Pressure is mounting on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to deal with his fallout with the country’s main opposition following the disputed elections amid revelations that there is a strong push for the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to organise an extraordinary summit to tackle the Zimbabwe question.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has refused to accept defeat after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner of the presidential election on August 26.
According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), Mnangagwa garnered 52,6% of the vote against Chamisa’s 44% in the August 23 and 24 elections, the CCC leader dismissed the results as a gigantic fraud.
Chamisa immediately launched a diplomatic offensive to court the support of regional leaders over the election dispute and his position was bolstered by reports from election observer missions, including the one from Sadc, that said the elections did not meet regional and international standards.
Mnangagwa’s government was particularly stung by findings of the Sadc Election Observer Mission (Seom) led by former Zambian vice-president Nevers Mumba.
Some Zanu PF and government officials have issued statements accusing Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema of pushing a regime change agenda in Zimbabwe through the Seom.
Hichilema appointed Mumba to head the Seom in his capacity as chairperson of the Sadc organ on defence, politics and security.
Zimbabwean officials believe the Zambian leader is lobbying for the extraordinary Sadc summit to aid Chamisa’s push for fresh elections.
Their fears were exposed by Information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana who took to social media yesterday to lash out at an unidentified country that he claimed was lobbying for Zimbabwe’s election dispute to be tackled by the regional bloc.
“There is some treacherous lobbying going on by one Sadc member state to have an extra-ordinary summit on Zimbabwe,” Mangwana posted on social media site X, formerly Twitter.
“The other members are seeing through this and it’s not going to happen.
“This agenda being pushed by this member state is not its own. It’s a hatchet job for some powerful nations.”
Zanu PF says Hichilema is working with Western countries that want regime change in Zimbabwe.
Chamisa yesterday told The Standard that his party’s diplomatic offensive was bearing fruit.
“We won in this election convincingly and comprehensively in an election that was fundamentally flawed,” Chamisa said in an interview.
“We disputed the results that were announced.
“That is why our chief election agent did not sign for the results as required by the law because we had queries on the announced figures.
“There was no election at all in the rural areas as voters were coerced by Forever Associate Zimbabwe (Faz), Zanu PF, and traditional leaders.”
Faz is a Zanu PF affiliate with links to dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation.
“Even within Zanu PF they can’t celebrate because they know they did not win,” Chamisa said.
A CCC delegation is said to have held a series of meetings with several leaders in the Sadc region last week.
“If we allow this electoral violation and impunity to continue they will repeat themselves in 2028,” Chamisa said.
“The will of the people should prevail. Zimbabwe has been perennially trapped in a crisis of disputed elections.
“There has to be a transitional environment to reconstitute an independent electoral body.
“All stakeholders should be involved, that is why we are saying there should be a dialogue and a conversation because Zimbabwe is not a one-party state.”
Exiled former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s chief election agent Jacqueline Sande said they had also reached out to Sadc.
“For us, we believe that there can be no election where one of the participants is able to cherry pick his opponents the way that Mnangagwa did,” Sande said in an interview.
Kasukuwere was barred from contesting the election on the basis that he had lived outside the country for more than 18 months.
“There were many other anomalies which were prevalent during the conduct of the election which had the net effect of having the elections null and void,” Sande said.
“The elections were not in tandem with the constitution.
“They were not in line with the Sadc guidelines on democratic elections, so we are very much in conversation with the Sadc principles.”
CCC official and senator Jameson Timba said they had received a favourable response from Sadc.
“A flawed election can therefore only be cured by a proper and fresh election, which is lawful, free, fair, transparent and credible,” Timba said.
“This is the position of the majority of Zimbabweans who were denied their right to freely express themselves.
“The Sadc position on this matter is as expressed by its observer mission…”
The Platform for Concerned Citizens whose co-convener is academic, Ibbo Mandaza, has also launched an online petition to Sadc calling for a transitional authority.
By mid-morning yesterday, over 33 000 Zimbabweans, including those in the diaspora, had signed the petition convened by Mandaza and Tony Reeler.
Mandaza, however, said they were yet to officially submit the petition to Sadc.
“We are still collecting information. We will decide next Thursday, and we hope that Sadc will intervene,” he said.
In 2008, there was another disputed election between the late former president Robert Mugabe and his long-time rival, the late MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The impasse between Mugabe and Tsvangirai resulted in the formation of the government of national unity after Sadc appointed former South African president Thabo Mbeki to mediate.