Zim polls: Zuma urges parties to accept outcome amid credibility concerns

2013-08-04 11:06

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Washington has rejected the results of Zimbabwe’s elections while President Jacob Zuma has extended his "profound congratulations" to President Robert Mugabe, who has secured a seventh term.

The US believes the results are a culmination of a process that was deeply flawed.

In a statement released by Secretary of State John Kerry last night, the US said it didn’t believe the results announced represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people.

Britain has expressed similar concerns. "We have grave concerns over the conduct of the election," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.

But Zuma urged "all political parties in Zimbabwe" to accept the results "as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people".

This comes after the MDC-T's Morgan Tsvangirai has said the party would challenge the results in court.

Washington rejected the results on the basis of:

•    Irregularities in the voters’ roll;

•    Unequal access to the media by all parties;

•    The security forces’ pro-Zanu-PF stance; and

•    Failure by the government to implement reforms as mandated by the new constitution.

Although the US had not been invited to monitor and observe the elections, Kerry said available evidence suggests that the results were a culmination of a deeply flawed process.

He urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) observer missions to address the concerns they had raised.

SADC had found that the elections were free but said it was still in the process of deciding if the polls were also fair.

Both the regional block and the AU had raised grave concerns about the printing of an excessive number of ballot papers, which cannot be accounted for, lack of access to media by all parties, thousands of people being turned away from voting stations and the provision of assistance to rural voters.

The US, Kerry said, shared the same fundamental interests as the Zimbabwean people: a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Zimbabwe that reflects the will of its people and provides opportunities for them to flourish.

“For that to happen, the government of Zimbabwe should heed the voices of its citizens and implement the democratic reforms mandated by the country’s new constitution. Only then will Zimbabwe truly embark on a path towards democracy that reflects the aspirations of its people.”

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