(Last Updated on August 7, 2013 by Editor)
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Tuesday joined the chorus of criticism over last week’s general elections in which President Robert Mugabe extended his 33-year rule by winning a 61% majority.
In a statement on Tuesday, ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said Zimbabwe had failed to deliver on the minimum requirements for the elections to be free and fair.
Trade unions in Zimbabwe are known to be aligned with Movement for Democratic Change leader and long-time Mugabe rival Morgan Tvanrigai.
The ZCTU and the Zimbabwe Elections Support network, which had deployed more than 1,000 monitors for the elections, noted that laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act had remained in place ahead of the voting.
This was despite the fact the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which brought about the country’s power-sharing government in 2008, provided for the acts’ reform, Mr Moyo said.
He also said while the elections took place in a “peaceful environment”, the ZCTU noted reports of interparty violence, and voters in some areas avoided rallies for fear of intimidation.
Before the election last Wednesday, the international relations division of South Africa’s Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) had called for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
International relations secretary Bongani Masuku said at the time the federation shared the frustrations of the ZCTU.
“For us the Maputo Southern African Development Community (Sadc) outcomes are critical to take Zimbabwe forward. It was about the implementation of the GPA. They (the outcomes) were clear but were defied by the ruling regime,” Mr Masuku said.
The 15-country Sadc had in June met in Maputo, Mozambique, and called on Mr Mugabe to delay the national elections scheduled for July 31. That followed a ruling by Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court that elections had to take place before that date despite concerns that there was not enough time to enact reforms that would ensure the polls were free and fair.
Mr Masuku said Cosatu would judge the outcomes of the elections by the standards of the agreement. “Our yardstick is the GPA of 2008, which talked about the reform of security, the media and the judiciary to align the new democratic spirit under which elections must take place.”