Sadc report didn’t declare Zim elections invalid: Ramaphosa

Senior Political Writer

Adverse findings of observer missions to the recent elections in Zimbabwe do not invalidate the result but merely raise points that should be dealt with, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has said.

Ramaphosa told the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation that challenges which Zimbabwe faced during the last election – which led to some observer missions criticising the process and the outcome – were not unique.

Further, pointed out Ramaphosa, the interim Sadc Election Observer Mission report which uncharacteristically criticised Zimbabwe and has been used as a cat’s paw by the country’s detractors, did not declare the elections as “invalid, unfree and unfair”.

“If one looks at that report,” the South African leader said referencing the Sadc preliminary report , “it actually says there were challenges with regards to a number of things that have got to do with the election.”

“Many countries throughout the world have such challenges; the United States is a prime example with regard to the last election.

“They (observers) have said in the report, as I read it, that certain things need to be improved. They have not declared the election as invalid, unfree, and unfair; they have highlighted certain challenges,” he said.

Sadc’s preliminary report raised a number of issues concerning the election, some of which were protested strongly by Zimbabwe as falling outside the mandate of the observer mission.

Harare also criticised what appeared to be the partial attitude of the observer mission, led by Zambian Nevers Mumba, an issue that has threatened diplomatic furore between Zimbabwe and its northern neighbour.

But, according to Ramaphosa, allegations in the preliminary findings needed to be tested and backed up.

“Where there is lack of transparency, they (observers) need to come up with the details and I would say, yes, let the details be put forward so that we can deal with them,” Ramaphosa said.

Continuing: “So, we are waiting to receive that report at the SADC level so that we can deal with it because if anything, it was an interim report. So, once the report is put to the SADC body, we will then debate it and we will also hear representations from Zimbabwe as well as the SADC observer mission.”

The South African leader’s sentiments will likely throw cold water on calls for fresh elections made on the basis of shortcomings jighted by Sadc and other observer missions.

Ramaphosa attended the inauguration of President Mnangagwa a fortnight ago following the Zimbabwe leader’s victory over closest challenger Nelson Chamisa by 52.6 percent to 44 percent.

Ramaphosa’s strident defence of Zimbabwe is likely to weather international pressure on the country.

The observer mission report is only presented to Sadc next June.

Leave a Reply