NOW DAILY EDITORIAL|
The apparent failure by both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to rein in Robert Mugabe and his wild bunch must be condemned. When the United Nations Security Council wanted to have Mugabe charged with genocide and war crimes after ordering the murder, torture and rape of thousands during elections in 2008, it was SADC and the A.U., fronted by Thabo Mbeki, who poured water on that otherwise noble initiative. The world waited for five years to see if there would be a change in the way things were done in Zimbabwe’s gangland-style politics. Alas, nothing has changed. The chaos unfolding around the election is evidence of a deeply flawed state, where institutions or their partisan heads can overide crucial cabinet decisions and ground national aspirations for private, partisan gain. It is ample proof that the two regional organisations failed in their task of designing full-proof mechanisms to ensure that the Zimbabwe election produces a winner without contestation.
Prime Minister and MDC-T presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, the leading challenger to Mugabe, says the election is being rigged.
“There is clear evidence of manipulation and a desperate attempt to subvert the peoples will,” Tsvangirai told reporters on Friday.
It is notable that powerful members of the U.N. Security Council, such as the United States, and the European Union were banned from monitoring the elections in Zimbabwe. The reason is simple: they have the resources to carry out professional observation.
The unreformed security forces continue to cause untold damage to MDC campaigns. They have been let loose in numbers to harass and torture. The police commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri, has allegedly given orders for his charges to do everything to ensure the people vote for Mugabe. They have arrested scores of people on MDC campaigns, including parliamentary candidates and key election agents. Bulawayo parliamentary candidate and Education Minister, David Coltart’s co-ordinator was arrested for allegedly tearing a Zanu PF poster worth $5, a charge he denied. The brutal police Law and Order section, which deals with political crimes, ordered him detained until after the elections, not for the offence, but as punishment for working for Coltart, a longtime critic of Mugabe.
As a result of that policy against the MDCs, the police are not investigating serious attacks against the party’s members. Victims no longer bother to report.
Tsvangirai said: “We understand that police are not taking action to deal with perpetrators of violence and intimidation on the basis of instructions allegedly received from their superiors. This is unlawful. We encourage police officers to undertake their duties diligently.”
The brazen violations by the police and electoral authorities point to the need for delivering on agreed reforms. SADC and the A.U. have done what they could, considering the circumstances. It is high time the U.N. supported this process of transformation in Zimbabwe.
NOW DAILY EDITORIAL|