GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, Zimbabwe is hamstrung by sham elections. As I see it, there is no enticement in your words, development, modernisation and industrialisation.

Methinks Zimbabwe did not dodge the proverbial bullet by pressuring for the removal of the disputed harmonised elections from the agenda of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) extraordinary summit meeting held last month.

With all due respect, probity warrants you to refrain from showering accolades on Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Fredrick Shava for the pressure he exerted on Sadc for the removal of the disputed elections from the agenda.

He brought to bear the guilty conscience on the Sadc secretariat, accusing it of having tried to smuggle the Zimbabwe election issue to the agenda. Yet, from my viewpoint, the regional body will rue its failure to preach the righteous brother's keeper counsel on Zimbabwe.

“The people who had prepared for the meeting, we can say the Sadc chairperson himself or the secretariat I suppose, wanted to discuss the Zimbabwe elections at the the meeting. But, these meetings focus on one topic, in this case it was the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) issue. We just made that point during our meeting and we objected”, Shava rationalised his quest for the removal of the disputed harmonised elections from the agenda.

Methinks the removal of disputed elections from the agenda was a contravention of the traditions of goodwill, openness and frankness that is the norm in the execution of foreign and international relations.

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It could have stood Zimbabwe in good steady for recovery had the issue of disputed elections been tabled for discussion.

There was an apparent element of perfidy in the insistence on the removal the Zimbabwe’s disputed elections from the Sadc extraordinary summit agenda. It was known that ordinarily, gagging Sadc under the guise of focusing on one topic repels investment and co-operation.

Your Excellency, the raging armed conflict in the DRC which the Sadc extraordinary summit meeting deliberated on is admittedly a threat to peace and security.

However, from where I stand, it cannot be a hard and fast standing order for the Sadc to focus on a single topic.

There were noble intentions in both the chairperson and secretariat in their wanting the Zimbabwe disputed elections discussed at the meeting. It borders on heidiousness that Shava brought pressure to bear, resulting in the removal from the agenda.

It is my conviction that there hardly could be a festering regional issue that has long been crying out for exhaustive deliberations than the regularity of the Zimbabwean disputed elections.

It was, therefore, altogether pertinent and justifiable for the issue to be on the agenda.

By virtue of their far-reaching implications, Zimbabwe’s disputed harmonised elections are a threat to peace and security on a similar scale to the DRC armed conflict.

They are spoiling the broth for the region. It was, therefore, orderly for them to be thoroughly deliberated on.

Disputed elections have long been the regional bloc’s drawback. Yet, as Sadc gave in to pressure from government, Zimbabwe reinforced her blacksheep reputation within the region and beyond. Consequently, the country remains in agony and dire straits.

Your Excellency, the tribute by the Sadc chairperson Joao Lourenço of Angola for your victory where he said the polls constituted a victory for democracy, was conspicuous by its hollowness. It was beneath the dignity and honour inherent in the presidency.

His congratulatory message portrayed him as the only stranger who did not know a thing or two about the sham Zimbabwe elections.

It was ironic that he spoke about elections being held in a tranquil and orderly manner, contrary to the electoral debacle that happened.

“I want to congratulate President Emmerson Mnangagwa and King Mswati III for exemplary elections that were recently conducted in your countries which were held in tranquillity and an orderly manner. Allow me to express the hope that these spirits could also be seen in the elections that will take place in Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), parroted President Loureco.

As I see it, nothing about the electoral processes was duly credible. All the observer missions of every hue, including the one constituted by Sadc, noted that the elections were a sham. Ideally, the regional body must not have forfeited its moral obligation to deliberate on the Zimbabwe disputed harmonised elections.

Yet, all the fundamental diplomatic codes were razed as Zanu PF erupted on a warpath against the Sadc observer mission team leader, Nevers Mumba. An onslaught was launched on him after his announcement of the team’s report.

He stated that the harmonised elections did not comply with the stipulations of the Zimbabwe Constitution, the Electoral Act and above all, the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2021) to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

His report pointed out flaws which included the delimitation of constituencies, delays in the release of the voters roll, delivery of the ballot materials and the intimidation of voters by the Zanu PF affiliates, notably the shadowy Forever Associates Zimbabwe.

Described as a gigantic electoral fraud by the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), methinks the harmonised elections were patently a shameful caricature of the democratic processes of electing a legitimate government.

Your Excellency, your closing remarks at the recent Zanu PF conference that your party was committed to accelerating development were idle chatter.

They have a snowball’s chance in hell owing to disputed elections. As I see it, prosperity is contingent on credible elections.

Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public-speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist.