SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob (pictured) have come under fire in their countries for rushing to endorse the disputed re-election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in polls that were largely condemned by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), African Union and international observer missions.
Maximalliant Katjimune, a legislator from Namibia’s opposition Popular Democratic Movement, while making his submissions in the country’s Parliament on Wednesday, demanded to know why President Geingob rushed into congratulating Mnangagwa for winning a discredited election.
“Elections in Zimbabwe have over the years been tainted by irregularities, voter suppression and lack of transparency. And the elections held on the 23rnd of August to 24 were no different. That is why when president Geingob was the first president of Sadc to congratulate Mnangagwa in a disputed election, it raised concern.
“This action by President Geingob is inconsistent with Namibia’s democratic principles and human rights. Both regionally and internationaly. Moreover, Mr Speaker, the Sadc observer report on the elections came to the conclusion that aspects of the elections fell short of the requirements of the constitution of Zimbabwe, their Electoral Act and the Sadc principles on free and fair elections,” he said.
The MP told Parliament that he intended to ask Namibia’s minister of Foreign Affairs about Geingob’s endorsement of Mnangagwa’s victory in a disputed election.
On the other hand, South African President Ramaphosa also came under fire in his country’s Parliament from main opposition Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen for attending Mnangagwa’s inauguration and hobnobbing with other dictators under the Brics bloc led by Russia which is waging a war of aggression on Ukraine.
Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa had chosen to support Zimbabwe’s disputed elections because his governing ANC is likley to follow the same path of rigged polls in future.
“You are standing with autocrats and dictators who are sacrificing the principles in our own constitution. This is not human rights on what Brics can do to South Africa; it’s about what Brics and particularly Russia can do to ANC.
“It is for the same reason that you attended Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration. You are willing to give false legitimacy to Zanu PF because you know full well that your own party is following in their footsteps,” he said.
Steenhuisen directly criticised Ramaphosa who was present in Parliament, saying he did not seem to care for the suffering of Zimbabweans who will now endure the rule of an illegitimate government.
“Mr President, do you care nothing about the suffering and deprivation experienced by women of Iran and the people of Zimbabwe that are now shackled in an illegitimate election which your own Sadc region has cast aspersions on?” he asked.
Concerns are high that Zimbabwe’s pariah state status, earned during the era of the late president Robert Mugabe over his draconian rule and electoral theft, could now gain momentum in the aftermath of the shambolic polls which saw most African leaders shunning Mnangagwa’s low-ley inauguration last week.
The Southern African Development Community has been Zanu PF’s solid line of defence in sanitising controversial elections held since the emergence of the main opposition MDC in 1999.
However, for the first time, Sadc condemned last week’s elections, opening the floodgate of condemnations by other election observer missions.
Led by former Zambian vice-president Nevers Mumba, the Sadc Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) said the elections violated Zimbabwe’s constitution, Electoral Act and was also in breach of the regional bloc’s Principles and Guidelines for Democratic Elections.
“Our goal was to observe the process(es). If the process was flawed, the result cannot be legitimate,” said a forthright Mumba.
The European Union, British government, United States government, Au-Comesa and the Commonwealth have also condemned the elections, highlighting the risk of Zimbabwe’s complete international isolation which could render the country a fully fledged pariah state.