people's will – this time round bravery stood with the subjugated.

This was a most refreshing transformation.

They came out with several unflattering observations of the 23rd and 24th August harmonized elections.

To begin with, ZEC failed to avail the electronic and auditable copy of the voters roll to contesting parties, especially the main opposition CCC – an act contradicting the country's laws, particularly Section 21 (6) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13].

In so doing, it became nearly impossible to verify the authenticity of those in the voters roll – more so, with accusations of voters either missing from the roll, or moved from one constituency to another without their consent, or an individual registered multiple times, or unbelievably high numbers of people registered at a single residential address.

These observer missions proceeded to question ZEC's controversial delimitation report, which was said not to be consistent with the Constitution – thereby, rendering the parliamentary vote unequal.

In some urban constituencies known as CCC strongholds, rural areas were curiously incorporated (which are predominantly ZANU PF support bases) – in a clear attempt at diluting and even neutralizing the opposition.

This was also the case in my own small town of Redcliff – where the opposition had been dominating since the year 2000.

Nonetheless, in the recent elections, the parliamentary seat reverted to ZANU PF, whilst urban local council wards remained in CCC hands – mainly due to this skewed delimitation, which bordered on blatant gerrymandering.

The so-called 'Patriotic Act' (Criminal Codification Amendment Act) also came under scrutiny – which is against the spirit of the Zimbabwe Constitution, as it restricted the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

This law criminalizes supposed acts that 'harm the country's national interests' – which can mean anything, including criticism of the government and its leaders – considering the vagueness of this legislation.

Therefore, as the law was only enacted a few months ago, most Zimbabweans are still unnerved by its provisions to imprison (for up to ten years) all those found to have done anything perceived to 'harm the country's national interests'.

This can impact negatively on an election, since ZANU PF used the existence of this new legislation as a weapon to instil dread in ordinary Zimbabweans to the effect that, standing or speaking against the ruling establishment was an act of unpatriotism, which is punishable by law.

The intimidation of voters – most especially at the hands of the shadowy ZANU PF affiliate FAZ (Forever Associates of Zimbabwe) – similarly came under condemnation.

In rural areas, FAZ has been fingered in countless acts of intimidation – whilst on elections day itself, they set up tables near polling stations where they forced villagers to provide their names and identity card numbers.

This worked to instil terror in rural folk – who had previously been told that the government and ZANU PF possessed mechanisms for detecting for which party each individual had voted – resulting in unspecified consequences.

To make matters worse, these villagers were frog-marched to polling stations by their traditional leaders – who marked village registers to make sure that every one was present – who were then forcibly 'assisted' in voting.

This was a well-calculated devious way of ensuring that these hapless rural folk 'voted' for ZANU PF.

Yet, the secrecy of one's vote is the backbone of any free, fair and credible election.

Another sinister plot was the issuing of ballot papers with political party names displaying another party's symbol – all meant to confuse voters.

Then, there was the very embarrassing delay (by up to twelve or more hours) in delivering ballot papers to numerous polling stations,  which constituted 38 percent – primarily in urban centres (known as opposition strongholds).

This, the election observers noted, created doubt on the credibility of the election, as well as significantly reducing the turnout, after voting had been extended to 24th August.

Not to be left out was the overtly and unashamedly biased coverage by State-owned media – notably, ZBC, The Herald and Sunday Mail – which provided unfair and lopsided favouritism to the ruling party – in violation of the Constitution (Sections 61 and 155), which demands equal, balanced and impartial reportage.

In other words, the recent plebiscite in Zimbabwe was a huge sham and scandal – which did not meet the basic tenets of free, fair and credible elections!

This is a fact made abundantly, unreservedly and unequivocally clear by the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM), through its chair Nevers Mumba.

In spite of panicked desperate attempts (which bordered on the absurd and embarrassing) by both ZANU PF and the Zimbabwe government to deny these glaring facts – even resorting to personal attacks on Mumba – the SADC Secretariat boldly came out, in a press statement on 26th August, defending its team.

They made it abundantly clear that the contents of the SEOM preliminary report were not a product of only one man – but the entire team, comprised of nationals from Angola, Botswana, ESwatini, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Furthermore, the findings had been adopted after consultations with Member States of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, supported by advice from the SADC Election Advisory Council (SEAC)  – and with the support of the SADC Secretariat.

In so doing, as much as Mnangagwa was eventually announced the presidential election winner – our brothers and sisters in the region are fully aware, and are in agreement, that ZANU PF cheated its way into retaining the highest office in the land.

Mnangagwa can hold on to power, but now lacks legitimacy in the eyes of his own brethren!

I can safely say, SADC and the AU have finally matured – since both bodies were initially established (as the Frontline States and OAU,  respectively) to stand with the oppressed and marginalized people of the continent.

It is no longer just the West that Mnangagwa now has to contend with – which he has managed to fend off by labelling 'racist imperialists bent on regime change'.

There is no other way of putting it!

It is, therefore, left to the losing candidate, Chamisa and his CCC, to decide what to do next.

Nevertheless, it is pointless for a 'winner' in a race to be awarded legitimacy, when he had his main rival tied up and shackled!

I strongly feel that the CCC should take fully advantage of the rare show of support for the ordinary people of Zimbabwe by the usually pro-regime SADC and AU, as well as COMESA, and the Commonwealth.

Their frank adverse reports can be strong testimonies in any court case challenging the outcome of this election – as its credibility is not merely adjudged on ballot counts only, but also the political, legal and electoral environment as a whole.

All these adverse preliminary reports are on the side of the people of Zimbabwe, as such we can not simply ignore, fold our arms and move on.

These organizations tried to stand with us this time around – something we have always clamoured for – and we need to appreciate this by grabbing onto that lifeline.

SADC, AU, COMESA and the Commonwealth have played their part, now it is up to us as the cheated people of Zimbabwe to play ours.

We can not blame them tomorrow for not standing with us if we do not do step up to the plate to fulfil our own responsibility and role

It does not matter how we perceive our judiciary – but let our grievances be heard and recorded.

'We was robbed', as those oppressed in the US would have said!

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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