Zim election fracas: SADC issues strong statement after Zanu PF bigwigs attacked Hichimema and Mumba


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has strongly condemned the recent attacks by Zimbabwe against Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema. The condemnation comes after SADC’s elections observer mission reported that Zimbabwe failed to organize polls that met international standards last month.

Hakainde Hichilema, who is currently the chairperson of the SADC Troika on Peace and Security, appointed Nevers Mumba as the head of the region’s observer mission. Mumba’s preliminary report on the elections held on August 23 revealed significant issues. The report stated that the polls did not adhere to regional and international standards due to bias against the opposition by the election management body (ZEC). It also highlighted restrictions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s main opponents, preventing them from campaigning freely.

Following the release of the report, SADC ministers from Zambia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Namibia, which form the Troika, convened to discuss the findings. During the meeting, they expressed concerns about the attacks and their potential impact on future election observer missions, citing the upcoming Eswatini polls as an example.

In a communique, the ministers emphasized that such attacks undermine the SADC principles and guidelines for democratic elections. They also expressed worry that further attacks on the leadership of the SADC election observer mission could damage the credibility of the institution. As a result, they urged the SADC secretariat to proactively protect the credibility and leadership of SADC structures, including the election observer mission.

The communique further emphasized the importance of crafting reports and statements in a manner that follows relevant procedures and rules to safeguard SADC institutions from unwarranted attacks. They stressed that the reports of the SADC election observer missions should be processed, adopted, and owned by the Organ Troika member states to avoid suggestions that they are the product of one individual or member state.

The SADC report on Zimbabwe’s elections, prepared by the Troika and chaired by President Hichilema, will be presented at the regional body’s annual summit next year.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF, specifically targeted President Hichilema and Dr. Mumba, accusing them of promoting a western regime change agenda. These ongoing attacks have strained relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Other observer missions, such as those from the European Union and African Union, also concluded that Zimbabwe’s elections did not meet democratic standards.

Although President Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the polls with 52.6 percent of the vote, his main rival, Nelson Chamisa, rejected the results, labelling them a “gigantic fraud.” Chamisa refuses to recognize Mnangagwa’s victory.

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