By Leopold Munhende | Chief Correspondent
REGIONAL body SADC’s Head of Delegation for its Election Observer Mission Nevers Mumba has drawn the wrath of ruling Zanu PF after laying into activities of quasi-security institution Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) in their preliminary report delivered Friday.
Mumba, a Zambian national appointed to the post by President Hakainde Hichilema, had outlined how the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) backed entity had been intimidating voters in rural and urban areas.
He raised queries with its setting up of ‘Exit Poll Surveys’ where those who would have voted were expected to fill in documents indicating how they had cast their ballots.
In a no-holds-barred address to journalists Friday evening, Zanu PF Spokesperson said they were calling Mumba to order, accusing him of hobnobbing with Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) officials and targeting FAZ ahead of other civic society organisations.
● “Mr Nevers Mumba, we call you to order,” says annoyed @ZANUPFOfficial
spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa after SADC trashed and discredited
Mumba is the head of SADC’S Election Observer Mission. pic.twitter.com/cFzMnnAI5U
— NewZimbabwe.com (@NewZimbabweCom) August 25, 2023
Mutsvangwa went all out to defend FAZ operations, describing it as a Civic Society Organisation (CSO) focusing on security and likening it to colonial-era groupings that spied for Zanu PF and other revolutionary parties wherein he said, ‘if you did not know your enemy you would die.’
“We want to make it very clear the SADC Observer Mission is a product of members state of SADC and not administered by a particular individual who may become the head of a delegation, he is only in a delegated role.
“Without prior consultation with members of his mission and without them having given reports to their countries or secretariat he decides to delve into matters which have nothing to do with his mandate.
“It is not the duty of a particular individual to arrogate to himself the role of a constitution review committee of Zimbabwe, so Mr Nevers Mumba, we call you to order if you have issues tell it to relevant institutions.
“He was seen hobnobbing and accosting himself with the CCC, he even goes further to try to make an issue about CSOs, choosing others in favour of others.
“He favours the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and others and castigates FAZ on the other hand, this is a bias. To make an issue of FAZ is to question the origin of this state.”
41 ZESN and Election Resource Centre (ERC) officials were arrested in the night of August 23 and later charged with attempting to announce results before ZEC.
The act has been condemned, with FAZ activities being compared to those which were known to be for observer work.
Mumba’s comments on FAZ and the country’s polls came as a surprise to many who were used to SADC not hesitating to give its stamp of approval for Zimbabwe’s usually contested elections.
He has however endeared himself with Zimbabwe’s online community, some of whom struggled to cast ballots on August 23 after Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) fumbled its process throughout the day.
Asked about the difference between FAZ and ZESN or ERC operations, Mutsvangwa added: “We are happy they were nipped in the bud because they wanted to abuse social media to create contestation based on falsehood about who has won and who has not when the referee is one.
“If ever there were zealous elements within FAZ, the police intervened and FAZ were told to march off and they complied.
“It is different when you have a collection of gadgets and safe houses and want to give your own version of the results of an election.”