BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has castigated the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) for failing to respect the will of the people and siding with repressive regimes to manipulate election results.
Chamisa was speaking in an interview on the South African national broadcaster Sadc on Sunday about the invitation by Zambian President-elect former opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema to attend his inauguration today.
The guests to Hichilema’s inauguration ceremony are strictly by invitation due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The opposition leader criticised the regional body, which he said was siding with a “club” of leaders who were not ready to let go of power even if voted out of
“We want to see the will of the people being respected so that we do not have the elite (riding) roughshod over the citizens as we have seen in Zimbabwe, where people vote, but they are punished for voting,” Chamisa said.
“We need to make sure that Sadc plays its important role and not side with a club of those who would want to manipulate the will of the people, but to side with the people. Look at what happened in Malawi. Sadc had endorsed the Malawian election, but the institutions within Malawi itself invalidated the election because it was invalid. We want to see the strong institutions coming in to support the citizens, the will of the people and the verdict that people would have given in a particular election.”
He called for a democratic transformation process within Sadc to ensure that it efficiently plays its role of defending the will of the people and guarding against manipulation of election results.
“What is very clear is that we are beginning to see the cascading of this positive wave to the African continent,” Chamisa said.
“As you are aware the African continent is a continent of values, ideals and the liberation promises. So we are built on the foundation of the liberation promise of our founding fathers, those who liberated the continent. Their vision was to see Africa being able to articulate a future. So we are building on that liberation process, but for that process to be elevated, there has to be the democratic transformation process, that comes with structural institutional changes and also entrenching this fundamental role of the institutions not to tamper with the will of the people. We want to see the bullet moving away from invalidating the power of the ballot,” he said.
Sadc congratulated Hichilema for the victory and commended outgoing President Edgar Lungu for accepting defeat and peacefully handing over power to the former opposition leader.
The regional bloc has been under criticism by civic society organisations for stifling democracy for ignoring violations of civil and political rights by leaders in its member States.
Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the July 30, 2018 elections, but refused to concede defeat, last week said he would draw inspiration from Hichilema’s win against the Lungu in his bid to unseat the Zanu PF leader who is facing accusations of escalating human rights abuses.
But Mnagagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba has vowed that the Zanu PF leader will not concede defeat if he loses the upcoming elections.
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