SADC observer report fictitious: MDC-T
THE MDC-T party on Monday said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had “once again let the people of Zimbabwe down” after it endorsed President Robert Mugabe’s election win. In a strongly-worded statement, the party dismissed a sumarry of findings by the SADC observer mission as “highly fictitious” and “incredibly unscientific”. The MDC suffered a major thumping as Mugabe and his Zanu PF party march to a landslide victory on July 31. Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai challenged his defeat in the Constitutional Court, but withdrew the petition saying the courts had frustrated his efforts to obtain evidence of what he claimed was electoral fraud. Several of the party’s losing parliamentary candidates, meanwhile, have filed election petitions with the courts. Just hours after the SADC observer mission presented its summary statement in Harare, the MDC-T said it noted “with grave concern the report’ss failure to properly put into context the enormity and magnitude of the problem presented by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s failure to avail the voters roll to candidates on time.” The party added: “The report’s attempt to compare the extent of bias by the state media with what they refer to as pirate radio stations and or the private media is quite misleading. “It defies any logic that the report raises quite some disturbing issues with regards to process and handling of the just ended election and still continues to declare the outcome as credible.” The MDC-T said SADC’s report was “also silent on many other irregularities such as chaotic voter registration, shambolic special vote exercise, fake voter slips, bussing of voters, high number of assisted voters”. “This report is in all intents and purposes highly fictitious, totally inaccurate and incredibly unscientific. It is clear that the people’s vote was stolen and SADC has once again let the people of Zimbabwe down by failing to condemn the rigging which took place,” the party said. SADC declared the poll “credible” but stopped short of calling it fair. “On the question of fairness, it’s very difficult to say everything was fair,” SADC election observer mission head Bernard Membe said in the capital Harare as he summarised his report. SADC was concerned by the late release of the electoral roll. “If the voters’ roll is not made available on time, the fairness of the election is brought into question,” Membe said. “Our observers on the ground reported complaints related to the delay in issuing the voters roll on time. Advertisement “And even in those areas where (the) voters’ roll was issued a few days before, people had no access to it until the day of voting.” SADC further noted “that media (state and pirate) were highly polarised and for the most part biased along party lines”. “Especially in the state media… people were not given equal opportunities,” Membe said. State media gave live coverage to Mugabe’s rallies in the run-up to the polls, but not to other political parties. But critically, SADC endorsed Mugabe’s victory because “there were so many other elements that, when put together, elevated the election to a credible status”, said Membe.
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