Shocking silence from Ramaphosa over Zimbabwe’s stolen election

Issued by Emma Louise Powell MP – DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
28 Aug 2023 in News

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s continued silence over Zimbabwe’s sham elections, which saw Emmerson Mnangagwa controversially “re-elected” for a second term, is a tacit endorsement of the ZANU-PF government’s electoral farce.

A preliminary report by the SADC Election Observer Mission (SADC-EOM) noted that the elections “fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act, and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2021).” Similarly, other observer missions – from the African Union, Commonwealth and the European Union, have raised concern that the conduct of the election process could impact on the credibility, transparency and inclusivity of the process.

With this broad condemnation of the flawed election – including a condemnation by the United Nations Secretary General – the ANC government’s silence is further hastening South Africa’s decline as a leader on the African continent and a defender of human rights and the rule of law.

It is completely reckless for Ramaphosa and his government to outsource South Africa’s foreign policy to Luthuli House. Since the announcement of Mnangagwa’s “victory”, ANC SG Fikile Mbalula has been heaping praise on the flawed election and expressing solidarity with a ZANU-PF government that is yet again facing a crisis of legitimacy.

Ramaphosa should come clean and confirm whether his government agrees with Mbalula’s position that the ANC will be a willing underwriter of the sham Zimbabwe election.

Reports from observer missions and civil society organisations in Zimbabwe confirm – beyond any reasonable doubt – that the elections were neither free, fair nor credible.

On election day there was widespread voter suppression with the captured electoral body, the ZEC, failing to deliver ballot papers on time – especially in urban areas, which are considered opposition strongholds. State apparatus was also used to arrest election observers, threaten opposition supporters and undermine the electoral process.

Instead of standing silently on the sidelines yet again, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor should be coming to the defence of the SADC election observer mission which has come under direct attack from the ZANU-PF government over its preliminary report. If the SADC and South Africa are to retain any remnant of credibility, they must reject these primitive bullying tactics by ZANU-PF and demand an independent review of the election.

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