MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti yesterday made sensational claims that Tanzania Foreign Affairs minister and Head of the Sadc Election Observer Mission (SEOM)’s statement was issued without consulting Sadc member states and should be dismissed with contempt.
Report by Everson Mushava
The MDC-T party declared their rejection of the Sadc report endorsing the July 31 elections as fair and credible, saying they would make an appeal to the regional body as well as lobby members of Sadc to trash the report.
But political analysts said such attempts by Morgan Tsvangirai’s party were a “wild goose chase” that will yield nothing.
Instead, the analysts said, Tsvangirai should focus his energies on rebuilding the party and strategising for the next elections in 2018.
Biti said his party would not accept the report and would write to Sadc to demand a full report and the immediate withdrawal of Membe’s statement.
“We have inquired with a number of Sadc countries and the Sadc secretariat who have professed ignorance of the existence of this report. Further, Mr Membe makes reference to a full report by Sadc which he was summarising from. However, this full report is still to be produced.
“We consulted with other countries like South Africa and others and they are fully aware that this was not a democratic report signed by everybody,” Biti said yesterday.
“I don’t want to mention some of the countries we have consulted, but one country is South Africa. We totally reject this report. We are writing to Sadc requesting a copy of the final report and the withdrawal of Membe’s report,” Biti said.
He said Membe’s report was not sanctioned by Sadc as a full report on the July 31 elections is still to be produced.
“We have also consulted the Sadc secretariat in Botswana and they have also told us that there is no final report; remember the key issue is the final report.
Lindiwe Zulu, special adviser to South African President Jacob Zuma who was the facilitator to the Zimbabwe political crisis, said Membe’s report, as the head of the observer mission, could have been sent to member countries.
“The discussion about Zimbabwe will be made at the next Sadc summit. The responsibility lies with Sadc. We (SA) have completed our work as the facilitator,” Zulu said yesterday.
Contacted for comment on the MDC-T allegations that the SEOM report presented by Membe was fake, Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha said: “Well, this report was presented by the Head of SEOM, Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs minister (Membe) who was being accompanied by Namibia’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representing the minister. How can it be fake? In any case, they presented the report to President (Robert) Mugabe, so how can it be fake?”
But Biti said Membe’s report was not comprehensive, was inaccurate and dismally failed to address fundamental issues that were critical in determining the freeness, fairness and credibility of the elections.
He said if Sadc glorified the result of this election, this would set a petrifying precedent for the quality of future elections in Sadc.
“The report concludes that the election was ‘generally credible’. With all due respect, the people of Zimbabwe need a free, fair and credible election that allows them to move forward not an election that is ‘generally’ credible. An election that is ‘generally’ credible is new lexicon in the field of election monitoring.”
But political analysts have said Tsvangirai and his party were literally flogging a dead horse.
Eldred Masunungure told delegates at a media conference in Harare on Wednesday that: “Zanu PF outfoxed its competitors. It out-organised its competitors. It outmuscled its competitors. They clearly were not a match for the 50-year-old political party. Even the MDC proved to be quite inexperienced in the face of the organisational force of Zanu PF.
“Now the MDC, as we all know it, dismissed the results as a huge farce, a monumental fraud and indeed many Zimbabweans were traumatised by the results and many are still in the post-traumatic recovery mode.”
He said it was difficult to pinpoint the precise method used to rig or influence the results of the elections, adding that even if there was rigging, the question would be: “Where was the MDC when all these shenanigans were being rolled out?
“The Prime Minister himself was reportedly in charge of supervising the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to prepare for the ballot and he met the electoral management board several times and he met the registrar of voters several times. What did he do?”
Political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said: “Tsvangirai should embark on domestic mobilisation of grassroots, targeting re-engagement with allies such as labour, students and the MDC party led by Welshman Ncube. He should focus on restructuring and possibly leadership change.
“His Sadc strategy is a waste of time and resources,” Nkomo said.
“It is not the most brilliant idea to go back to Sadc given the movement of regional dynamics towards Mugabe and a broader assumption by Sadc that it has partially solved the Zimbabwean problem.
“Mugabe is the vice-chair of Sadc and for Tsvangirai to report the matter to Sadc is like reporting a thief to his boss.”
Another analyst Ernest Mudzengi said: “Tsvangirai made a court application and withdrew. He said Sadc let Zimbabwe down. So there is no need to go back to Sadc.”