SADC to Discuss Outcome of Zimbabwe’s Disputed Elections
A meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) may be called to address concerns around Zimbabwe’s recent national elections. In an interview, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa could potentially face his regional counterparts to discuss the polls.
Ramaphosa’s comments come as opposition leader Nelson Chamisa continues pushing for SADC and the African Union to investigate allegations of electoral issues while demanding fresh polls. International observers found that multiple problems impacted the credibility of the elections, including the late delivery of ballots and delayed publication of the voters roll.
The Sadc electoral observer mission (SEOM) issued a damning report on the August 23 to 24 elections saying they did not meet the requirements of the country’s Constitution and the region’s principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
Ramaphosa stated that SADC will evaluate the mission’s full report and potentially invite representatives from Zimbabwe to respond.
“If one looks at the report, it actually says there were challenges, challenges with regards to a number of things that have got to do with the election, and many countries throughout the world have such challenges with regards to a number of things that have to do with the election,” he said.
“The 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.
“So once the report is put at Sadc, we will then debate it and we will also hear representatives from Zimbabwe as well as the Sadc observer mission.”
He acknowledged comments from observers detailing specific issues are important to address. The South African president stressed the need for transparency on all details in order to properly handle the matter.
“Well, 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.
“So, we are waiting to receive that report at Sadc level so that we can deal with it. It (preliminary) was an interim report.”
Analysts offered mixed views on outcomes if a summit is held. Some said it could soften Chamisa’s demands for a re-run given SADC’s focus on regional stability. Others noted the embarrassment for Zimbabwe in having to explain electoral management problems. The divisions also show within SADC on its response so far.