Zimbabwean Electoral Process: A test for SADC and AU
As at the time I gathered mythoughts to refl ect on theZimbabwean question followingthe recent election and writethis piece, Robert Gabriel Mugabe’sZANU PF was allegedly destinedfor a landslide victory with fears/worries/concerns that it may win atwo thirds majority in parliament toenable it to amend the Constitution.ZANU PF not only made majorinroads into traditional Morgan Tsvangirai’sMDC strongholds, it wona signifi cant number of constituencies.Against many predictions for aclose call on presidential electionsbetween Tsvangirai and Mugabewith Welshman Ncube being the tiebreaker, it was unlikely that therewill be a need for a run off.MDC T has already declared theelections null and void, calling thema sham and a huge farce.
The complaintsvary from the rushed andfl awed voter registration process,to last minute release of the voters’roll, to the exclusion of about ‘almost40% of voters’ on polling dayitself. The voters’ roll was providedpursuant to a court order issued byJustice Joseph Mafusire on Tuesdaynight, a day before the elections,ordering Zimbabwean ElectoralCommission to provide MDC T’sparty with hard copies by 12 noonon Wednesday, the day of the elections.On Election Day constituencies’voters’ rolls had their namesswapped. ZEC printed more ballotpapers in excess that it is permissibleby international best practices.Whilst the African Union raisedserious concerns in its preliminarystatement relating to voters’ roll itconsidered the elections ‘orderlyand peaceful’ and Obasanjo, itshead of delegation said he had neverseen elections so perfect.
The SouthAfrican Development Community(SADC) remained non committalon its position. It is probable boththese oraginsations may fi nd littleground, if any, to challenge theelections. Mugabe himself has said‘if SADC does stupid things’ theywill pull out. SADC will be veryreluctant to do any ‘stupid things’.SADC report said elections wereconducted in a free and peaceful environmentand urged parties to acceptthe result either through negationsor challenging them in court.For a country that rarely fi nds closureat the bottom of a ballot box, itmay well be time to engage in othernecessary and morally permissiblemeans to begin the control of thenarrative of a really true story ofwhat just happened to Zimbabwe’sdemocracy.
The challenge is not forthe MDC T or Morgan Tsvangirai.SADC and AU bear that responsibility.With early indications beingthat neither SADC nor AU will stepup to the plate, it is for the Zimbabweanscollectively, includingthose in the diaspora and economicrefugees to redefi ne the destiny oftheir country. In Robert Mugabethey will meet an equal formidableand strong narrative. For this reasonif no other, they must be unwaveringin their quest.Clearly SADC and AU havewashed their hands. It may eitherbe that they are tired with the Zimbabweanquestion or that they simplylack the tact and sophistry tounravel it or both. For SADC theywill not want to fall into Mugabe’strap by doing ‘stupid things’. Forewarnedis forearmed.