President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has dismissed as “unfortunate and regrettable” Monday’s statement by Botswana calling on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to investigate Zimbabwe’s general election after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change formation rejected the outcome of the vote.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said Zimbabwe is concerned and surprised by the comments from the country’s western neighbor.
Mr. Gumbo said, “We are really concerned that Botswana could do what it did because after all they are members of the SADC observer mission here.
“They had their own people who came her to observe (the election) but we can’t go by individual countries’ assessment. We go by what SADC says, what AU (African Union) says, what Comesa says. It’s really unfortunate, particularly for a close neighbor like Botswana to say that.”
Gumbo said there was no need for SADC to audit the Zimbabwe election, adding President Robert Mugabe would not have any of it.
“The statistics speak for themselves so there’s no need for us to entertain that kind of thing,” the Zanu PF spokesman said. “I do not think that the president will entertain or accept that kind of thing.”
Botswana had an 80-member poll watching group monitoring last Wednesday’s election in Zimbabwe.
Voters waiting to cast their votes in Zimbabwe's general election Wednesday
Information Minister Jeff Ramsey said his country was concerned about reforms and other issues that Harare had failed to address prior to the election, adding an audit of Zimbabwe’s electoral process was necessary.
“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 Ramsay.
“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.”
Botswana’s call for an investigation came after South African President Jacob Zuma and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete congratulated Mr. Mugabe for winning the presidential election with 61 percent of the total votes.
Gumbo said the two SADC leaders were the “most crucial” voices in the Zimbabwe crisis and not individual countries like Botswana.
As a result, he added, Harare is not worried that most countries in the region have not yet sent congratulatory messages to President Mugabe.
“They will come eventually. The most important were President Zuma and President Kikwete as SADC point person in Harare and chairman of the SADC organ on defense, politics and security, respectively. They mattered more and we are happy they have already sent in their messages to the president,” said Gumbo.