Southern African Development Community condemns the use of the SADC brand image in the article titled, “Stray and we will deport you: Charamba warns election observers”
On 11 August 2023, in Gaborone, Botswana, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat noted with great concern a story captioned “Stray and we will deport you: Charamba warns election observers” which attributed to the Herald Newspaper of Zimbabwe, and which appeared on the online “newsdzezimbabwe”
website on 9 August 2023.
The story is accompanied by a photographic image of an individual dressed in the SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) regalia. The article alleges ulterior motives and pro-opposition agenda by foreign election observers reported to have
deployed to Zimbabwe for the forthcoming elections scheduled for 23 August 2023. The story also mentions specific institutions and observers who are said to have deployed to Zimbabwe to discredit the country’s elections. None of the institutions or individuals named are linked with SADC or SADC’s official election observation mission (the SEOM). The use of the image of an individual wearing the SADC election observation regalia in the story, unfortunately, associates SADC with the observers who the story alleges “are audaciously interfering in the country’s electoral processes”. The use of the SADC branded image to accompany this story places SADC in a negative context and has the unfortunate potential of putting personnel in the service of SADC at risk.