SO the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) chairperson and Angolan President, João Lourenço has concluded that all is fine and dandy in Zimbabwe following the country’s August 23 and 24 polls.
Speaking during a virtual Sadc extraordinary meeting, Lourenço said: “I want to congratulate President Emmerson Mnangagwa and King Mswati III for exemplary elections that were recently conducted in your countries where they were held in tranquillity and in an orderly manner.
“Allow me to express our hope that these same spirits could also be seen in the elections that will take place in Madagascar and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”
Of course, Lourenço is absolutely entitled to congratulate and warmly hug his counterparts for being re-elected, but there is something so telling about all this which sticks out like a sore thumb, especially for us here in Zimbabwe.
Unless the words “exemplary”, “tranquillity” and “orderly” have other hidden meanings which many of us may not be aware of, Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections were far from being exemplary, tranquil and orderly. And if truth be told, evidence abound that the Angolan President was somehow misinformed about what happened here in August.
Even Sadc’s elections observer mission ruled that the polls fell short of regional standards, meaning that they were far from being “exemplary”; unless of course if we are saying our elections were an example of how not to run elections.
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Far from being “tranquil”, the elections were characterised by, for instance, massive intimidation of voters to the extent that some were beaten up and even murdered; unless of course we are saying this is all permissible under Sadc election standards.
And as far as being “orderly”, it would be crazy for anyone to suggest that our elections were orderly when for the first time in the country’s 43-year history the elections were conducted over two days due to unprecedented chaos at polling stations where ballot papers failed to arrive on time.
The Angolan President has clearly exposed the tragedy around many elections in the region and Africa at large. The tragedy being that no leader has ever had the guts to call a spade a spade by condemning electoral flaws which are destroying any chances of there ever being any semblance of democracy on the continent.
Sugar-coating electoral flaws is akin to applying lipstick to a bullfrog: The amphibious creature will remain thus and it will, in fact, expose it for what it is.
This is exactly why some of us are increasingly becoming disillusioned with Sadc because it is fast proving to be worse than a toothless bulldog because a puppy can at least bark and whimper.
This is why, for example, it is cool and dandy for the DRC to go for elections on December 20 this year even when part of the country is at war; a war Sadc has failed to even attempt to extinguish. Honestly, what kind of an election can take place when a sizeable chunk of the country is at war? That Sadc is spiritedly urging on the DRC to go for elections without the regional body demanding peace first in the east of the country to pave way for democratic elections, clearly shows that the organisation is nothing but an unremarkable scarecrow.
So much for our African democracy!