Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa held a meeting with Likhwa Dlamini from the Electoral Advisory Council of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Friday to discuss a number of electoral issues. The meeting was part of the SADC’s efforts to engage with various stakeholders in Zimbabwe ahead of the next elections.
During the meeting, Chamisa urged the SADC to push the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the voters’ roll, which he described as a critical ingredient for free and fair elections. He emphasized the importance of having a credible voters’ roll that is public, available, analyzable, and searchable. Chamisa also called on the SADC to intervene in the arrest of CCC’s vice chairman, Job Sikhala, who has been in detention since June 2022 on what the opposition party calls “trumped-up charges.”
Dlamini, speaking after the meeting, stated that Zimbabwe has been violating the SADC’s principles and guidelines for elections and that this should not be allowed to continue. He emphasized that the SADC would address issues in a way that would make them “remain brothers and sisters.” The SADC would prepare a report as soon as they finished their mission and submit it to the chairperson of the ministerial committee of the organ, and then it would become a public document.
Zimbabwe has a history of disputed elections, particularly since the formation of the MDC in 1999. The country last held general elections in 2018, during which half a dozen people were shot dead by soldiers on 1 August as they protested against alleged rigging.
The SADC’s Electoral Advisory Council also met with the governing party ZANU PF, other political parties, civil society, and the media as part of its efforts to engage with various stakeholders ahead of the next elections.
Zimbabweans hope that the SADC’s efforts will help to ensure free and fair elections in the country, which has been plagued by political violence and allegations of electoral irregularities for many years. The next elections in Zimbabwe are expected to be held in 2023.