By Prince Kurupati
The only remaining organization to release its election report on the recently conducted harmonized elections in Zimbabwe, the European Union finally did so a few days ago. However, the election report was met with stern condemnation from elements in the ruling party ZANU (PF) some of whom went as far as to say it was utter ‘nonsense’.
The report which was widely anticipated by many as it was one of the few expected to judge the country’s elections against international standards did divide opinion. To some, mostly those aligned to the opposition parties, the EU election report did reveal exactly the situation that was on the ground both before and during the elections.
Instances of smart intimidation, abuse of state resources as well as the partisan conduct of the country’s election body, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that the opposition complained about in the run-up to the elections were revealed in the EU report.
Speaking on the first day in which the European Union election observers’ team was presenting its findings, Jacob Mafume the spokesperson for the country’s main opposition party, MDC said that the report is a fair reflection of what their leader Nelson Chamisa has maintained before and after the elections.
While the opposition has been sympathetic to the report, the ruling party could not contain its anger and displeasure at the report. The party’s secretary for legal affairs during an interview said that the report is “nonsense. ZANU (PF) did not abuse any state resource. They just have to compare the African Union and SADC reports, so that they can compare and find answers. Probably the outcome of the elections did not please them since they supported the opposition.”
He further went on to state that “We are not surprised by their opinion we know them. Do not forget that ZANU (PF) fought a war of liberation against the European colonialism so in every corner they find a reason to condemn us.”
Mr Mangwana’s sentiments were also echoed by political and legal analyst Mr Tinomudaishe Chinyoka. Mr Chinyoka said that “Sometimes when people have an agenda, it is hard to persuade them to see a different viewpoint as long as the facts on the ground do not fit their narrative…Our courts had an opportunity to rule on the elections, and they did.”
Mr Goodwin Mureriwa, another political analyst said that “Realism is about the pursuit of national interests, the elections in Zimbabwe were prejudged by US renewal of sanctions and the so-called international community. The Europeans are following the trend.”
Giving his opinion was another analyst and renowned lawyer Mr. Tendai Toto who said “it remains a fact to me and many that the EU, among other things, want to make impositions on how electoral processes must be conducted in African states in order to achieve an outcome that it cordially prefers, the ultimate realization of regime change agenda that its member states propagate…This is not only unique to Zimbabwe but across Africa. In particular, the deposition of the revolutionary political parties from political power, control and influence is the EU’s objective and preference.”
The EU election report, however, praised other parts of Zimbabwe’s harmonized elections stating “The right to stand was provided for, the elections were competitive and political freedoms during the campaign were respected. On Election Day, voters enjoyed the right to vote and both campaign and Election Day were largely peaceful…The introduction of a number of legal and administrative changes was welcomed, including increasing the number of polling stations, limiting voters to voting only at the registered station, and limiting the number of excess ballots to be printed.”