A Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator has demanded that the Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) Election Observation Mission (SEOM) report on Zimbabwe’s recent elections be tabled in Parliament.
Speaking on a point of national interest on Thursday, Harare East legislator Rusty Markham requested that the report be brought to the National Assembly for debate by members.
Markham had initially requested an explanation regarding the unavailability of ballot papers on polling day which resulted in urban registered voters in Harare and Bulawayo casting votes as late as 2100hours.
“My point of national interest refers to the meeting that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had with the international observers on 17th August 2023, before the elections.
“They read out and advertised that sufficient ballot papers had been printed to the extend, on the Presidential ballot papers totaling 7.6% more ballot papers that were required were printed and ready for distribution.
“The same for the National Assembly ballot papers and Madam Speaker, for the local ballot papers, 3.5% ballot papers more than required were submitted in paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) they were ready for the elections come what may,” Markham said.
CCC Harare North legislator Rusty Markham
Markham added, “My request is why the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) was ready 10 days before the election but had an issue with ballot papers on election day?
“For the first time in the history of this country, we ran out of ballot papers during the election, despite Zec telling us they had printed enough.
“How can the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission tell international observers we have 7.6 more and then fail by 1400hrs in the afternoon, rural and urban polling stations had run out of ballot papers?
“I request your ruling on an Independent Commission or a statement from the relevant Hon. Minister to explain what happened.
“Further to this, this issue amongst others were brought up in the SADC which has just recently been adopted. Can that SADC Report be laid on the table of this House so that we can debate it?” Markham queried.
The deputy speaker Tsitsi Gezi had no clear answer to the raised issues.
“I advise you to put that in writing and ask the responsible Hon. Minister so that he will bring a comprehensive copy to this House. At the moment, I cannot answer to your concerns. Put that in writing and ask the Hon. Minister to respond,” Gezi responded.
However, Markham begged Gezi to make a ruling on the SADC Report being laid on the table.
“I cannot rule on the SADC Report. You know very well that I cannot do that,” Gezi responded.
The SADC Heads of State and Government approved the SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) report on Zimbabwe’s recent elections last week in Angola during an Extraordinary Summit which was attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to move past the August election and focus on the development of the nation.
CCC has, however, accused Zanu-PF of blocking the recently held Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government from discussing the country’s contested elections adding that decisive regional action is urgently needed.
The opposition has also maintained that the August elections were marred by irregularities and did not produce a legitimate outcome.
Source – newzimbabwe