Tsvangirai wants SA judges' report on 2002 poll

The Democratic Alliance in South Africa on Tuesday said it will raise a number of questions in Parliament about an independent delegation, made up of two judges, dispatched by President Thabo Mbeki to observe Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is to turn to South African courts to force President Thabo Mbeki to hand over a report by two judges on Zimbabwe’s disputed election, reported ThisDay newspaper on Tuesday.

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change has said it will help its challenge to the outcome of the poll.

Tsvangirai challenged the 2002 election results and delegations from the Commonwealth and Norway reported that the poll was neither free nor fair. However, a South African election monitoring team said the poll was “credible and legitimate”.

Tsvangirai’s legal team told the newspaper that the report by Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe would help his case.

Moseneke is a Constitutional Court judge and Khampepe works in the Transvaal division of the High Court.

ThisDay said that Tsvangirai’s attorney, Matthew Walton, had sent a letter to Mbeki in March requesting copies of the reports. The paper said that Mojanku Gumbo, Mbeki’s legal adviser, confirmed that the judges had been sent to Zimbabwe by Mbeki to assess “the period leading to the 2002 presidential election” and that their advice “was never meant for the general public”.

Walton told ThisDay that the reports were “powerful documents” because they had been written by “independent observers of high standing”.

DA chairperson Joe Seremane said the fact that Mbeki appointed a secret delegation suggests the president lacked faith in the other observer missions from South Africa.

“The presidency’s reluctance to make the report public suggests that the conclusions reached by the judges contradict South Africa’s official position on the outcome of Zimbabwe’s 2002 presidential elections,” Seremane said.

He dismissed the government’s claim that the report could not be released as it was never meant for public consumption, and constituted correspondence between heads of state.

“Public funds were in all likelihood used to fund this delegation, and because the presence of the judges raises questions about the government’s oft-stated position on the elections, answers need to be provided,” Seremane said.

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