Biti accuses Membe of misrepresenting SADC Observer Mission

The Foreign Minister of Tanzania, Bernard Membe, was on Thursday accused of misrepresenting SADC by presenting what he claimed to be a summary of the final SADC Election Observer Mission report, which has not yet been produced.


The accusation was made by the MDC-T secretary general and outgoing Finance Minster, Tendai Biti, who addressed journalists at the party headquarters Thursday, appealing to Membe to withdraw his statement.

Biti said the Tanzanian Foreign Minister had on Monday September 2nd, presented what he “purported” to be the summary statement to SADC’s final report on the July 31st elections.

“That summary statement is not a summary statement of the final report of the SADC Observer Mission. The final report of the Observer Mission has not been produced and all Zimbabweans and SADC itself are still awaiting and are still demanding the production of that final report,” Biti said.

He stressed that it is important that the final report be produced “so that there is an honest and fuller analysis of the omissions and commissions that surrounded the 31st of July election”.

Biti said that Membe’s statement actually contained findings and conclusions which were derived from a SADC interim report that was presented a few days after the July 31st elections, on the 2nd August.

Biti explained that the interim report included findings that questioned the credibility of the elections, particularly issues to do with the voter registration exercise, the number of assisted voters, the media and more significantly, the voters roll.

“Even now, more than a month after the holding of elections, no-one in Zimbabwe, except the powers that be, has got a copy of the electronic voters’ roll. That was picked up in the interim report,” Biti told reporters.

The MDC-T also released a statement accusing Membe of misrepresenting SADC.

“We have inquired with a number of SADC countries and the SADC Secretariat, who have professed ignorance to the existence of this report. Further, Mr. Membe makes reference to a full report of SADC which he was summarizing from. However, this full report is still to be produced,” the statement said.

The MDC-T described Membe’s statement as “self contradictory, inconsistent and incoherent”, saying it raised “issues that render the 31 July 2013 election unfair and not credible and at the same time concludes and elevates the election to a credible one”.

“We know that this report has not been universally endorsed by all SADC member states and that there were dissenting voices even in the Observer Mission itself,” the statement concluded. – SW Radio Africa News

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