DA joins Botswana's call for Zim elections audit

WEB_PHOTO_LINDIWE MAZIBUKO_280313

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko proposed a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

CAPE TOWN - DA’s parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said that, based on observations by the SADC, DA observers and NGO’s, the elections in Zimbabwe were neither free nor fair and that once an audit had revealed this the elections should be held again.

Zuma should "back Botswana&39;s proposal for an independent audit of the 2013 Zimbabwean election, to be conducted without any further delays", Mazibuko told media at Parliament in Cape Town.

“The fact that Botswana is taking that leadership role and South Africa is merely rolling over and saying, ‘well this was a free and fair election’ that presents a problem for us," said Mazibuko.

Mazibuko said there was sufficient evidence from the SADC, African Union, civil society organisations and the DA&39;s own observers proving the election was not free and fair.

Conceding that the elections were “peaceful” and that they didn’t directly witness actual violence or intimidation on the day, DA’s observers Masizole Mnqasela and Herman Groenewald said at the briefing that some voters were coerced into voting for ZANU-PF following threats that the violence of the 2008 elections may otherwisereturn.

Earlier this week the Botswana government issued a statement in which it called for an independent audit of the election.

Mazibuko said Zuma should retract his position that the elections in Zimbabwe were "successful" and "harmonised", and indicate his government&39;s concern with the numerous reports of vote-rigging by the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Zimbabwe&39;s July 31 parliamentary and presidential poll saw President Robert Mugabe secure his seventh term in office since coming to power in 1980. Mugabe garnered 61 percent of the votes. Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won 34 percent.

In the parliamentary poll, Zanu-PF won 160 out of 210 seats.

In a statement issued at Wednesday&39;s briefing, the DA said there were several factors that had contributed towards the election not being fair. These included a substantial number of people voting with voter registration slips even though they did not appear on the voters&39; roll.

Further, some voters were "frogmarched... to vote under the guard of traditional leaders."

Asked if, given the margin of the victory by Mugabe and Zanu-PF, the problems raised by the DA would have made a difference to the actual outcome of the election, party MP Ian Davidson said he could not say.

"That&39;s an open question," he responded.

Mazibuko said her party&39;s concern was not the outcome of the election.

"Our concern is not the outcome; our concern is the election itself. Going into it, Zimbabweans were not prepared for an election which would be free and fair, properly presided over and that effectively rendered their will at the ballot box," she said.

According to some media reports, despite some real concerns about the election process, even if it had been considered "free and fair", victory would have gone to Mugabe.

"[Zimbabwe] opposition concerns about the election amount to more than sour grapes. But the fact is that many voters chose Robert Mugabe," the UK&39;s The Guardian newspaper said earlier this week.

The United States, UK, and the European Union have all voiced concern over alleged irregularities in the running of the Zimbabwe poll.

 

- additional reporting by SAPA.