Friday, August 16, 2013

(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai attacks AU Chief, Dlamini-Zuma
This article was written by Our reporter on 27 July, at 05 : 05 AM

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has clashed with African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma over the election environment in Zimbabwe.

On Friday Dlamini-Zuma told MDC-T leader there were no complaints raised by any political leader over alleged vote rigging by President Robert Mugabe’s and his Zanu PF party.

Addressing journalists at a party press briefing Friday, Tsvangirai accused Dlamini-Zuma of bias towards Zanu-PF and ‘lying to the world’.

In her remarks during an AU Observer Mission’s preliminary findings media briefing at Harare’s Rainbow Towers, Dlamini-Zuma said all the candidates she had met since arriving in Harare on Wednesday never mentioned any attempts to steal the election by Zanu-PF.

Dlamini-Zuma asked the Western reporter who had asked the question to confirm the source of the information they had about rigging allegations.

The journalist, unprepared for the question, said he had read of documents that were attributed to Zanu-PF which stated an elaborate vote rigging attempt as well as newspaper reports pointing to systematic rigging by President Mugabe.

“Can you give us a copy, not newspaper reports – the document you are talking about,” Zuma insisted.

“I met the Prime Minister who is the leader of MDC and he said nothing like that, gave me no document. So if you have it, give it to me otherwise I don’t work on newspaper reports or speculation,” she said.

“I work on what I have heard and seen. And that’s why I try and meet the leaders so that I can hear what you are saying from them and I didn’t.”

The AU chief went on: “I saw the leader of the MDC, the Prime Minister, I spoke to the Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara. l spoke to Professor Welshman Ncube. None of them mentioned any such document to me.

“None of them even used the word – and we (AU observers) were all here – of rigging.

“So they tell you maybe what they think you want to hear but they have not told us that so we cannot comment on it.

“If they had told us, I would tell you because I am here, I am transparent, I will say what I have been told, they have not told us that but if you have that document give it to us then we can deal with it because our view is that we don’t deal with rumours. We don’t deal with speculation.

“Somebody reports something, we try and verify and if its verified then we can talk about it because we won’t know where we are if we start running with every rumour, every speculation.

“So I am sure if they have given it to you, you will hand it over to us and then we can have a discussion based on something concrete.”

Zuma’s remarks however drew fire from Tsvangirai who addressed his own press conference an hour later.

“(On Thursday) I met the chairperson of the African Union, Madam Nkosanazana Zuma. I understand she has made a comment to the media to the effect that all principals are happy with what’s taking place and that no issues had been raised with her,” the MDC-T leader said.

“I just want to correct that. I have no intention of correcting an impression that has been created that will cause an unnecessary conflict but I want to say that it’s unfortunate that that statement has been made because the truth is that I raised with her a number of issues of concern to the MDC.

He insisted he had briefed Zuma’s delegation about the “chaotic” voter registration process run by the Registrar General’s office, the disenfranchisement of thousands of his potential supporters, the secrecy around the printing of ballot papers and the “deliberate” reduction of polling stations in his stronghold urban constituencies.

“For one to say none of the principals have raised these issues its not only unfortunate but it’s downright misleading,” he said.

Asked why Zuma would say something like that, Tsvangirai said: “You ask her. I met her. I did not meet her in a private room just the two of us so it becomes her word against mine. We met in a meeting.

“That’s a Zanu PF narrative, so as to endorse an outcome which then supports the Zanu-PF outcome.

“We know her background, who doesn’t know her background? It is a very unfortunate position to take to accuse me of lying when l had a full meeting in which she was there.

“A number of her own delegation were there, a number of my staffers were there and l pointed out these issues to her. Now the question is why would she want to distort a meeting in which everyone participated. It puts to question her integrity as an impartial observer of this process.”

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