SADC observer mission has no mandate to question our sovereignty, legislation, judicial system and other institutions

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HARARE – President Mnangagwa has joined a growing number of people who have criticised some election observer missions, especially the SADC Election Observer Mission, for straying into areas that were beyond their mandate.

Responding to questions from journalists at State House yesterday, the President said: “Yes, I am aware that some observer missions went beyond their call of duty and began interrogating legislation passed by our Parliament.

“It is my view that every single sovereign country passes their legislation through their legislature and Zimbabwe is not an exception.”

He added that the legislature was composed of Zimbabweans who know what they want and cannot be dictated to by foreigners.

“It is not the mandate of observers to interrogate institutions of a sovereign government, the judiciary, legislature, and governance. Their mandate is to observe the peacefulness and transparency in the conduct of elections,” said President Mnangagwa.

Last Friday, SADC and European Union observer missions released preliminary reports that appeared similar in that they strayed from the mandate of observers. The preliminary reports drew complaints from the Government and the ruling Zanu PF.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi said observer missions were mandated with observing elections only, and not rewriting national laws.

“We have a Constitution that dictates what we are supposed to do, observers are there to follow whether our processes are within the confines of our laws. “It’s important to note that when observers come to the country, their mandate is limited to fact-finding related to the specific poll and not to a collection of grievances as witnessed in the SADC and EU report.

“So when we request our friends and other countries to come and observe our elections, they must be objective and pinpoint things that will enrich our democracy rather than becoming a tool to attack our sovereignty.”

ZANU PF national spokesperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa also chided SADC Observer Mission head, Dr Nevers Mumba of Zambia for interfering in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs.

President Mnangagwa said he was happy with the way the elections were conducted.

But when it was put to him that some competitors were concerned over the way the elections went, he said: “I can assure you that I did not conduct the elections, I competed with them in this race to win elections and I am happy that I won the race.”

The President said everyone who thinks the elections were conducted in a manner they didn’t like “know where to go and complain”.

“I am so happy that the race was done in a peaceful, and fair (manner and in) broad daylight and I am happy that there was a huge turnout of our people,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the absence of violence in the build up to the election and on voting day itself, demonstrates that Zimbabweans cherish peace and that democracy has matured in the country.

He added that discordant voices were expected because even in a family, “not all children will be obedient”, but they will remain part of the family.

The 2023 harmonised elections have been the most peaceful in a long time, with CCC leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, the only candidate who threatened to unleash violence if people did not vote for him.

Mr Chamisa said it was only him who deserved to win the elections, failure of which, there would be chaos in the country.

The statement was interpreted by political scientists as a way of intimidating the electorate so that they vote for him against their will.

But President Mnangagwa assured the nation during his campaign rallies that the police will ensure peace after the announcement of results, and urged everyone to vote freely.

Yesterday, police officers could be seen around Harare checking for potential trouble causers, and people went about their business, with those who usually come to have a time out in the Africa Unity Square, coming in their numbers without fear of disturbances. – Herald