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Zimbabwe’s losing main opposition speaks of a coup

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HARARE – Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says the Gabon coup which followed the Central African country’s disputed election last week was a wake-up call on AU and appendage blocs such as SADC to pin down member states to the holding of credible polls.

Gabon and Zimbabwe both held elections last week with outcomes fiercely disputed by opposition parties which cited grave irregularities that tilted the vote in favour of incumbents and their parties.

In Gabon, the military cited stolen polls as the reasons behind the takeover.

In an interview, CCC national spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said the Gabon experience demonstrated the necessity for regional groups to ensure that member countries conducted credible polls.

 

 

“Free, fair and credible elections are the ingredients required to ensure that there will be no coups or any unlawful use of state authority in Africa.

“What has happened in Zimbabwe is in essence a coup; we denounce coups because coups are not good for Africa.

“For African leaders, it’s time to conduct free and fair elections but more importantly to accept the results of a free and fair election and allow those that could have won to govern,” said Mkwananzi.

Zimbabwe’s election was marred by electoral irregularities, inordinate balloting delays in opposition strongholds and internet suppression, among some of the ills.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner of the presidential poll with 52,6 percent of the total vote while close challenger, Nelson Chamisa of CCC polled 44 percent.

CCC has called for a re-run of the plebiscite and the disbandment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) after SADC and other poll observer groups flagged the election for failing to meet regional and international election standards.

Similarly, in Gabon, deposed president Ali Bongo received 64.27 percent of the vote, while his closest challenger Ondo Ossa, a former education minister, polled 30.77 percent.

Gabon’s election was held amid an internet shutdown at the behest of Bongo’s government and without foreign observers.

Ossa claimed that at some polling stations, his name did not appear on the ballot paper.

Moments after Bongo was declared winner in the disputed election, a dozen soldiers burst onto television screens Tuesday night to announce they have seized authority and nullified the Gabon dictator’s victory.

Drawing parallels with the Gabon situation, Mkwananzi lamented the slide into anarchy as a result of disputed elections on the continent.

He urged regional bodies to adopt electoral frameworks that did not produce disputed outcomes.

“This (stolen polls) creates a lot of instability and problems for Africa.

“So, the AU and SADC have a responsibility to insist on an electoral framework that produces an undisputed result.

“Once there is sufficient legitimacy and all contestants are satisfied with the playing field of the election, it’s highly unlikely to experience coups.

“As long as we continue to have elections that are disputed and have elections that leave others dissatisfied, we are going to continue to experience this kind of incidences.”