EU authored SADC controversial report on Zim polls

THE controversial SADC Elections Observer Mission preliminary report was first edited by the European Union (EU) before it was publicly read by the now discredited Dr Nevers Mumba as if it was a product of the regional team observer mission when it was not, The Herald can reveal.

Throughout the election period, the EU was pulling the strings, manipulating and egging some equally zealous regional observers to synchronise their elections report with the ultimate objective of producing an outcome that completely discredited the polls.

Known Zimbabwean critics and intelligence agents from the Western world were deployed to play the role of referee from Brussels, reportedly with the instruction to gather damning information around the elections.

While people like Dr Mumba were recruited months before the elections, they had a series of meetings with their EU handlers just before the polls, which revealed the deep links that were existing between a supposedly independent SEOM and the Western world.

A series of physical and telephonic conferences began just a few days before the August 23 elections, with the EU playing the role of Dr Mumba, whose sympathy for the opposition in Zimbabwe is now a matter of public record.

On August 20, the EU chief observer, Mr Fabio Massimo Castaldo, who had arrived in the country on August 19, 2023, hosted Dr Mumba and Professor Attahiru Jega from the Carter Centre at the Bronte Hotel in Harare for extensive deliberations on the polls that were only three days away with no incidences of the hoped for violence.

Sources said an overzealous Dr Mumba, who had been directly recruited by controversial British Academic Professor Stephen Chan, proposed that the preliminary reports by all election Observer Missions should address concerns raised by various interlocutors including the opposition and sidestep the issue of violence, since there was none.

At the same time, the EU had to strategically retreat into the shadows as its pronouncements on the polls would be dismissed considering the frayed relations between Brussels and Harare.

“The proposal was adopted and Mr Castaldo was asked to lead in the crafting of a preliminary statement, which was supposed to be used as a template by all groups observing the Zimbabwe elections, including Dr Mumba’s SADC observer mission. A suggestion was made to remove “peaceful elections” as a key element from the observation guidelines.

“Mr Castaldo instructed all EU core team members to share memos from the observers deployed countrywide with the SADC observer mission chairperson Dr Mumba,” the source said.

Mr Castaldo is a well-known rabid critic of the Zanu PF-led Government. In 2021, he advocated for the imposition of the Magnitsky type sanctions on Zimbabwe, a type of punitive measures that are being used by the Western world to punish countries that do not pander to its whims.

The sources added that an emotive Dr Mumba suggested that the observers should pay particular attention to the activities of non-governmental organisations that were not under its payroll such as Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ), apparently, at the behest of opposition leader Mr Nelson Chamisa.

Subsequent to that meeting Mr Castaldo issued a broadcast notice to all observers to video record FAZ members and their activities as evidence of intimidation, again with the hope of sullying the polls, even though FAZ activities were within the remit of law and are not limited to Zimbabwe.

According to the sources, Mr Castaldo was also behind and supportive of a parallel voter tabulation exercise by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and the Election Resource Centre.

Alert authorities in August thwarted the subversive attempt by ERC and the ZESN to illegally announce the harmonised election results, from the groups that are under the payroll of Western countries.

The sources added that a day after the meeting at Bronte Hotel, Mr Castaldo spoke to Dr Mumba and Mr Jega from the Carter Centre, in a telephone conference where the trio agreed to be with Mr Chamisa on the day he voted in Harare’s Kuwadzana suburb.

However, noting the potential for controversy that the trio’s trip to Kuwadzana could trigger, Mr Castaldo, later decided to go to Hopley Farm, but with the message to the SEOM to post video recordings of CCC supporters who had been instructed to chase away FAZ members from polling centres.

Sources said the recorded videos were sent to Mr Roger Clayton (EU security expert) who, in turn, sent them to activists to post on social media, as they mounted an election day effort to discredit the polls.

A day after the elections Dr Mumba reportedly sent the SADC draft statement to Mr Castaldo three times for editing and only after a thorough process, was it then certified for announcement.

In the run-up to the elections, The Herald revealed how the EU Observer Missions and the Carter Centre were biased towards the CCC and structured their questions to the public in a leading manner to provide a basis for the denouncement of the polls.

The EU was both a referee and player during the elections as they nicodemously funded Mr Chamisa’s election campaign, while at the same time claimed the role of an unbiased umpire.

Herald

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