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SAF Parliamentary Mission To Zimbabwe Called Farce And Waste Of Money

There was sharp criticism Friday of the South African parliamentary mission sent to observe the Zimbabwe elections. The Independent Democrats Party has withdrawn from the mission, calling it a farce and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Vincent Gore represented the Independent Democrats Party on the mission. English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua reached him by cell phone just after his plane landed in Johannesburg. Mr. Gore described the status of the South African observer mission.

He says, “The parliamentary mission has been plagued by problems right from the beginning. It’s badly organized. It’s badly planned and badly executed. We met with only four organizations in the space of four days. And on the final day we spent the entire day sitting in our hotel rooms waiting for a phone call to be deployed.”

Mr. Gore disputes statements by some South African government officials that the Zimbabwe election will be free and fair. He says, “It is quite clear that the upcoming Zimbabwean elections are not going to be free and fair.”

The MP says the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission was only created in February and is not prepared to handle the elections, adding, “It has outsourced many of its functions to government departments.” That he says has created a conflict of interest.

He says the main opposition party, the MDC, refused to meet with the South African mission, believing the mission had already made up its mind that the elections would be free and fair. As a result, Mr. Gore returned to South Africa.