Zim elec­tions w ere f air — Mbeki

Weekend Witness - - Ne Ws -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — F ormer pr es­i­dent T habo Mbeki has main­tained that the 2002 Zim­babwe elec­tions were free and fair de­spite the Kham­pepe re­port sug gest­ing oth­er­wise.

“The South African gov­ern­ment did not pluck its vie ws about the out come of the se elec­tions out of thin air,” Mbeki said in a let ter pub­lished in the Mail & Guar dian y es­ter­day.

“South Africa sent two fully fledged mis­sions to ob­serve the 2002 Zim­babwe pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. One of th­ese was a multi­party South African Par­lia­men­tary Ob­serv er Mis sion [S apom], con­sti­tuted and de­ployed by Par­lia­ment with­out any int er­ven­tion b y the South African g overn­ment.”

The other was the South African Ob­server Mis­sion (S aom), the lar ger of the t wo sent b y the SA gov­ern­ment and con­sisted of 50 mem­bers of civil so­ci­ety. It was led by am­bas­sador Sam Mot­suenyane.

The let ter f ol­lows the pub­lic r elease of the Kham­pepe re­port. The re­port by two South Afri­ can high court judges found the elec­tions not free or f air.

“Th­ese [Zimb abwe] elec­tions [ of 200 2], in our view, can­not be con­sid­ered to be free and fair,” then high c ourt judges Dik gang Moseneke and Sisi Kham­pepe said in the r eport.

In his let ter, Mbeki in­di­cat ed that the t wom­em­ber ju­di­cial ob­server mis­sion had a very limited man­dat e and onl y f ocused on the mat ters of the “le­gal frame­work” rel­e­vant to the elec­tions.

They were to re­port their find­ings to the pres­i­dent of South Africa.

They were also re­quired to as­sess whether “the Zim­bab­wean le­gal frame­work can en­sure cred­i­ble or sub­stan­tially free and fair elec­tions, and whether the elec­tions have been con­ducted in sub­stan­tial com­pli­ance with the le gisla­tive frame­work”, said Mbeki.

He said the find­ings of the other two mis­sions re­vealed the elec­tions were free and cred­i­ble and their find­ings were sim­i­lar to those of other or­gan­i­sa­tions that ob­serv ed the elec­tions. — S apa.

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