Zim opposition, civil groups dismiss AU, SADC as 'toothless bulldogs'

Zimbabwean civil society organisations (CSOs) and opposition political parties have reportedly described the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) observer missions as "toothless bulldogs" following their endorsement of the just ended disputed elections as free, fair and credible.

According to NewsDay, the CSOs and the opposition political parties said that the regional blocs were in the southern African country just to "rubber stamp the status quo".

They claimed SADC and the AU had "always been bedfellows with Zimbabwe's ruling elite since 2000".

Both SADC and AU endorsed the country's elections despite international observer groups, which included the European Union, raising various concerns.

According to the Associated Press, the EU said that "a truly level playing field was not achieved" the country's first election without former president Robert Mugabe.

The EU mission pointed out the "misuse of state resources, instances of coercion and intimidation, partisan behaviour by traditional leaders and overt bias in state media" but described the election as largely peaceful in a break from the past.

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