POLITICAL parties opposed to Zanu PF yesterday reacted angrily to reports that Sadc had commended the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for ensuring that the just-ended two-day special voting for uniformed forces was conducted in a peaceful manner although it admitted the process encountered some “problems”.
The regional bloc on Saturday held a mini summit in South Africa to review the political environment and Zimbabwe’s preparedness ahead of the July 31 poll.
Sadc appointed facilitator to the Global Political Agreement President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique attended the mini summit with Namibia’s Foreign Minister Netumbo Ndaitwa standing in for President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
In a brief communiqué yesterday, Sadc commended the electoral body for “taking these up as challenges to be overcome on the 31st of July, and called upon all political parties to co-operate as fully as possible with Zec in order to ensure that it is able to meet these challenges.
“Summit encouraged the government, all political parties and leaders to continue with these commendable efforts which will help realise credible elections.”
But, MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi blasted the summit’s position saying Zec had lost all credibility as evidenced by its failure to conduct the special vote.
“They (Sadc leaders) are dreaming of a free and fair election. They (Zec) have failed to handle a small election of less than 100 000 people. What gives us the confidence that they would manage a national poll? They now have a tattered image, a tattered face. They (Zec) are either incompetent or have no capacity to run this election and we are headed for a seriously disputed poll,” Chihwayi said.
His MDC-T counterpart Douglas Mwonzora also said: “Zec has shown that it is incapable of conducting a free and credible election. It failed dismally on the voter registration exercise and the special vote. I honestly do not see Zec managing. That body is now open to manipulation by Zanu PF.”
Mwonzora added the regional leaders had not totally absolved the electoral body of wrongdoing but admitted that there were problems which they hoped would be solved before the month end polls.
Strenuous efforts to get comment from Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo were unsuccessful.