The Endorsement of Zimbabwe’s disputed polls by regional leaders like Hage Geingob, Phillipe Nyusi and Cyril Ramaphosa exposes the double-standards of the old-boys fraternal politics.
Geingob defended his congratulatory message for Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa saying those “aggrieved” by the outcome of the elections should lodge their complaints with the country’s institutions and systems.
“Comments made by electoral observers about aspects of an election, including those that may need improvement, do not invalidate the electoral outcomes in a sovereign country,” Geingob said.
Perhaps we expect too much of Geingob to act in furtherance of core democratic principles that benefit the general populace instead of his liberation struggle peers.
After all, Geingob was quick to wine and dine Mnangagwa who came to power through a coup that ousted his dictatorial mentor Robert Mugabe.
Unusually, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer teams criticised the overall conduct of the elections as not meeting required standards in line with Zimbabwe’s constitution and SADC’s guidelines of democratic process.
While voting was peaceful (relative to past elections), delays, the banning of rallies of opposition parties, biased state media coverage and the electoral commission’s failure to give candidates access to the voters’ roll were highlighted as red flags.
The swift endorsement by regional leaders leaves a bitter aftertaste for those who yearn for peace and stability in Zimbabwe. It does not inspire confidence in democracy that would lead to economic recovery and the return of Zimbabwean exiles to rebuild lives left in tatters by self-serving Zanu-PF politics.
It is people like Mnangagwa, with the endorsement from Ramaphosa and Geingob, who create breeding ground for coups.
It is evident Geingob and others continue to prioritise political alliances over the genuine aspirations and collective will of the Zimbabwean people, perpetuating a brotherhood that belongs in the dustbin of history.
When the democratic right of a people to boldly and freely elect their leadership is consistently curtailed, it is only a matter of time before the chickens come home to roost.