By Farai Dauramanzi
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has criticised the South African government of working in cahoots with President Robert Mugabe to subdue democracy in Zimbabwe.
The former prime minister was commenting on the recently released South Africa Judicial Observer Mission report on Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections while addressing a press conference at his party headquarters in Harare on Wednesday 19 November 2014.
The report points out to irregularities in the 2002 elections which were reportedly marred by violence. Tsvangirai paid tribute to the Mail and Guardian for their audacious and persistent journalism which he said led to the publication of the report.
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“As I have said earlier, the report comes as no surprise to us at all. We are deeply appalled by it and we unreservedly deplore what was done by the South African government to try to sweep this report under the carpet,” said Tsvangirai.
The MDC-T leader who recently got a fresh mandate at his party’s congress said that the report is a testament to what his party and some countries in the region has been saying for the past decade that Zimbabwe has never held free and fair elections.
“I am sure the same commission could assist to unearth the motivation of the South African government to work in cahoots with the Mugabe regime across the Limpopo. Zimbabwe’s polls have been reduced to nothing more than deadly military operations against civilians and the opposition,” added the MDC-T leader.
Tsvangirai said that elections in the country have been rigged since 2000’s parliamentary elections, “In 2008, the poll result was not announced for almost two months to allow for tampering of the result to induce a reduction of the margin of the Zanu-PF loss.”
“When we went for a SADC summit in Lusaka at Mulungushi Hall in April 2008, Mbeki spoke about a run-off, even though the results had not been officially announced. This meant that he was privy to the Zanu-PF machinations to call for a run-off,” said Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai also said that he was outraged by the role of some SADC countries whom he accused of subverting democratic processes of other sovereign states in the region and pointed out that Zimbabwe’s economy was on a free-fall again due to the illegitimacy derived from the disputed 2013 elections, “That had the full blessing of SADC, South Africa being the chief sponsor of the free and fair verdict.”
“When the genocide in Rwanda was taking place, the majority of African leaders remained silent about it. Likewise when violence flared up in Zimbabwe with innocent lives being butchered in broad daylight SADC countries turned a blind eye,” alleged Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai said that African leaders were not sincere in their conduct when it comes to democracy accusing them of protecting the “old guard” at the expense of democratic processes and the people.
“While the whole world condemned the 2002 election in Zimbabwe, the then acting South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, who was head of the South African observer mission was the one who validated Zimbabwe’s rigged 2002 elections, declaring them as completely free and fair,” said Tsvangirai.
The MDC-T leader who has always lost all presidential elections since his party’s formation in 1999 albeit in contestation said that the spirited efforts to hide the 2002 elections report shows that South Africa has wittingly or unwittingly aided in the subversion of democratic processes in Zimbabwe, wantonly violating official SADC guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections.
Questioned on what his party intends to do in the face of the 2002 election report and the fact that his party has failed to get recourse on election disputes, Tsvangirai said his party will continue to follow diplomatic processes to seek recourse.