Friday, September 27, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) 'Fairness' irrelevant yardstick: Zanu PF
02/09/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF welcomed the report of SADC’s election observer mission released on Monday, and immediately called on Western countries to accept President Robert Mugabe’s landslide victory.

The Southern African Community (SADC) observer mission, which presented the summary of its findings in Harare, endorsed Mugabe's victory, stating that "there were so many elements that, when put together, elevated the election to a credible status".

“SADC had not pronounced itself on the all too important question of the credibility of the election. But today, SADC has spoken clearly and loudly that indeed the elections were credible,” Zanu PF politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo said in Harare.

“The whole world now waits to see what the Anglo-Saxons are going to do, whether they themselves are going to be credible. Their credibility will be judged by their standing by their word, they said they would be guided by SADC.”

Western countries, led by the United States and Britain, have raised concerns with the conduct of the elections and indicated they would wait for the African Union and SADC’s final reports before passing judgement.

While offering criticism for the lack of access to the public media by Zanu PF’s rivals and delays in releasing the roll of voters, SADC said it was difficult to judge whether the elections had been “fair”.

The observer mission also said sanctions on Zimbabwe had been a factor in the elections, along with so called pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe from Europe and the United States.

Moyo said the key question in the July 30 elections was whether Zimbabwe could hold a peaceful election, following the violence that marred the presidential election run-off in 2008 – from which emerged a power sharing government between Mugabe and his main opposition rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

“It's important to remember that there are always three things to examine: whether elections are free, fair and credible. In our case, SADC evaluated these elections and replaced ‘fairness’ with ‘peaceful’," Moyo told New Zimbabwe.com.

“On the question of credibility, SADC said the result was a true reflection of the will of the people, and we are very happy that this question has been answered unambiguously by SADC: the elections were credible.

“We must bear in mind that these elections were judged and evaluated against the backdrop of 2008 elections, with particular reference to their peacefulness. The issue of having peaceful elections was paramount, and it is not surprising therefore that fairness has been replaced with peacefulness, and we have passed this score with flying colours.

“On the question of fairness, there can be no right-thinking person who imagines or expects elections in Zimbabwe to be fair, or fairness to be an important category, tool or yardstick for judging elections when the country has been under the grip of illegal sanctions for the last 12 years, and whose main purpose has been to replace elections as a method of changing government in Zimbabwe.”

Moyo said the sanctions had been used by Western countries to “destroy the economy, ‘make it scream’ – in their words – in order to turn the people against Zanu PF outside the electoral process”.

“The import of the sanctions was to manufacture suffering, attribute it to Zanu PF and expect a change of government through a public revolt, and not through elections. The economic sanctions were not designed to get people to vote Zanu PF out through elections, but to get them out on the streets. When you do that, you bastardise the electoral process, it becomes impossible to have fair elections. Fairness becomes a contradiction in terms, an irrelevant yardstick.”
Elections in Zimbabwe, he said, “will never be fair if sanctions remain in place”.

He explained: “We are very heartened to note that SADC, in their report, have called the unconditional and full removal of sanctions. They have said it would be foolhardy for any political party in Zimbabwe to expect to win elections when that party has called for sanctions or is the intended beneficiary of those sanctions.

“It was, therefore, a demonstration of astute diplomacy and commitment to principle by SADC to replace the irrelevant term of fairness with peacefulness. The question of peacefulness was more relevant to Zimbabwe than the question of fairness.

“There was no fairness before, during and after the elections. The fairness question is intertwined with sanctions, and it’s not in our hands but those of our erstwhile colonisers and their allies who have not left us alone. It’s a question which they should now deal with honestly in order to normalise relations and create conditions for fair elections in future.”

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