A spokesman for the Youth League of South Africa?s ruling African National Congress party says he believes Zimbabwe?s parliamentary elections this week will be free and fair. Zizi Kodwa says as evidence, there have been no major incidents of violence and intimidation reported. He says this shows that both the ruling ZANU-PF party and Zimbabwe?s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have matured since earlier elections, which were fraught with reports of violence.
Mr. Kodwa told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that it is not the right of other countries to tell Zimbabweans what path to follow to democracy or how to solve its problems. Critics of the government of Robert Mugabe, however, say the electoral guidelines set forth by the regional Southern Africa Development Community do just that. They also say the Zimbabwean government has failed to meet SADC guidelines, including access to the media and freedom of speech and assembly.
Mr. Kodwa says unlike apartheid South Africa, which he notes was considered to be an outcast by the international community, Zimbabwe has a government elected by the majority of its people. But critics say that through electoral manipulation, the government of Zimbabwe no longer represents a majority of voters. They also note that for much of the international community ? including the European Community and the United States ? Zimbabwe has become a pariah state.