Dr Nevers Mumba and his SADC Elections Observer Mission (SEOM) team’s preliminary report condemning Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections as flawed and illegal has caused such a storm Zanu PF and SADC itself are at sixes and sevens as what to do. They have roped in the Panel of Elders led by former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to help find a way out.
“The government said Dr Mumba failed to declare his interest when he assumed his role as the head of the election observer mission and his personal interests were seen in the preliminary report,” reported Bulawayo 24.
“A Panel of Elders led by Former Tanzanian President HE Jakaya Kikwete is expected to land in Zimbabwe today. They will be here to peruse the controversies that emanated from the SEOM preliminary report. All members of the SEOM will be assisting except Dr Mumba @ZANUPF_Official,” said Zanu PF acting director of information and publicity Cde Farai Marapira.
This is a typical Zanu PF knee jerk reaction: if the regime cannot deal with the message, it will go after the messenger with all guns blazing! Ever since releasing the critical election report, Dr Mumba has become fair game as far as this Zanu PF regime is concerned. We need to examine the facts.
SADC leaders wanted Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections postponed to allow for reforms to be implemented. “If you participate in next month’s elections, you will lose. The elections are done!” they warned Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC cronies at the special SADC Summit meeting in June 2013 in Maputo Mozambique.
As we know, MDC leaders ignored the warning and participated in the elections out of greed, as David Coltart later confessed.
“The (2013) electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility,” confessed David Coltart in his Book, The Struggle Continues 50 years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF rigged the 2013 elections, just as the SADC leaders had warned. The regional leaders, in sheer exasperation at MDC leaders’ incompetence and betrayal, endorsed the results and granted the vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy. SADC was to do the same again after MDC participated again in the elections with not even a token reform implemented.
CCC and the rest of Zimbabwe’s opposition were participating in these 2023 elections with not even a token reform implemented. They knew ZEC had failed to produce even something as basic as a verified voters’ roll for Pete’s sake! Zanu PF was doing what Zanu PF does best – rig the elections – naturally. It was all business as usual.
Zanu PF expected the SADC election observer team to gloss over the glaring election irregularities and illegalities, as usual. Of course, Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies were absolutely shocked when Dr Mumba and his team highlighted the election flaws and illegalities, instead.
Dr Mumba, the little boy in Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, exposed the Emperor’s nakedness and, freed from all their inhabitations, everyone is laughing.
Of all people the Panel of Elders know that Zimbabwe is a failed state precisely because the country has never ever held free, fair and credible elections it its 43 years since independence in 1980. They know that SADC has not done the country any favours by turning a blind eye to Zanu PF’s failure to hold free, fair and credible elections.
The world is watching. Former President Kikwete and his Panel of Elders will lose all political and moral credibility if they fail to back Dr Mumba’s report and thus deny Zimbabwe the chance to finally end the nightmare of rigged elections and bad governance. The world is watching closely!