Tuesday, September 10, 2013

(HERALD ZW) Bronnert fails to justify rigging claims
August 16, 2013
Farirai Machivenyika
Senior Reporter

BRITISH ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Deborah Bronnert has failed to justify her claim that 10 000 voters were assisted to vote in a constituency where 17 000 voters cast their ballots, drawing brickbats from Zimbabweans who called on Government to ask London to recall her. Contacted yesterday to identify the constituency she talked about in her interview on Sky News on the fourth of this month after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission dismissed her assertions, Ms Bronnert became evasive before asking for e-mailed questions which she was duly given yesterday.

And in a brief statement sent through Ms Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, a communications officer at the British Embassy, Ms Bronnert failed to justify her claims apart from regurgitating pronouncements made by British foreign secretary William Hague soon after the results of the harmonised elections showed a heavy drubbing for MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his party.

“As outlined by Foreign Secretary William Hague, the UK has grave concerns over the conduct of the elections.

“The Sadc and AU preliminary statements outlined many of these. They include the voters’ roll that should, by law, have been made available to all political parties, the high incidence of voters turned away and the high numbers of assisted voters.

“These and other irregularities call into serious question the credibility of the election and it is important that all allegations of electoral violations are thoroughly investigated.

“We will consider further reports from regional and local observer missions when they issue. The UK will continue to support Zimbabwe and its people in their aspirations for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future.”

Ms Bronnert’s failure to justify her assertions comes as a major embarrassment to MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who incorporated the envoy’s assertions in the court application he lodged with the Constitutional Court seeking annulment of the elections results.

The harmonised elections have since been endorsed by the AU, Sadc, Comesa, African Caribbean and Pacific as well as over 40 countries on five continents.

ZEC chief elections officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi on Wednesday dismissed Ms Bronnert’s claims, with outgoing Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa saying the British envoy’s mysterious constituency would have required at least 30 days to complete the voting process if 10 000 people were to be assisted to vote as claimed by Ms Bronnert.

Former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats leader Mrs Margaret Dongo said the fabrications proved Ms Bronnert was not ambassadorial material and should be recalled because an ambassador is supposed to report objectively to his country about developments in the host country.

“There is no doubt that all the decisions the British are taking on Zimbabwe are based on wrong information because London is being fed with wrong information by its ambassadors.

“I think Ms Bronnert should just be a mere secretary in the British government not an ambassador. She is letting her country down. Those who do not live in Zimbabwe depend on their embassies for information about other countries.

“I do not think the British hate Zimbabwe, they have just put Mugabe’s face on Zimbabwe because he has called their leaders names before. I think the most reasonable thing for Ms Bronnert to do is to retract that statement. She is supposed to be an eye for her country, but she is blind,’ Mrs Dongo said.

Zanu-PF Politburo member and political scientist Professor Jonathan Moyo accused Ms Bronnert of deliberate mischief, saying she should face the consequences arising from peddling falsehoods.

“Zimbabwe has grave concerns about the conduct of the British ambassador. She made inflammatory and inciteful allegations using a high-profile platform like Sky TV. It was deliberately calculated mischief by the former colonial power to smear a national process and to smear a national result without any factual basis,” he said.

Prof Moyo said Ms Bronnert had deliberately lied because the British and their allies wanted another coalition government in Zimbabwe, but had failed.

“The problem with Britain and its allies, the US and Australia, is that they have a large Rhodesian population which controls the media and they have been telling themselves that the people of Zimbabwe are against their independence.

“So the result of the harmonised elections shocked them because they showed that the people of Zimbabwe and their liberation movement are together, they are a team under Team Zanu-PF.

“They wanted another GNU but the people of Zimbabwe came with an expression of their sovereignty that shocked them,” he said.
Prof Moyo said it was no coincidence that the allegation about the mysterious constituency were also repeated by Mr Tsvangirai in his court application seeking annulment of the election results.

Ms Bronnert’s behaviour, Prof Moyo said, vindicated Government’s decision to bar Western observers.

“This is why we don’t want these people to observe our elections, they are liars. She did not have the capacity to observe the elections but made this lie. You can imagine the amount of lies they would have made if they had been invited to observe the elections,” he said.

Prof Moyo said it was important that the ambassador Bronnert face the consequences of her actions.

“If what they have said that 10 000 people were assisted to vote in a constituency with 17 000 people there would be something wrong and serious consequences would have to fall on those responsible for that, conversely if this is a false allegation, those who have made it like Deborah Bronnert have to be visited by the same consequences as well,” he said.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Dr Charity Manyeruke said ambassador Bronnert had behaved like an activist.

“The ambassador acted like she is a civil society activist. She does not know that when you are an ambassador there is a code of conduct that you must follow and not engage in civic activism like she did.

“There was no need for her to make those unsubstantiated allegations that had no factual basis at all, she simply repeated what has been said by the NGOs most of which they fund.”

Dr Manyeruke said it was surprising that the allegations she made were also raised by MDC-T in its application that is before the Constitutional Court.

“What is surprising is that the allegations she made are also currently before the courts. We then wonder if she does not have a hand in all that is before the courts,” Dr Manyeruke said.

Another analyst Goodwine Mureriwa said statements by ambassador Bronnert were simply a repeat of the statement made by the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network.

“What she said was simply repeating what ZESN said and we all know that that organisation received over US$5 million to castigate the harmonised elections.

“She can’t identify that constituency because she knows it does not exist. What is however, important is that it shows how low these countries can sink in their attempts to effect regime change in Zimbabwe, they are resorting to peddling lies and falsehoods and this lie has exposed them for what they are,” Mr Mureriwa said.

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