Pressure group says SADC lacks credibility to monitor Zim elections

sadc_reA UK based Zimbabwe pressure group, Communities Point (CP), has said the regional SADC bloc lacks the credibility to monitor elections in the country, which are due anytime after the drafting of a new constitution.

Last week the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said SADC should monitor the countrys next vote, to stop the violence which has scarred past elections. But the chairman of CP, Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that Zimbabwe should look beyond SADC and ask the United Nations to supervise the next elections instead.

SADC has always supervised elections in Zimbabwe in the last two decades, all of which the outcome has not been credible. Judging from their past involvement in Zimbabwe elections, I dont know if they can be said to be a credible organisation, Mutyambizi-Dewa said.

He added; There hasnt been any radical transformation of the body to think that they will do things differently this time around. Already theyve failed the litmus test as far as the Global Political Agreement is concerned. ZANU PF has breached the GPA left, right and centre and SADC hasnt even raised a word about it against Robert Mugabe.

The CP chairman said SADCs continued obsession with sanctions and its clear negation of issues affecting the lives of Zimbabweans, raises questions about its sincerity in resolving the situation in Zimbabwe once and for all.

The issues in Zimbabwe do not start with targeted sanctions or sanctions however one would want to name them. Those measures are in themselves a reaction, they followed an event and it is that event that still remains unsolved.

The region saw and did nothing when ZANU PF stole the presidential elections of 2002, and thanks to SADCs inertia the same was repeated in 2008 this time with fatal consequences. For SADC to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear on this behaviour of ZANU PF in particular and fail to insist on an inquiry into those atrocities and then try to blame it all on sanctions does not read the mood in Zimbabwe correctly, Mutyambizi-Dewa added.

Recent news reports suggested the country could hold the next general election as early as next year if the coalition government, formed in 2009, successfully holds a referendum on a new constitution.

However the chairman of the new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it was almost impossible for his body to run elections next year, because of a lack of funds.

Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe told journalists at a media workshop in Kariba last week that the ZEC needed time draw up a clean voters roll.

Ultimately, the economy of the country will determine when and whether we hold elections. The biggest challenge is financial resources to conduct elections. The election date itself is a political decision, Mutambanengwe said.

Justice Mutambanengwe takes over from George Chiweshe, who led the former discredited ZEC that was believed to work only on behalf of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF.

The next poll will be a big test for the new ZEC, because in previous years the problems in Zimbabwes elections ranged from a very poorly managed and manipulated voters roll, withholding of results, manipulation of figures, the exclusion of election observers from countries critical of Zimbabwe, plus many other serious problems.

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