Ramaphosa Supports ZANU PF’s Role in South African Elections

May 11, 2024
President Mnangawa and Ramaphosa | Report Focus News
President Mnangawa and Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has robustly defended his party’s decision to invite Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU PF, to observe the forthcoming elections on 29 May, amid sharp criticism from opposition groups.

Opposition parties in South Africa have questioned the prudence of involving Zimbabwe’s ZANU PF, given its contentious history of electoral manipulation. Critics argue that the presence of observers from a party accused of undermining democratic processes in its own country could taint the legitimacy of the South African elections.

However, speaking to supporters during a campaign stop in Atteridgeville, President Ramaphosa asserted that the role of ZANU PF would be purely observational and not interfere with the electoral proceedings. “An observer mission is not an interfering mission, it’s to come and see. They don’t interfere, they don’t get involved, they just come and observe,” he stated, emphasizing the distinction between observing and participating.

The South African leader further reassured the public and international community of the election’s integrity, pointing out that other reputable global bodies, including the United Nations, the African Union, and the European Union, will also oversee the electoral process. “We are transparent, there’s nothing hidden,” Ramaphosa added.

Yet, this reassurance has not quelled the disquiet among the opposition. The Democratic Alliance’s MP Solly Malatsi condemned the invitation as a “desperate” attempt by the ANC to cling to power. Meanwhile, Mmusi Maimane, president of Build One South Africa (BOSA), argued that the well-documented history of electoral fraud by ZANU PF casts a long shadow over their suitability as observers.

Vuyo Zungula, leader of the African Transformation Movement (ATM), has taken formal steps by writing to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), expressing his concerns that ZANU PF’s involvement could compromise the perceived fairness and credibility of the upcoming elections.

As the election date approaches, the debate over the inclusion of ZANU PF as observers continues to stir political tensions, highlighting the challenges of maintaining electoral integrity in a region with a complex history of democratic governance.