Botswana challenges Zimbabwe election results


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Botswana became the first African country to challenge Zimbabwe’s election results and said it will lobby southern African leaders for an audit of the disputed poll.

Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani said last week’s vote did not measure up to Southern African Development Community guidelines.

“Various incidents and circumstances were revealed that call into question whether the entire electoral process, and thus its final result, can be recognised as having been fair, transparent and credible,” he said.

He said Botswana’s 80 member observer team will share a dossier of irregularities it witnessed with SADC, the African Union and the international community.

“We need an audit to enable us to pronounce as to whether the elections meet the SADC guidelines,” Skelemani said.

Botswana has always favoured Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and offered him refuge after the disputed 2008 poll saying he could stay in that country for as long as he wished.

The African Union and SADC have cleared the elections though they admitted that there were some elements that needed to be addressed. These were, however, not enough to declare the elections null and void.

Tsvangirai has declared the elections null and void and is challenging the results in court.

South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania have already congratulated Mugabe on winning the elections.

Western countries including the United States, Britain, Australia and the European Union have challenged the results.

Australian has called for fresh elections. It is not clear who will fund the elections, if any, because Zimbabwe did not have money to hold the elections held last week according to then Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

But even the British Broadcasting Corporation says it doubts Tsvangirai will make it if new elections are called.

In fact, if the West decides to fund the elections, Tsvangirai might even lose the 49 seats his party has.

His lieutenants who won the elections are not likely to agree to any new elections and this could lead to a split within the party.

(14 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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