10 April 2008
IDASA Statement on the Implications of the Delay in Announcing the Presidential Results in Zimbabwe’s 2008 Harmonised Elections.
There is troubling information coming from observers still on the ground in Zimbabwe about increasing military and paramilitary mobilization breeding community-level violence. This is accompanied by increasing reports of military personnel being seen in rural communities, which raises fears of retribution similar to that seen in the wake of the Presidential Election in 2002.
The uncertainty and leadership vacuum occasioned by the unjustifiable delay in the release of the official results of the Presidential election is promoting a constitutional crisis and a further deterioration of the 8-year crisis. This can only increase the anguish of Zimbabweans who peacefully cast their votes 12 days ago.
We would therefore encourage SADC to press for the release of the Presidential results and, if these necessitate a run off, that they both stress the importance of adhering to a constitutional time-frame for a second round, and that their observer missions return and deploy immediately on a nationwide basis to cover the run up to the second round Presidential Election, as well as the event itself. Furthermore, a strong recommendation from SADC would be influential, in ensuring that observer missions such as from the African Union, the Pan African Parliament, the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the independent media are allowed to monitor and cover the run-off without frustration or intimidation.
Having tried to the best of our ability to understand the results already posted and announced, we are beginning to suspect that the delay can only be because the government whose term expired on Election Day, March 29th, are unwilling to accept the will of the people, acknowledge their loss and relinquish office.
We would appeal to ZEC to end the speculation and uncertainty. If they cannot or will not do this immediately, then we would urge SADC to act in terms of the mandates of the African Union in regard to possible unconstitutional seizures of power.
The Zimbabwe government needs to avoid illegitimacy by being transparent and fair, by adhering to its own constitution and avoiding a further slide into economic, social and political chaos. SADC member nations have an opportunity to hold the Zimbabwe government accountable to its constitution, much as the South African government has said it would do.
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