THE Namibia Non-governmental Organisation Forum (Nangof) Trust has cautioned African leaders against compromising the well-being of their people for the sake of showing loyalty to each other.
The Executive Director of Nangof, Ivin Lombardt, in a statement, criticised the recent Zimbabwe presidential and parliamentary elections saying there were problems with voter registration and biased state media coverage among others.
Robert Mugabe, who has been at the helm of Zimbabwe for the past 33 years, won 61% of the presidential vote against his main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T party who got 34%.
According to Lombardt, some of the anomalies included “serious problems with the registration of voters, the availability of the voters’ register, the special votes for security personnel and state media bias.”
Both President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Foreign Affairs deputy minister Peya Mushelenga who headed Namibia’s Observer Mission to Zimbabwe gave Mugabe’s re-election a clean bill.
In his message last week, Pohamba congratulated Mugabe describing it as a “resounding victory” while Mushelenga said the “will of the majority should be respected”.
Nangof Trust, that had three representatives as part of the Namibian delegation of supervisors, however, has accused African leaders of compromising the well-being of their people while being loyal to each other.
Lombardt said a number of observer missions including those of the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) “.
He further said African states created various instruments by which they would hold one another accountable on behalf of the citizenry specifically in respect of elections and electoral processes.
Lombardt gave the example of guidelines such as the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in the SADC Region and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
“However, in their conclusions on the Zimbabwean polling, these observer missions ignored these fundamental issues and were quick to claim the elections were ‘free and peaceful’ (if not fair).
“What is preventing our SADC governments from domesticating these guidelines and make them part of our respective electoral laws? Are they not serious about their own instruments?
“Let us revisit these seemingly forgotten ideals and recommit ourselves to an Africa that is at peace with itself as it takes its rightful place in the global community,” he urged.