The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is set to summon Zimbabwean authorities and representatives of the SADC election observer mission to discuss contents of a damning report on Zimbabwe’s just-ended elections.
This was revealed Wednesday by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa while speaking to SABC on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York.
According to the SADC observer mission preliminary report, the Zimbabwean election which ushered President Emmerson Mnangagwa back into power and restored ZANU PF’s parliamentary majority, was fraught with irregularities and did not meet regional and international benchmarks governing the running of credible polls.
Ramaphosa, who has come under fire at home and abroad for both congratulating and attending Mnangagwa’s inauguration, said the SADC observer mission report merely pointed out challenges to be addressed as opposed to it declaring the Zimbabwean poll as “invalid.”
“If one looks at that report,” Ramaphosa said, “it actually says there were challenges; challenges with regards to a number of things that have got to do with the election.
“Many countries throughout the world have such challenges; the United States is prime example with regards to the last election.
“They (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.”
According to the SADC election observer mission report, Zimbabwean institutions key to the running of the controversial poll failed to conduct themselves in an independent and transparent manner.
Ramaphosa said, “what was said by representative of the observer mission still got to discussed in SADC because it’s not a final report.”
He added, “Those are challenges that need to be addressed.
“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.
“So, we are waiting to receive that report at SADC level so that we can deal with it because if anything, it was an interim report.
“So, once the report is put to the SADC body, we will then debate it and we will also hear representations from Zimbabwe as well as the SADC observer mission.”
Ramaphosa on Tuesday repeated his demands for the unconditional lifting of Western imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in his address to the UN General Assembly.
He said sanctions were also hurting his country which was forced to carry their burden of a calamitous Zimbabwean economy in one form or another.
The South African leader is viewed a disappointment by both his countrymen and Zimbabweans for failing to use his country’s influential status as a regional leader and a model democracy to deal with the root causes of the troubled neighbour’s endless crisis.