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Zuma pressed over Mugabe

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CAPE TOWN — South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged President Jacob Zuma to back the call for an independent audit of last week’s elections in Zimbabwe.

Sapa

In this regard, Zuma should ask for an urgent meeting of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said yesterday.

Zuma should “back Botswana’s proposal for an independent audit of the 2013 Zimbabwean election, to be conducted without any further delays”, she told media at Parliament in Cape Town.

There was sufficient evidence from Sadc, the African Union, civil society organisations and the DA’s own observers proving the election was not free and fair.

Earlier this week, the Botswana government issued a statement in which it called for an independent audit of the election.

Mazibuko said Zuma should retract his position that the elections in Zimbabwe were “successful” and “harmonised”, and indicate his government’s concern with the numerous reports of vote rigging by the ruling Zanu PF party.

Zimbabwe’s July 31 parliamentary and presidential poll saw President Robert Mugabe secure his seventh term in office since coming to power in 1980.

Mugabe garnered 61% of the votes. Outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai won 34%.

In the parliamentary poll, Zanu-PF won 160 out of 210 seats.
In a statement issued at yestersday’s media briefing, the DA said there were several factors that had contributed towards the election not being fair.

These included that a substantial number of people voted with voter registration slips even though they did not appear on the voters’ roll.

Further, some voters were “frog-marched . . . to vote under the guard of traditional leaders”.

Asked if, given the margin of the victory by Mugabe and
Zanu PF, the problems raised by the DA would have made a difference to the actual outcome of the election, party MP Ian Davidson said he could not say.

“That’s an open question,” he responded.
Mazibuko said her party’s concern was not the results of the election.

“Our concern is not the outcome; our concern is the election itself. Going into it, Zimbabweans were not prepared for an election which would be free and fair, properly presided over and that effectively rendered their will at the ballot box,” she said.

According to some media reports, despite some real concerns about the election process, even if it had been considered “free and fair”, victory would have gone to Mugabe.

“Opposition concerns about the election amount to more than sour grapes. But the fact is that many voters chose Robert Mugabe,” the UK’s The Guardian newspaper said earlier this week.

The United States, UK, and the European Union have all voiced concern over alleged irregularities in the running of the Zimbabwe poll.

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