Whilst a lot of progress has been made on the concept of regional economic and political integration within the SADC region over the past few decades, there is a lot of ground that can still be covered to ensure that the more than 220 million citizens of SADC enjoy the full benefits of regional economic and political integration.
In particular, we would like to applaud SADC for the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections that were adopted in Pretoria on July 20, 2015. Clause 5.1 of these Revised Guidelines specifically states that member states shall commit to implementing interventions designed to promote democratic principles and practices. Member states shall make every effort to ensure the scrupulous implementation of the principles for holding democratic elections.
Elections will soon be held in Angola and we are hopeful that these elections shall be free and fair and that the elections will give the people of Angola the right and freedom to freely and fairly choose a government of their choice. As a social democratic political party, the MDC takes note of the fact that elections in Zimbabwe have frequently been marred by serious electoral irregularities such as intimidation of voters and blatant vote rigging as was the case in the July 2013 harmonised elections.
We would like to call upon SADC to do whatever is within its power to ensure that next year’s elections in Zimbabwe be held in a free and fair environment that will guarantee a credible outcome.
From the year 2000, elections in Zimbabwe have always invariably be marred by allegations of serious electoral malpractices. We now look forward to the holding of elections whose outcome would not be subject to contestation. Millions of Zimbabweans have settled in the Diaspora including neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Namibia as they escaped both political persecution and the economic meltdown back home.
Occasionally, Zimbabweans living outside the country, particularly in South Africa, have been unfortunate victims of xenophobic attacks. The MDC would like to call upon SADC to ensure that the scourge of xenophobia is totally eliminated from the SADC region.
Africa is rising and there is absolutely no doubt that SADC, a sub – region within Africa, is also rising. We look forward to living in a SADC region that enjoys political stability and socio–economic development and prosperity.
MDC: Equal Opportunities for All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson