9th August 2007
Dear President Mbeki
We are encouraged by your stated desire to promote free and fair elections in Zimbabwe next March. However we fear that the reality on the ground is not conducive to these aims for the following reasons:
1. The Registrar-General’s Office is conducting voter registration in a way widely perceived as partisan.
2. The registration excludes Zimbabweans who have fled the country – a large proportion of the electorate.
3. We are disturbed by the declaration by the armed forces that they will ensure Robert Mugabe is re-elected.
We doubt whether there can be free and fair elections unless these matters can be addressed and call on you and other SADC leaders to take steps to ensure democratic space in Zimbabwe and that Zimbabweans in the diaspora are allowed to vote.
We are disturbed at numerous reports of ill-treatment of Zimbabwean asylum seekers in South Africa, most recently by vigilante action by white farmers. We urge you to afford protection to our people in their time of trial. We fear that the situation in the region may not be conducive to the holding of the World Cup in 2010 if Zimbabwe is allowed to descend even deeper into crisis.
The Zimbabwe Forum and Zimbabwe Vigil