Zim elections w ere f air — Mbeki
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.