The Sunday Mail
SADC does not conduct elections in member states and its electoral observation missions are only mandated to observe polls and make recommendations for consideration by the inviting state, the regional body’s secretariat has said.
In a statement on microblogging site X yesterday following the official launch of the bloc’s electoral observation mission to the Kingdom of Eswatini, the secretariat said it had no authority to conduct elections in member states.
Eswatini will go for elections on Friday and the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the country’s polls is led by former Zambian vice president Mr Enock Kavindele.
“SADC Electoral Observation Missions only observe elections,” reads the statement. “SADC does not conduct elections in its member states but observes them.
“We then make recommendations.
“Understand the role of SADC when it comes to observing elections. Our mandate is only to observe and issue a report.”
The clarification puts paid to claims by some Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists, who were agitating for the regional body to administer a re-run of Zimbabwe’s August 23 harmonised elections.
ZANU PF won the elections by a commanding margin, with President Mnangagwa coming first in the presidential race.
He won the presidential election after polling 2 350 711 votes (52,6 percent), beating his nearest challenger, CCC’s Mr Nelson Chamisa, who got 1 967 343 (44 percent).
None of the 10 contestants in the presidential race filed a petition at the Constitutional Court, challenging the validity of the result within seven days of declaration of the winner, paving the way for President Mnangagwa to commence his second term in office.
SADC’s statement yesterday also corroborates the pronouncement by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who said last week that the regional bloc did not invalidate Zimbabwe’s elections but only pointed out some challenges that affected the administration of the polls.
In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States, President Ramaphosa said such challenges were not unique to Zimbabwe.
“If one looks at that report, it actually says there were challenges with regard to a number of things that have got to do with the election,” he said.
“Many countries throughout the world have such challenges; the United States is a prime example with regard to the last election.
“They (observers) have said in the report, as I read it, that certain things need to be improved.
“They have not declared the election as invalid, unfree and unfair; they have highlighted certain challenges.”
The SEOM to Zimbabwe, led by former Zambian vice president Dr Nevers Mumba, produced a controversial preliminary report on the polls, which has since been roundly condemned by most election stakeholders.
It emerged after the election that Dr Mumba was working closely with the CCC, as confirmed by the party’s spokesperson, Mr Promise Mkwananzi.
Mr Mkwananzi revealed to a local weekly newspaper that his party had been handed a copy of Dr Mumba’s final report on the elections, which violates SADC guidelines.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail recently, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) Mr George Charamba said the breach of standing regional protocol was unprecedented, if indeed Mr Mkwananzi was telling the truth.
“If what CCC has indicated is true, namely, that the final report has been shared with a political player in Zimbabwe, ahead of presentation to the chairman of the organ, who is Zambian President (Hakainde Hichilema), and ahead of its adoption by the presidents of the Troika (namely, Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania), those who are supposed to sign it, and also ahead of a signed copy of the report being given to the Zimbabwean Government, if this is what has happened, it is a breach of the SADC code of conduct in relation to election observation.
“If there is evidence, we will take it up with SADC,” he said.