Zim defies Sadc election protocol


Loughty Dube

ZIMBABWE has failed to comply with basic electoral rules as set out in the Sadc election protocol adopted by all regional countries in Windhoek, Namibia two years ago, a hum

an rights activist has charged.


Zimbabwe is signatory to the Windhoek declaration but has ignored its basic tenets during elections.


Speaking at an election reporting workshop in Kariba last week, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove castigated flawed electoral processes in Zimbabwe which he said were responsible for political instability in the country.


Matchaba-Hove said any country that held elections that were not free and fair created grounds for political instability that sometimes led to armed conflict.


“If you look at countries like Tanzania and Lesotho, the events unfolding there are a result of flawed electoral processes that are leading to instability and Zimbabwe is not an exception,” Matchaba-Hove said.


He said Zimbabwe, as a country that was quick to denounce anything from the West, should at least be seen to be adhering to the Sadc protocol because it was African.


“Zimbabwe must comply with basic Sadc election protocol standards because those standards are not set in Britain, the US or in Europe but were set as guidelines and adopted by leaders in southern Africa,” Matchaba-Hove said.


As a result of flawed electoral processes, Matchaba-Hove said, African countries would never enjoy political stability.


“The 1998 elections in Lesotho were highly-contested and almost led to civil war. This was largely due to a very seriously flawed electoral process that left the opposition opting for non-electoral and unorthodox means of political expression.


“In Zambia the 2001 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections were also marred by irregularities. In our own country Zimbabwe the parliamentary and presidential elections of June 2000 and March 2002 respectively were seriously flawed,” Matchaba-Hove said.


He said this had resulted in political instability and several court challenges by the opposition MDC.


Matchaba-Hove said Zimbabwe was the only country in the Sadc that did not have an independent electoral commission and allowed the military to run elections.


“Apart from Swaziland, which is a monarchy, Zimbabwe is the only country in the Sadc that does not have an independent electoral commission.

People in the Electoral Supervisory Commission are mostly from the military and that is unacceptable,” he said.