CCC Legislator Casts Doubt on SADC Intervention in Zimbabwe’s Election Dispute

Challton Hwende
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HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator Chalton Hwende has expressed skepticism regarding the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) intervention in resolving the contentious 2023 elections.

This stance contrasts sharply with that of CCC’s former leader Nelson Chamisa, who has been actively seeking SADC’s involvement in addressing the election dispute.

Chamisa recently announced efforts to pressure SADC into intervening in the political impasse that arose from the disputed elections, which resulted in President Emmerson Mnangagwa securing another five-year term. Chamisa revealed that he had been writing letters to SADC, urging them to assist in resolving the deadlock.

However, during a discussion on the social media platform X, Hwende, a close ally of Chamisa, dismissed the likelihood of SADC stepping in. He described the matter as a closed chapter following a meeting with SADC’s executive secretary in Botswana.

“We met the executive secretary of SADC. We went to meet the executive secretary in Botswana and during the same meeting, I then raised the issue of Zimbabwe to say we are waiting for you in Zimbabwe because we think according to your report the elections were a sham, it was rigged and you need to come and help the country to resolve that issue and they all laughed including the executive secretary,” said Hwende.

He continued, “A whole country cannot wait for a SADC that is not coming. They said that the case is closed and we are not coming to Zimbabwe. At that time they were claiming they had not received a letter and I knew advocate Chamisa had written them a letter but this is the contempt these bodies have for opposition politics.”

SADC’s Silence and Zimbabwe’s Way Forward

Since issuing its final report on Zimbabwe’s election, SADC has remained silent on the political situation. The regional body is preparing for its 44th Head of State summit, which will be hosted by Zimbabwe, with President Mnangagwa set to assume the chairmanship.

Hwende emphasized that the responsibility now lies with Zimbabweans to pressure the government to implement political and electoral reforms as recommended by the observer missions. He stressed that SADC’s role is limited to their report and that it is up to the citizens to enforce the recommendations.

“SADC spoke very well. Their report is very clear that the elections did not meet the expected standards. That to me is as far as what SADC can do. It is now up to Zimbabweans to organize ourselves and enforce that resolution from SADC,” Hwende stated.

He argued that SADC has no precedent of ordering fresh elections and pointed out the regional body’s preparations to install Mnangagwa as SADC chairperson as an indication of their limited involvement beyond the report.

Call for Citizen Action

Hwende called for introspection and action among Zimbabweans, urging them to organize and demand their constitutional rights rather than relying on external bodies like SADC.

“The biggest challenge we have is we are afraid of organizing ourselves and demanding our own rights that are enshrined in the constitution. That is why everyone is hiding behind SADC. There is no SADC that is going to come. I am willing to put my head on the chopping block. If you ever see SADC can force an election in Zimbabwe, I will resign as a politician,” Hwende concluded.

The ongoing debate within CCC highlights the complexities and challenges facing Zimbabwe as it navigates its political future. As the nation approaches the SADC summit, the question remains whether internal or external forces will play a more significant role in shaping the country’s democratic path.