HARARE – A Zimbabwe government spokesman on Saturday appeared to accuse Zambia of “treacherous lobbying” of fellow SADC countries to convene an extraordinary summit over Zimbabwe’s disputed election.
Without naming Zambia – the target of rising rhetoric by aides of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ndavaningi Mangwana said: “There is some treacherous lobbying going on by one SADC member state to have an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe. The other members are seeing through this and it’s not going to happen.
“This agenda being pushed by this member state is not its own. It’s doing a hatchet job for some powerful nations.”
Zambian president Hakainde Hichilema is the head of the SADC troika, set up to respond quickly to developing political emergencies in the region.
Hichilema, in his SADC role, gave the region’s election observer mission it’s marching orders before its deployment to observe Zimbabwe’s August 23 elections. The team, headed by Zambia’s former vice president Nevers Mumba, issued a damning report, concluding that the poll did not meet regional and international standards on democratic elections.
Hichilema boycotted Mnangagwa’s inauguration on September 4 amid escalating tensions with his southern neighbour. To spite him, Mnangagwa invited Hichilema’s predecessor Edgar Lungu to the inauguration.
Zimbabwe’s former foreign minister Walter Mzembi said Saturday: “If we fail to contain and manage domestic issues at home, they become neighbours’ business. If we domesticate and ratify regional treaties and protocols, they become part of our laws. Submitting to regional peer review is a strength not a weakness.
“A member state or states can place a member on an agenda or the member state itself can self-sponsor, it’s perfectly fine and not treachery. What is important is not to behave in a manner that leaves member states with no choice than to place a member on an agenda.
“The Zimbabwe government attitude should be ‘bring it on’ if it is standing on solid ground, and prepare its own reports, rebuttals, counter lobby and acquit itself. Bravado or an ostrich mentality won’t help because this dispute can only be cured by dialogue.”
Hichilema is believed to have recently held a meeting with SADC chairman Felix Tshisekedi of DRC after receiving the final report of the SADC Election Observer Mission. It is these discussions that have alarmed Mnangagwa’s aides amid opposition demands for fresh elections under SADC and African Union supervision.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner with 52.6 percent of the vote, with challenger Nelson Chamisa polling 44 percent, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Regional and international observer missions however said the elections were a sham, citing widespread voter intimidation, police bans on opposition rallies, delays in delivering ballot papers to opposition strongholds and the electoral commission’s lack of transparency. – ZimLive