Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is “deeply appalled” by a damning report on Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections that has only just been released in South Africa.
In his first public response on Wednesday to the Khampepe report, which was released after a lengthy court battle, Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) leader accused Pretoria of “wittingly or unwittingly aid[ing] the subversion of democratic processes in Zimbabwe”.
The South African judges who observed the run-up to Zimbabwe’s 2002 presidential elections declared in their report that the vote “could not be described as free and fair”, but Pretoria went on to endorse longtime leader Robert Mugabe’s victory.
Tsvangirai has never accepted his defeat in that poll, or in subsequent elections.
His MDC-T party says Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF have stolen all elections since 2000. A verdict on a court challenge to the 2002 poll result had still to be delivered, the opposition leader said.
In a statement to the press on Wednesday, Tsvangirai said: “We are deeply appalled by [the report] and we unreservedly deplore what was done by the South African government to try to sweep this report under the carpet.”
The Mail & Guardian waged a long battle to get the Khampepe report published after spirited resistance from the South African government.
The long-awaited report by then Pretoria high court judge Dikgang Moseneke and Johannesburg high court judge Sisi Khampepe determined that the 2002 elections were not “free and fair”.
The 27-page document found the running of the three-day voting process, excluding delays in urban areas Harare and Chitungwiza, to have complied with the legislative requirements and to have been free of violence and/or apparent ballot tampering.
Tsvangirai, who lost presidential elections last year to Mugabe yet again and whose popularity is now on the wane, said: “Zimbabwe’s problems could have been solved in 2002 if this damning report had not been swept under the carpet.”