More Post-Election Reports from Zimbabwe

More Post-Election Reports from Zimbabwe

Botswana Urges SADC to Investigate Zimbabwe Election

Peter Clottey

Last updated on: August 05, 2013 4:19 PM

Botswana has called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to investigate Zimbabwe’s general election after opposition groups rejected the outcome of the vote.

Botswana sent an 80-member poll watching group to monitor last Wednesday’s election in Zimbabwe.

“While they found that the election was free of violence and intimidation, and that indeed voting was peaceful, they also did raise a number of other issues about the process, particularly to do with the voters roll, and the ability of people to vote,” said Jeff Ramsay, Botswana’s information minister. “We are proposing that an independent audit should be undertaken [by] SADC itself, so that there is a way of assessing the situation for lessons moving forward.”

Ramsay says Botswana looks forward to hearing a response to its request from the regional bloc as heads of state and government in the region plan to meet at a SADC summit later this month in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.

“This thing should not be seen as a division between us and either the government or the people of Zimbabwe,” he said, “but rather us expressing our perspective on the way forward in dealing with some of the questions that were raised about the electoral process.”

Botswana’s call for an investigation comes a day after South African President Jacob Zuma congratulated Robert Mugabe for winning Zimbabwe’s presidential election with 61 percent of the total votes.

Some analysts say Botswana’s call could spark a diplomatic row with neighboring Zimbabwe.

But, Ramsay disagreed, saying his country’s inquiry call was not aimed at creating a diplomatic spat with President Robert Mugabe’s administration.

“We certainly hope not [and] that is not our purpose, but we believe that we have to stick by the principles of which we are governed by,” said Ramsay. “To us, it’s not just about Zimbabwe. It’s about the region as a whole, upholding the principles and the frameworks which we’ve agreed to. And at the same time [that] we’ve called for an audit, we have cited some circumstances which create doubt, but we are not making a final judgment on the matter.” 

Ramsay also cautioned that his country’s call should not be seen as a sign of divisions within the ranks of the 15-member Southern African regional bloc.

“We are not challenging the free and peaceful [SADC assessment] we are concerned about other issues to do with transparency, credibility and fairness,” said Ramsay. “By calling for an audit we are basically calling for those issues to be treated with the seriousness that they deserve, not simply for what has happened, but as SADC maintaining its principles.”  

Ramsay says he is hopeful that Zimbabweans will see his country’s stand as a positive development.

“We do commend the people of Zimbabwe, including all the parties concerned, for the orderly manner in which they conducted themselves during the election-day and in that respect we trust and believe that that peace will continue,” he said.

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Friends and Colleagues in Christ,

Many thanks for the prayers. The situation here in Zimbabwe is unpredictable at the moment. We have not heard a word from the winners as to which direction the country will take. There is still a lot of speculation, but at the moment it would be naive for me to say something definitive. In the countryside (our rural areas) there are reports of some members of the losing party being victimized. Some losing candidates are reported to be staying in the mountains and bush because they have been instructed to leave the community for having dared to challenge the winning party. What is crystal clear is that there is a heavy presence of the law enforcement on the streets of the Harare and all major roads. Motorists are being searched for weapons of war. Amazing indeed! Mr. Morgan Tswangirai is expected to file a court challenge of the election results of the Presidential and 100 Parliamentary constituencies today. This will likely be a defining moment in Zimbabwe. We really need God’s grace to avert a potentially explosive scenario. We need your prayer at this time.

Grace and peace to you all.

From A Zimbabwean Observer of the Elections