Sadc, AU slammed over Zim polls

HUMAN Rights Watch (HRW) has blamed Sadc and the African Union (AU) for the continued human rights abuses and lack of improvement in governance issues in Zimbabwe after they endorsed the July 31 general elections marred by allegations of systematic rigging, disenfranchisement of voters, a chaotic voter registration exercise and use of an outdated voters’ roll, among other irregularities.

Paidamoyo Muzulu

HRW is an international non-governmental organisation that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

In its Human Rights Report 2014 released on Tuesday in Johannesburg, HRW accused regional and continental blocs of failing to resolve the July 31 poll dispute, in which President Robert Mugabe won by 61% of the vote and his Zanu PF party clinched a two-thirds majority of the 210 contested seats in the National Assembly.

Zimbabwe’s polls divided the international community and the region with key western countries and groupings like the United Kingdom, United States, European Union and Australia declaring that the electoral process was neither credible nor fair.

This differed from Sadc and the AU, both of which endorsed the elections.

HRW said: “The ability of key international actors to apply pressure on Zimbabwe for a resolution of the election dispute, and for improvements in human rights and governance, was largely nullified by Sadc and the AU’s endorsement of the July elections.”

It added: “On Zimbabwe, the EU, the UK, and the US had previously deferred to Sadc and the AU, whose response to the flawed July elections weakened international efforts to ensure restoration of the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

The 2013 polls were held following a series of court applications and Sadc summits to determine the date when Zimbabwe could dissolve a four-and-a-half-year coalition government set up in February 2009.
The government was set up as a compromise after the country held a bloody June 2008 presidential runoff.

HRW said while on the surface Zimbabwe held ‘peaceful’ elections, the poll was flawed.
“Although the election was peaceful, the electoral process had major flaws, including highly partisan statements by the leadership of the security forces, restrictions on and intimidation of journalists and civil society activists, and a skewed voter registration process,” it said.

The elections, local monitors said, were marred by widespread irregularities which included reports of voter intimidation by Zimbabwe’s security forces, traditional leaders coercing villagers to vote for Zanu PF, and a high number of “ghost” or duplicate voters present on the voters’ roll.

The observers further noted that large numbers of people were unfairly turned away from polling stations.

However, despite these flaws Sadc and the AU endorsed the poll thereby pulling the rug from under the UK and the EU, which had relied on the regional bloc’s determination for their future actions on Zimbabwe.
These differences have further compounded the international community’s inaction.

“The discord among key actors diminished international pressure to address the disputed election and help resolve Zimbabwe’s pressing human rights and governance issues, which Zanu PF has been unwilling to seriously address,” HRW argued.



10 Responses to Sadc, AU slammed over Zim polls

  1. joe cool January 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    HRW is right. But Zim’s failures are South Africa’s and the rest of SADC’s successes, who will all continue to have a jolly good time as we continue to flounder.

  2. Chris Veremu January 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    If one were to be frank and less charitable Zimbabwe’s problems can be tracked back to one Thambo Mbeki who was so keen to show the world that he was an international statesman when he was nothing but. He is fond of leaving loose ends hanging in all the deal he makes..this he does as long as he gets accolades..Here is a clear case of somebody who should run for his life from any form of international mediation or those he proposes to mediate for should reach for the nearest exits..He is the same fellow who presided over the issue in the Sudan and left loose ends hanging and look at the result. Now contrast this with what Chissano did in Madagascar which was a lot worse off than the two countries..Today they are swearing their own democratically elected loose ends..The international community bought into the issue to lend support not in our case where both the EU and the US flatly refused to accept his fuss of an agreement. Chissano should be a serious contender for a Nobel Prize. This is not his first unqualified success, he did the same in his own home country..Indeed he is Africa’s own Kissinger and Finland’s Martti Artissari roled into one. He does make one really and rightly proud to be an African. We need more like him..Like Russian Poet Maxim Gorky would say, “A man whose name has such a proud sound”..He does not make unnecessary bird noises to attract attention to himself but he is methodical in his approach to solving problems and then he lets his ‘good’ work do the talking for him, not others who waffle endlessly worsening problems they are supposed to solve like this Mbeki fellow! The unfortunate thing in all this is that some of his colleagues are also embracing this practice like Madam Zuma, the AU chair..they believe that if you do nothing but make bird noises problems will go away. African former heads of state should form a club of their own like the AU where they ensure that some among them should stop with playing with people’s lives pretending to be mediators when all they are doing is ensuring they stay in the glare of media cameras pushing the continent with their unproductive narcissism!

  3. Chris Veremu January 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Missing letters in the above posts..Last line should read .”….instead of punishing the continent” not pushing the continent. Apologies, all round…

    • Lawrance Zulu January 25, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Well said. Could not agree with you more. The philosophical Mbeki, seemed to enjoy the spotlight of diplomacy without solving problems. On one hand he seems to have admired the power Mugabe yields in Zimbabwe. On another hand, him and other Africa leaders were fearful that Zanu-PF was prepared kill and cause suffering to Zimbabweans and cause mayhem in the region in order to remain in power. Honestly just look at the 2008 presidential runoff, and the rigged past election of 2013, it says it all. These was no need for the bloody run-off in 2008, Tsvangirai won the initial contest. It took 4 to 5 weeks to cook the results . I am not a fan of Tsvangirai as a moral and intelligent leader . Zimbabwe has not held a free and fair election since 1995, when only 20 % of the electorate used to vote. After the Unity Accord that brought Zanu and Zapu together people simply lost interest in politics except UZ students and ZCTU until 1997-2000.
      My biggest disappointment is the failure by Zanu-Pf to retire Mugabe just before the 2000 elections when Simba Makoni was still in Zanu-Pf and quite a strong favourite to succeed him. And of cause the failure by MDC to prepare for the last elections when they had the resources at their disposal in government. We are stuck with a government nobody wants to deal with. A coalition government was the best hope for Zimbabwe, because neither party has the full confidence of the people.

  4. edgar January 25, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    I find it a bit dishonest when people think the solution to our self made problems can be out sourced, and then blame those who step up to help. The problem is with Zanu. Weak leadership, tribalism, skills flight, corruption and the ballooning debt. It kinda looks hopeless as of now.

  5. Chris Veremu January 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    You find it dishonest that mediators who make situations they are supposed to mediate sometimes make the situation worse than they found it? Arent mediators supposed to preside over self made or external conflicts? You dont think your reasoning belongs in curio shop perhaps?

    • edgar January 27, 2014 at 7:25 am #

      Read my post again.

  6. Ban'a January 26, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    The UN also endorsed the elections. Why not mention it?

  7. parapinda January 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    nonsense. This is an old story recycled fo the gullible. If HRW had all the evidence of electoral fraud why ddnt they give Mdc the evidence fo constititional challenges?? I am nt fooled. Its all empty rhetoric. And as asked above was the UN also part of the Zanupf rigging machinery??

  8. vitalis makoni January 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    dont blame Zanu pf here. mdc was given 4 yrs to prepare for the election and they failed to come up with a winning formula.they shud go back to the drawing board without their puppet leader Tsvangirai. how can one embrace people who oppressed us for such a long time and expect people to support him. the west can only pretend to like u if u have what they want. once u release it they will discard u.americans are very clear about it when they say : we dont have permanent friends but permanent interest. read between lines guys. these people dont like us but our resources.yes we are suffering but no condition is permanent.

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