Sadc report not genuine: MDC-T

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MDC-T yesterday said the Sadc Election Observer Mission (Seom) report on the July 31 national elections presented last week was not genuine as some members of the regional body have professed ignorance over the post mortem document.

Nduduzo Tshuma, Staff Reporter

The party said the report was not comprehensive, inaccurate and had dismally failed to address fundamental issues that were critical in determining the freeness, fairness and credibility of elections.

“The recently-released summary of the report is not a Sadc report, but one emanating from the Tanzanian Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Membe, which the full Sadc Observer Mission has not endorsed,” MDC-T said in a statement.

“We have inquired with a number of Sadc countries and the Sadc secretariat, who have professed ignorance on the existence of this report.

“Further, Membe makes reference to a full report of Sadc, which he was summarising from. However, this full report is still to be produced.”

MDC-T said the report was supposed to make reference to the Sadc guidelines governing the conduct of democratic elections, which are supposed to act as the basis for judging the freeness, fairness and credibility of the election.

“Regrettably, the Seom report is silent on the guidelines governing the conduct of democratic elections,” the party continued.
“Its conclusion, therefore, that the Zimbabwe election satisfied Sadc guidelines defies simple logic.”

MDC-T said the report was self-contradictory, inconsistent and incoherent, as it raised issues that rendered the election unfair and not credible and at the same time concluded and elevated the poll to a credible one.

MDC-T said the report stated that the timely provision of a voters’ roll went to the heart of fairness in an election process and if it was not made available on time, the fairness of the election was brought into question.

“Having made this point, the observer mission also notes that the voters’ roll was not made available on time and yet still makes the conclusion that the election was free, peaceful and credible,” the party said.

MDC-T said it had indicated that the failure by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to provide a copy of the roll, as required by the law, was a calculated ploy to mask irregularities deliberately orchestrated by the Registrar-General, Nikuv and the military intelligence.

“For Sadc to conclude that an election in which other parties had no access to the voters’ roll is baffling,” the party said.

“The report fails to acknowledge the unprecedented number of assisted voters who were clearly intimidated into faking illiteracy so they could be assisted. “

MDC-T said the report was conspicuously silent on the more than 300 000 potential voters that were disenfranchised due to tampering with the roll, resulting in either voters’ names not appearing on the register or names transferred to different wards, constituencies or provinces.

“The report fails to acknowledge the plethora of irregularities in the special vote process and its implications on the outcome of the July 31 election. It is fact that no one knows how many people voted during the ‘three’ days of special voting,” the party said.

MDC-T said the report failed to acknowledge that the so-called pirate radio stations were indicative of an environment in which media space is closed.

“The report sets a very petrifying precedent for Sadc, if this is the quality of observation that is satisfactory for the region,” the party continued.

“The fundamental question is why an election that deviates from these principles would be declared free and credible.
“What is the point of having guidelines when they are not adhered to?”

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