THE Sadc Observer Mission has pledged to work tirelessly to ensure the July 30 polls produced credible elections.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Addressing journalists, opposition parties and civil society groups in the capital at the weekend, head of the Sadc Observer Mission and Angola’s secretary of State in the External Relations ministry, Tete Antonio, said the credibility of next week’s elections was key to the regional bloc.
This came as representatives of different opposition parties and activists demanded to know if the Sadc Troika would not “sell out” and rush to endorse the elections as free and fair despite the glaring gaffes exhibited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
“Sadc never abandons Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe never abandons Sadc. As you have been observing, we have always been concerned with everything that has been happening in Zimbabwe and also in other countries,” he said.
“We are talking on behalf of the organ and we are representing President João Lourenço, who as you know, had an opportunity to organise a summit in Luanda, among other meetings that were held at other levels. And the question of consolidating democracy in the region was at the centre of our discussions.
“We spoke about consolidating democracy and we understood that democracy is a process and elections are only a part of the process. With the issue that was raised regarding reforms, we understand that steps were undertaken and we have taken note that 13 changes were done,” Antonio said.
With regards issues of legitimacy raised by the opposition parties, Antonio said: “We have been deeply engaged with Zec and we have raised all the issues that have been presented to us and we have also presented these issues to the organ so that we get certain responses. We did this under the framework of elections that are going to take place.”
The MDC Alliance has demanded among, other things, to escort the ballot papers, guard them and take a sample and test the quality and suitability of the ballot papers.