from SAVIOUS KWINIKA & MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – SOUTH Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have endorsed preparations for Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections despite vote rigging concerns by the opposition.
The endorsement comes in the wake of SADC’s 15 ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe meeting the country’s acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, to share their observations leading to the July 30 elections.
Envoys welcomed the pre-election environment saying it would pave way for peaceful, free, fair and credible polls. This is in contrast to previous polls marred by violence, intimidation and partisanship by electoral authorities.
Mphakama Mbete, the South African High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, said the meeting with Moyo was “transparent and open.”
“There was nothing which was hidden and the minister was clear that if we observe anything that we think needs attention, the door of the Government is open,” Mbete said.
“In the event of the new dispensation that started at the end of last year, it became very important for the leadership of the country under President Mnangagwa to have proper, free, fair credible and transparent elections which will then lead to a normal Government that will be elected
for the next five years with a full mandate of the people of Zimbabwe to govern this country,” Mbete said.
South Africa is the current chair of the SADC grouping. Namibia holds the deputy position.
Balbina Daes Pienaar, Namibian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, said the envoys embraced peaceful campaigns by the over 100 registered political parties for the harmonised poll.
“There is no violence so far, and we are really happy that the run-up to the elections is quite encouraging,” Pienaar said.
“We believe that the elections will be free, fair and credible. We are committed to producing free, fair and credible elections.”
The SADC observer mission is to be deployed nationwide on Wednesday.
Pedro Hendrik Vaal Neto, Angolan Ambassador to Zimbabwe, lauded the political parties for embracing peace.
Angola chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
“We have been observing how the process is going and we are pleased to see that all participants are interested in keeping the process totally peaceful and the commitment of the Government and institutions to have free and fair elections,” Neto said.
SADC’s endorsement quashes allegations that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) would rig the vote.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a rival of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), has raised the claim.
Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe Minister of Home Affairs, said ZANU–PF would accept the outcome, even if it lost.
“The President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has opened this election to the world and it is the world that is going to observe and see how committed we are to this process,” Mpofu added.
– CAJ News