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MDC has no faith in SA observers

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused South Africa’s government-aligned observers to yesterday’s elections of wanting to “rubber-stamp” the outcome.

rdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>“The MDC no longer has any faith whatsoever in the capacity of Minister (of Minerals and Energy) Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of the Sadc (Southern African Development Community) observer mission, to act impartially,” MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said on Wednesday.

“This follows her unqualified comments on Zimbabwe’s electoral process and environment over the past few days,” he said in a statement.

“The comments made by the minister, and other comments attributed to the head of the ANC (African National Congress) observer mission, have revived our suspicions that South African observers allied to the government and ruling party are not interested in the facts on the ground. They are only interested in manipulating events so that they can rubber-stamp another fraudulent Zanu PF victory,” Ncube said.

“On (the) SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) this morning (Wednesday), the minister contemptuously dismissed MDC allegations of the use of food aid as a political weapon, the role of chiefs in coercing the electorate, and our deep concerns around the state of the voters’ roll.

“We have supplied the observer missions with substantial evidence to corroborate our allegations, yet they have failed to investigate them.”

Ncube said the MDC invited the South African and Sadc observer missions to numerous rallies in rural areas, but they “didn’t bother to turn up, preferring to hang around in the lobbies of five-star hotels in Harare and Bulawayo”. At these rallies, countless people approached officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to complain about the role of chiefs and the fact that they were being denied food aid.

“We have given observers the names of constituencies and the names of those known to be in involved in incidents of electoral malpractice, yet they have not visited these areas,” Ncube said.

The MDC suspects the remarks by the minister and the head of the ANC observer mission are part of a calculated move by South Africa to prepare the ground in the hope that Zanu PF will win, and they can then legitimise the “victory”.

“Given the evidence of widespread electoral malpractice, this would be pure folly. No one is going to take such claims seriously. The world is not blind to such shenanigans.”

However, despite the partisan manner in which the election has been managed, and the absence of democratic conditions on the ground precluding a free and fair election, the MDC is confident of victory.

“Our rallies around the country have attracted thousands of people.

Thirty-five thousand attended the rally in Bulawayo last Saturday and 40 000 attended the one in Harare the next day.

“The people are behind us. If the MDC does win the election, it will be because the will of the people will have prevailed over attempts by (President Robert) Mugabe and Zanu PF to rig the ballot. It is deeply regrettable that certain South African observers don’t appear to have much of a problem with overt attempts to subvert the principle of ‘one person, one vote’,” Ncube said. — Mail and Guardian.

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