The year was a seminal moment in the politics of Zimbabwe as the Movement for Democratic Change MDC was confirmed the official opposition. The JOM was tasked with observing the Zimbabwean elections and reporting to the Presidency on their observations. The mandate of the JOM was to observe whether the legal framework under which the elections took place qualified them to be considered free and fair. The Khampepe Report found that prior to the elections, residents holding dual citizenship or not being citizens of Zimbabwe would not qualify for permanent residency and would subsequently be disenfranchised. This is estimated to have affected anything from up to people. It was also decreed that a voter shall cease to be on the voters roll if they cannot provide proof of residence in the constituency in which they registered continuously for a period of 12 months.
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It was the skeleton in the cupboard that successive South African leaders desperately tried to keep locked up. The document slams the Zimbabwean electoral process, and says that given the intimidation of the opposition and the redrawing of electoral boundaries to favour the ruling Zanu-PF, the elections were neither free not fair.
Graham says that if the Khampepe report had been released at the time, it could have had far-reaching implications for Zimbabwe and South Africa. At the seminar, Graham said that an earlier solution to the political crisis in Zimbabwe could have meant fewer refugees streaming into South Africa — something that later exacerbated the devastating xenophobic violence in the country.
Following the election and especially in the run-up to the poll, repression against the opposition continued and was well documented by local media in Zimbabwe as well as international human rights groups.
The fiasco of the elections, where Tsvangirai was said to have won the first round and then refused to participate in the run-off due to severe repression against the opposition, plunged the country into an unprecedented political and economic crisis. It also recalls controversial business deals like the selling of a mass surveillance package to former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi between and , which was suspected to have been used to spy on citizens.
The Freedom House report states that South Africa has made very little impact in this regard. According to the report, one exception is the strong stance South Africa has taken on the rights of marginalised groups like the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT community, both domestically and in Africa — r eferring to a February statement by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. Graham laments the general lack of action on human rights globally by a country that initially created a lot of expectation worldwide following its struggle against apartheid.
Morgan Tsvangirai slammed South Africa for scuppering his chances of becoming president. An earlier solution could have meant fewer refugees streaming into South Africa.
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