Chamisa revives poll fight at Sadc

Nelson Chamisa

ENGAGEMENTS are reportedly underway between the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and opposition politician Nelson Chamisa to resolve the August 2023 electoral dispute, NewsDay can exclusively reveal.

Chamisa lost the ballot for the second time to President Emmerson Mnangagwa who won 52,6 % of the vote against the opposition leader’s 44%, according to official results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Chamisa — who lost to Mnangagwa in another disputed poll in 2018 — has, however, refused to recognise Mnangagwa as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe, describing last year’s election as a “gigantic fraud”.

The Sadc election observer mission said the Zimbabwean elections failed to meet regional and international standards on holding of free, fair and credible polls.

NewsDay has established that Chamisa has since last year been writing to Sadc seeking its intervention on the electoral dispute after efforts to engage Mnangagwa over the matter hit a brick wall.

An official from Sadc confided in NewsDay yesterday that the regional body was “seized with the Zimbabwean political matter” and disclosed that Chamisa had last week written to the regional body following up on his earlier request for the regional body to facilitate resolution of the electoral dispute.

Sadc has reportedly responded to Chamisa’s request by saying that it was forwarding his case to the relevant Sadc structures for consideration, the source said.

In his follow-up letter, Chamisa told the regional body that he was under pressure from the citizens who had pinned their hopes on Sadc to resolve the political crisis facing Zimbabwe.

“We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 23 October 2023,” part of the letter dated April 29, 2024 read. “Our view has been that we should patiently wait for further communication regarding any developments following our request.

“However, since some considerable time has passed, we are writing this letter as a follow-up and to inquire if there has been any ‘consideration and guidance by the relevant Sadc structures’ as indicated in your letter.”

Sadc head of communication and public relations Barbara Lopi was not answering calls when NewsDay tried to contact her for comment yesterday. Lopi had not responded to questions sent to her by yesterday evening.

Efforts to get a comment from Sadc executive secretary Elias Magosi were also fruitless as his mobile was not reachable.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Chamisa could neither confirm nor deny the correspondence he had with the Sadc secretariat, but said he was opting for peaceful means to resolve the dispute.

“Yes, Zimbabwe can assume the chairmanship, but must be clear and resolve the legitimacy issue first for the credibility of Sadc,” Chamisa said. “The key thing for the credibility and integrity of institutions of the region and the continent is that this matter must be resolved.

“And there must be closure. It can’t be open-ended. We don’t have to fertilise and sanitise theft of election and other electoral malpractices. People must not come to office through the window or the backdoor.”

He reiterated the call for fresh polls.

“There are a number of options to resolve the issue but the key issue is that there has to be a proper government and a proper election ultimately,” he said.

“How we get there is a product of a political settlement and apolitical dialogue. This is not a Chamisa issue. It’s what the people of Zimbabwe want, and that is what is logical and credible from a Sadc perspective because you can’t condemn a process and condone it and ultimately endorse it.”

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