WATCH: SEOM Head Dr Mumba Explains What Happened During Zimbabwe's Elections2 weeks ago
Dr. Nevers Mumba, who led the SADC Election Observer Head of Mission (SEOM) during the August 23-24, 2023 harmonized elections, has provided an explanation of the events that took place. The mission faced criticism, particularly from pro-state factions, after releasing a preliminary report that strongly condemned the elections for failing to meet regional and international standards. The mission highlighted various concerns, including flaws in the delimitation process, delayed release of the Voters’ Roll by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), restrictive fees for accessing the Voters’ Roll, disruption of opposition rallies violating freedom of assembly, unconstitutionality of the Patriotic Bill restricting freedom of speech, disqualification of presidential aspirants, raised nomination fees, insufficient progress in achieving gender parity, concerns about the independence of the Judiciary and possible government influence, allegations of voter intimidation, controversies surrounding postal voting and allegations of coerced voting by police officers, and bias of state-owned media against opposition parties and candidates, contrary to impartiality requirements.
Dr. Nevers Mumba also cautioned Zambians and Africans in general about the increasing number of coups occurring in Western Africa. He highlighted that there are individuals promoting conflict and making divisive remarks that could harm Zambia and the SADC region. He strongly condemned the coups in West Africa.
Furthermore, he addressed the accusations that Zambia’s leader, Hakainde Hichilema, is a Western puppet due to differences in perspectives. Dr. Mumba emphasized the importance of Africa not aligning solely with the East or West but instead learning from different cultures and adopting values that align with their own. He made it clear that Zambia does not have to choose between global powers like Russia, the USA, or China.
Are you a Civil Servant or Pensioner in Zimbabwe?
Get a smartphone 📱 on Zero Deposit. 24 hours to process.
In addition, Dr. Mumba refuted claims of bias towards opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, stating that the SEOM (SADC Election Observer Mission) fulfilled its responsibilities diligently as an observer. He also provided insights into the data-gathering process and explained how SADC operates in relation to elections.
Dr. Nevers Mumba expressed that ZANU PF officials have misguided themselves despite their understanding of how SADC operates. He noted that Zimbabwe’s strong reaction is due to the fact that African states are accustomed to receiving reports that support them, rather than reports that challenge them.
As observers, Dr. Mumba emphasized their obligation to report the realities they observe on the ground. He stated that the SEOM dutifully reports everything to SADC in order to enhance governance systems in the region. He clarified that they do not question Zimbabweans’ authority to create their own laws, but he believes that SADC members should develop laws that uphold democratic principles.
Dr. Mumba mentioned that he can only make suggestions if any concerning reports as he does not possess unilateral powers. He emphasized that the majority of the work is carried out by professionals, and his role is primarily supervisory. He warned that any substandard work would bring embarrassment to the entire SADC, as was the case during Zimbabwe’s disputed elections in 2008.