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Hichilema stands firm on Zim



AHEAD of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration today in Harare which will be attended by some regional leaders after his controversial and hotly-disputed re-election, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, in his capacity as South African Development Community (Sadc) organ on defence, politics and security cooperation chairman who deployed the Sadc election observer mission to the country’s recent elections, has showed great courage and commitment to the Sadc Treaty and Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

This comes as the Sadc election observer mission head Nevers Mumba has handed over the final report on Zimbabwe’s flawed polls to Hichilema.

Mumba has spoken widely on the issue, explaining the process, its objectives and justifying his team’s findings which have caused a political stir in Zimbabwe and ripples across the region.
The report has left Zimbabwe and Sadc countries deeply divided.

Mumba says he had a brief from Hichilema to make sure “Zimbabweans have a free, fair and credible election” by assisting the process as an observer with a Sadc mandate.

Sadc member states have an obligation and responsibility to implement interventions designed to promote democratic principles and practices in the region under the Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.

Electoral observation, inter alia, serves to improve electoral integrity, mitigate electoral conflict, enhance public confidence and promote citizen participation in the electoral process.

In the short-term, observing elections provides a basis for factual, impartial and objective evaluations of the nature of the electoral process and how events play out during elections.

In the long-term, this presents an invaluable opportunity to share experiences, information and strategies for consolidating democratic institutions and development.

In brief, observing elections helps to enhance integrity, transparency, credibility and acceptance of the results, as well as legitimacy of the outcome.

By refusing to endorse and legitimise Zimbabwe’s sham elections, voter suppression, disenfranchisement, fraud and brazen subversion of the people’s will, the Sadc election observer mission head Nevers Mumba — deployed and backed by Hichilema — stood on the side of the ordinary people, democracy and the national interest of Zimbabwe under capture by a military-backed regime that staged a coup in 2017.

After the coup, Mnangagwa won the 2018 poll amid coercion, fraud and bloodshed. Hichilema and Mumba’s firm stand has left Mnangagwa, his cronies and hangers-on snarling with rage and making noises defending electoral theft and the incumbent’s illegitimate claim to power; the third time he has done so since the coup.

Sadc’s preliminary report said Zimbabwe’s elections did not meet the regional body’s principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.

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