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Durban - The South African government has closed the chapter on Zimbabwe’s “harmonised” elections and lashed out at the media and opposition parties for bias against President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF.
International Relations and Co-operation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman led the charge against the media and opposition parties in Parliament on Wednesday while endorsing Zimbabwe’s recent general elections.
“The country needs to continue and they’ve got an elected leadership and they must govern,” Fransman said shortly after briefing the department’s oversight committee. He presented the government’s report on the eve of Mugabe’s inauguration on Thursday.
South Africa had accepted the outcome of the elections and all parties needed to move forward, he said.
MPs accused certain sections of the media and opposition of being “anti-Zanu-PF”. ANC MP Mamoloko Kubayi also tore into “anti-Zanu” elements in the media. “When you open them (papers) you know they were pro-MDC (Movement for Democratic Change).
“I read articles that spoke about MDC, its rally activities… the adverts shown on TV of MDC and Zanu, you would see both canvassing. In radio both sides were able to campaign. I’m not speaking from reading an article I’m speaking from being there.”
Cope’s Smuts Ngonyama said “even if we had big questions, we don’t have a case” because the MDC has withdrawn its court case challenging the credibility of the elections.
Director-general in the department, Jerry Matjila said all countries in the region, besides Botswana, had agreed that the elections were free and fair.
“But all of them say Zimbabweans went to the polls without fear and they cast their votes. All 14 countries in Lilongwe (at the SADC summit) said we agree,” said Matjila.
Fransman said “the bottom line” was that the government “doesn’t take sides” when dealing with elections in Zimbabwe.
- The Mercury