Sanef: Zim Khampepe Report legal hurdles 'unnecessary'

A report by then High Court Judge Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe was released this week.

FILE: The report has revealed that the 2002 Zimbabwe elections were not free and fair. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) says although the Khampepe Report on Zimbabwe's vote rigging has now finally been released it's still unacceptable that the media had to go through a five year lengthy legal fight for transparency.

A report by then High Court Judge Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe was released this week after the Mail & Guardian finally won its case in the Constitutional Court.

The report has revealed that the 2002 Zimbabwe elections were not free and fair.

It also said more than a 100 people mostly opposition politicians died in the run up to the elections which were believed to be politically motivated killings.

Sanef chair Mpumelelo Mkhabela says former president Thabo Mbeki who sent the two judges to observe the elections used tax payer's money and the public had the right from the start to know the results.

"Our constitutional democracy is based on openness, transparency and the right for citizens to know. Even though we would like to celebrate the achievements as a result of this judgement, we do so with heavy hearts because it was unnecessary to go through all this."

JOICE MUJURU STILL ZIMBABWE VP DESPITE REPORTS

At the same time, Zimbabwe's Vice President Joice Mujuru is reported to still be in her position despite reports that she had stepped down.

Mujuru, who's been vice president for 10 years, has been under sustained attack from a powerful faction in 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and from the president's wife, Grace.

Independent news website ZimEye reported on Tuesday that Mujuru had tendered her resignation to Mugabe.

This was picked up by a number of media agencies.

However, according to a report on state ZBC radio, Mujuru was actually the acting president while the first couple were in Zambia to attend the funeral of President Michael Sata.

Six of Mujuru's allies have recently been forced out of their jobs as party provincial leaders in what analysts say will severely weaken the vice president's position ahead of the congress next month.

The succession battle went into overdrive in October when Mugabe's wife, Grace, attacked Mujuru, accusing her of plotting to oust Mugabe at a party congress in December.

She has made no formal response to Grace's accusations.

Throughout the opening of Parliament ceremony last month, Grace exchanged no words with Mujuru, who sat next to Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, smiling and sharing jokes.

Mujuru, Mugabe's deputy both in the party and government for the last 10 years, has been a frontrunner to succeed Mugabe but faces a stiff challenge from Mnangagwa, an enduring politician known as "The Crocodile".

During more than three decades in power in the southern African country, analysts say Mugabe has neutralised challengers by playing off Zanu-PF factions, and may be doing the same with his wife's sudden emergence into front-line politics.

Mujuru, a battle-hardened veteran of the 1970s liberation war with a nom de guerre that means 'Spill Blood', won Mugabe's support for the vice-president post in 2004 but now appears to be in a precarious position ahead of this year's congress.

The political infighting comes against a backdrop of economic strife, with impoverished Zimbabwe starved of foreign investment and donor funding.

Ambitious election promises made by Mugabe a year ago to create millions of jobs by 2018 and promote the needs of blacks has backfired as a policy to force foreign firms to sell majority stakes to locals has hammered investment and output.

In his 25-minute speech, the veteran leader threatened action against blacks who derailed the empowerment drive - known locally as indigenisation - by acting as fronts for foreigners.

"It is depressing that some of our people have turned themselves into mere fronts for foreign investors, thus defeating the fundamental objective," Mugabe said.

"Decisive action shall indeed be taken to address these negative developments."