DA berates Zuma over ‘premature’ congratulations

South African President, Jacob Zuma, has come under fire from the country’s biggest opposition following his congratulatory message to Robert Mugabe.

South African President, Jacob Zuma
South African President, Jacob Zuma

In a hard-hitting statement, Ian Davidson, the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, said Zuma’s comments were a letdown to the majority of Zimbabweans and the region that were yearning for democracy in the neighbouring country.

“By congratulating Robert Mugabe on his stolen election, President Zuma has failed Zimbabwe, failed Zimbabweans and failed the Southern African Development Community by not providing the leadership that the region desperately required. President Zuma’s congratulations are not only extremely premature, given the very serious irregularities that have been noted in the elections, but shamefully legitimises undemocratic practices during elections, and sends a message that significant irregularities will be tolerated by his administration,” Davidson stated.

“Instead of taking a tough stance at SADC to ensure that reforms such as free media and a change in the security apparatus were in place and that Zimbabweans were ensured a free and fair democratic election, especially in his position as facilitator of the monitoring group of the Global Political Agreement, Mr Zuma has allowed Mugabe to get away with a farce of an election.”

He called for an urgent meeting to resolve the imminent crisis in Zimbabwe, where elections were marred by discrepancies.

“I will request that President Zuma provide Parliament with all the reasons for why he is recognizing the elections results, including whether he has applied his mind to all the evidence. I will also ask that President Zuma exercise leadership in SADC by seeking an urgent meeting of all heads of state to discuss the very serious concerns that have been noted in this election,” Davidson added.

While the SADC and African Union Observer Missions described the election as ‘free and fair’, they and civil society noted serious irregularities with the voters’ roll and voting process.

“Parties were denied timely access to the roll and the roll itself was clearly flawed. The DA’s observer also saw people being allowed to vote with registration slips which opens up the process to abuse and fraud,” added Davidson.

Post published in: News
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