On Friday Constitutional Court
Judge George Chiweshe dismissed an MDC-T court bid querying the figures of
police officers who voted in the special ballot held on July
The MDC-T, as well as its elections official Morgan Komichi,
also wanted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to provide the party with a
list of all those who voted in the just-ended special vote.
for both sides had to argue out their cases Thursday, after the Commission’s
lawyers from the registrar-general’s office reneged on a previous mutual
agreement to make the list available to the MDC-T.
But Komichi told SW
Radio Africa that Justice Chiweshe dismissed the application with costs: “We
were told the reasons for the ruling will follow.”
said he was not surprised by Chiweshe’s decision: “We knew even as we filed
our application that our courts have become very unprofessional at election
“It does not matter whether you have all the evidence and
witnesses to support your case, our judges will rule in favour of ZANU PF.
But we will continue fighting our cases in the courts because we are a
Komichi said it was clear from the reluctance to
supply basic voter information, such as the list, that ZEC was being
“This is not the ZEC we should have. It is obvious that
someone else is running things and this is the army and the central
intelligence just as they did in the last election in 2008,” Komichi
The MDC-T was challenging the 69,000 ballot papers prepared by the
ZEC for the special vote for the police, comparing it with the figure of
44,000 provided by the Treasury for the number of police officers paid a
South African President Jacob Zuma will on
Saturday host a meeting with his regional counterparts that make up the SADC
Troika, to discuss Zimbabwe’s looming elections.
The presidents of
Mozambique, Tanzania and Namibia will join Zuma at the meeting in Pretoria,
according to Zuma’s International Relations advisor, Lindiwe
“The heads of state will go through the reports already coming in
from the ground, from political parties and the SADC election observers who
started arriving this week,” Ms Zulu said. “Complaints are being made… but
it’s difficult to assess them without a meeting.”
The meeting comes
amid reports that Zuma, as the SADC appointed facilitator in Zimbabwe’s
political crisis, is ‘unhappy’ with the current situation in Zimbabwe. Zulu,
whose phone again went unanswered on Friday, has been quoted as saying that
Zuma and his facilitation team is “concerned because things on the ground
(in Zimbabwe) are not looking good.”
Saturday’s Troika meeting is
expected to tackle some of the complaints Zulu has referred to. This
includes the concerns raised by the MDC-T, which wrote to SADC urging it to
meet and review the situation in Zimbabwe and whether it will result in a
credible poll. MDC-T Secretary General Tendai Biti said during a press
conference that his party has had no choice but to return to SADC, because
of ZANU PF’s ongoing refusal to implement the key changes that would ensure
the July 31st poll is credible.
Civil society groups and international
human rights groups have also been pressuring SADC over Zimbabwe’s polls.
Amnesty International last week also wrote to SADC, as well as to the Africa
Union (AU) warning that the credibility of the July 31st poll is in
Political analyst Professor David Moore said SADC is unlikely to
call for the election to be cancelled, saying there are few other options
for Zimbabwe at the moment. He explained that SADC has not yet set the
precedent of actively interfering in political processes in its member
states, and it won’t set the precedent with Zimbabwe.
“This is the
thing about domestic policies and SADC will always hesitate in interfering
where they are expected to. So I think SADC is likely to examine its
electoral guidelines (at the meeting), but it won’t call the election off,”
He explained that SADC leaders are more likely beginning to
put together a post-election plan for Zimbabwe, which could result in
another Government of National Unity.
“If the evidence is
overwhelming that there is a groundswell of support for the MDC, but the
election doesn’t reflect this, then SADC will have to come up with a plan.
So they are likely discussing the possibility of a better transitional
arrangement than before,” Moore said.
Meanwhile ZANU PF Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa will be attending an AU meeting in Ethiopia this weekend,
where is he expected to give his party’s own view on the current electoral
situation. Zimbabwe was invited by the AU commission to attend the meeting
that will also discuss forthcoming elections in Madagascar, Togo and Mali.
Professor Moore said that Chinamasa’s mission to the AU was to preempt what
was being discussed by SADC this weekend, with ZANU PF determined to have
the poll on July 31st.
The MDC-T on Friday claimed
that Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede has created three to four different
voters roll databases, for the purposes of rigging the upcoming
Tendai Biti, the secretary-general of the MDC-T, told
journalists at Harvest House that the notorious Israeli company Nikuv, that
has offices in Harare, has been helping Mudede in manipulating the voters
Biti said the way Mudede planned to rig was that on inspection,
voters would be able to see their names on the roll but come election day,
their names would not appear and they would not be able to vote.
counter this, each party must sign off a voters roll that would be used on
election day. As such its been two weeks since the closure of the voter
registration exercise on the July 9th,’ Biti said.
He continued: ‘By
now the RG’s office must have finished collation and consolidation of the
voter roll and handed it over to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Biti explained that ZEC were therefore obliged to invite
all parties contesting the poll to inspect and audit the voters roll, adding
that the electoral body was also obliged to give the parties electronic
versions of the roll.
‘We need copies that are searchable and
analysable and not like in 2008 where we got CD copies that could not be
used to analyse anything,’ Biti said.
With less than two weeks before
the elections, Biti bemoaned the upsurge of violence perpetrated by known
ZANU PF activists against their supporters.
He said in most of the cases
that the party has recorded, their supporters had been able to identify
their attackers and report them to the police, but nobody has been
‘We have noticed the rescucitation of militaristic bases used
in 2008 spreading like wildfire throughout the country. We have also
reported all of these cases to the electoral courts, but nothing again has
happened. It appears this electoral court only appears on paper and nothing
else,’ he said.
The MDC-T has also noticed violations of people’s
rights by ZANU PF by forcing people to attend their star rallies, namely in
Marondera, Chitungwiza and Chinhoyi.
All these rallies were addressed
by Mugabe and in all the towns he has been to shops, market stalls, schools
and all businesses were forced to shut down and people frog marched to
attend the star rallies.
‘No one should be coerced to attend political
rallies. This is because ZANU PF thrives on violence. The DNA of ZANU PF is
violence and the centre of gravity for that party is violence and
‘People have the right to freedom of assembly and expression
and these should be respected by all parties including ZANU PF,’ Biti
The involvement of Israeli company Nikuv in the
election process is again under scrutiny after the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) wrote to the registrar general’s office demanding that its
contract be terminated.
The MDC said Nikuv had been involved in tampering
with the voters’ roll.
It has also emerged that former home affairs
minister Dumiso Dabengwa, who is now a member of the opposition, knew the
tender was awarded to Nikuv.
The circumstances under which the Nikuv
tender was awarded is now being questioned.
Dabengwa left Zanu-PF in
2008. He later revived the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu), which he
now heads. Zapu is now in a coalition for the election with Welshman Ncube’s
Asked for clarity on the Nikuv tender, Dabengwa confirmed that Nikuv
was hired in 2000 when he was a minister “to specifically upgrade the
computers for the purposes of computerising the central registry, birth
certificates, passports and national identity documents”.
cards “The only time they [Nikuv] attempted to get involved in electoral
processes was when they recommended in 2000 that they would want to
introduce voting cards for people, which would last for four elections,”
However, the government had not adopted the proposal. “If
ever they were then later used for other electoral processes by the state,
that is not to my knowledge.”
The MDC letter was written by the
party’s secretary general, Tendai Biti, to the registrar general’s office,
and hand-delivered last weekend. It was also copied to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and home affairs
The party said it was “concerned about electoral fraud [by
Nikuv] through manipulation of the voters’ roll, and the issuing of
multiple national identity cards to individuals that would then allow them
to vote twice”.
Nikuv, which has previously been investigated before by
the Mail & Guardian over allegations of its involvement in election
rigging in the region, is registered as Nikuv International Projects, and
has been managing Zimbabwe’s voters’ roll since 1994, when it was
controversially awarded a tender to upgrade the computer systems at the
registrar general’s office.
There have also been allegations that Nikuv,
which is headquartered in Herzliya, Tel Aviv, is a front for Israeli
But Nikuv has denied the allegations, saying it is being
pulled into the “dirty mud that comes with the holding of
'Never been involved in politics' Nikuv’s Ron Asher this
week spoke out for the first time and said that the company has never been
involved in politics.
Asher said: “It is election time and people are
trying to throw mud from this side and the other side. We are legitimate and
professional. We have never been involved in any politics, not now or
He said that Nikuv works with public sectors across the world, but
declined to say which government bodies it works with in
“Approach our customers and look on our website,” he
The website says that the company was established in 1994 by a
group of professionals with an accumulated experience of 45 years in the
field of population registration and electoral systems in Israel.
says it specialises in population registration, birth and death
registration; marriage/divorce registration; identity documents; immigration
and citizenship; passports; and electoral systems.
sevices The electoral service it provides includes voter registration, ward
demarcation, the creation and printing of the voters’ roll by polling
stations, a central information centre and the management of election
A senior Cabinet minister who asked to remain anonymous told the
M&G last month that Nikuv has been operating in Zimbabwe for more than
10 years and is mainly based at the National Registration Bureau, located in
Borrowdale, Harare, next to the army headquarters.
The bureau is the
national civic registration centre and falls under the registrar general’s
The source claimed that Asher works directly with registrar
general Tobaiwa Mudede.
However, in a July 15 letter addressed to
Biti, which the M&G has seen, Mudede denied that Nikuv is in a position
to manipulate the voters’ roll.
“Nikuv has no control over our voters’
roll. The mandate to register voters and compile the voters’ roll rests with
the registrar of voters.”
MDC's demands In the letter to the
registrar, the MDC also wanted to know whether Nikuv was hired after an open
The MDC demanded that the registrar general also inform
it if Nikuv has indeed been working on the voters’ roll, the tender numbers
and details, and the extent of its work and what projects the company has
A source within the prime minister’s office told the M&G
that the party is now considering taking the matter to court before the
elections to seek an order to bar Nikuv from the electoral
Dr Ibbo Mandaza, a political analyst and head of policy
research institute Sapes, said Nikuv’s operations in Zimbabwe are “difficult
“I did receive some information way back in 2000 that there was
a Israeli company involved in electoral processes in the country, [but] it
never occurred to me at that stage that it was Nikuv,” he
Mandaza said concerns about Nikuv’s operations were
RAU interdicted Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe High Court
on Wednesday interdicted nongovernmental organisation Research and Advocacy
Unit (RAU) from launching and publishing its full analysis of the voters’
roll at a Harare hotel on Wednesday.
Judge Joseph Mafusire upheld an
urgent application by Mudede that claimed that RAU is attempting to usurp
the constitutional powers of the registrar general’s office and intends to
cause “chaos and anarchy within our electoral system”.
preliminary report covered by the M&G two weeks ago, the RAU asserted
that a million Zimbabweans who are dead or have left the country are still
on the voters roll; that the roll lists 116 000 people older than 100; that
there are 78 constituencies with more registered voters than adult
residents; and that two million voters under the age of 30 are
In a written response, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
chairperson Rita Makarau said that the ZEC had raised certain issues about
the RAU’s “assumptions”, but has not yet received a response.
HARARE - There are escalating fears of vote rigging that could
lead to President Robert Mugabe winning with the outcome likely to result in
violence and chaos, analysts say.
Critics have expressed fears that
the country’s chaotic and drawn-out transition was entering an unexpected
period of uncertainty.
Five presidential candidates are standing on the
July 31 election, seen as a crucial test of the inclusive
Only two candidates, President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, are reckoned by polls and analysts to have any
chance of success and the lack of any precedent means that few are daring to
predict the outcome.
With Mugabe and Tsvangirai in a statistical dead
heat, the leading two will go through to a second round of voting next month
if no one manages to garner over 50 percent of the July 31 vote
A sudden surge in support for Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist
and Prime Minister in the inclusive government, has led to widespread
concerns that the military is plotting to hijack the secretariat of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti
claims happened during the special vote and retain their preferred man in
The vote, intended to unify this long-divided nation could slip
further into uncertainty, as a heated tug-of-war is likely to emerge,
analysts have warned.
The outcome of the election could potentially
open a new chapter for the country but also increasing the risk of political
violence in this onetime economic powerhouse that has long since fallen on
Ibbo Mandaza, director of Harare-based think-tank Sapes
Trust, said Zanu PF has lost its social base over the years and its survival
was purely on the basis of its reliance on an unevenly strong
“Zanu PF’s only social base is the State; powerful
disproportionate State which controls the media and the security,” Mandaza
told a recent civil society conference in Johannesburg.
that 60 percent of the newly registered voters were likely to vote against
Zanu PF given the tendency for new voters to go against the incumbent,
adding Mugabe has won elections through rigging since 1996.
postulated that the stakes are so high that if elections are allowed to be
rigged, the outcome will result in violence, chaos and the poll will be
disputed hence a possible military coup, forcing regional and international
intervention and the possibility of another GPA.
Political violence has
long been a staple here, with attacks by pro-Mugabe militia groups
punctuating public life for more than a decade.
Mandaza said: “If the art
of rigging which remains the sole survival kit for Zanu PF is exposed and in
the absence of any method to ensure their victory, the party may call off
the elections by unleashing violence and chaos to disrupt the
Describing the poll as a “high stakes election” where Zanu PF
actors individually or collectively could not let go, rigorous scrutiny of
the electoral process was needed to get Zanu PF out of office, Mandaza
Analysts warn that the obtaining situation in Zimbabwe indicates
that the election is heading for dispute.
terrain is constant flux of shifting sands,” said McDonald Lewanika,
executive director of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. “Elections are only one
thing that is supposed to be uncertain.”
He said the election has been
blighted by scarcity of financial resources, side-stepping of Parliament and
presidential decrees on election date, “questionable” Constitutional Court
rulings and a barrage of cases before the Con-Court challenging the decision
to hold the elections on July 31.
“There has been no transparency in the
drawing up and implementation of procedures that govern the conduct of the
election which has seen the use of presidential decree using Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act through statutory instruments SI 85 and 86,”
“We have also seen the disregard of Sadc resolutions in
Maputo calling for the inclusive government of Zimbabwe to undertake
immediate measures to create a conducive environment for the holding of
peaceful, credible, free and fair elections.
“Zimbabwe is not heeding
calls from the region; laws are selectively aligned while pieces of
legislation like Posa, Aippa which curtail free political activities are
still in place.
“There hasn’t been fair and equal coverage of contesting
candidates and plural sources of information in the media, while political
parties seem to be purveyors of journalists’ intimidation and
Political analyst Brian Raftopolous believes Zanu PF will
steal victory riding on a restructured political economy and the threat of
Raftopolous said this was the most likely scenario based on the
inclusive government’s failure to fully implement political and
institutional reforms in accordance with the Global Political Agreement
(GPA), “hence Zanu PF is able to manipulate the electoral process to ensure
He said Zanu PF will steal the election through subtle
means such as the manipulation of the voter registration exercise, lack of
media and security reforms, amongst other crucial reforms.
outright victory by Tsvangirai was also a likely scenario, with that victory
facing resistance from the military.
Raftopolous intimated that there
were clear signs that power might not be handed over easily. A former
trade unionist, Tsvangirai has weathered the vicissitudes of this country’s
turbulent politics for years, including an attempt on his life and treason
The third possible scenario is a possibility of another
negotiated settlement as the country may have another hung
“This scenario emanates from a totally disputed election
marred by intimidation and violence,” Raftopolous said. “This is likely to
force intervention by Sadc and the African Union (AU) and another negotiated
settlement will be the solution.”
The long-awaited vote has been a
significant international concern, prompting Sadc to warn officials in
Zimbabwe to fully implement the GPA and to say it was ready to take
The Mugabe government, however, has been
relatively impervious to international pressure, brushing off repeated calls
to stage a fair contest.
Ndlovu-Gatsheni, head of the Archie Mafeje
Research Institute of the University of South Africa (Unisa), said given the
prevailing conditions on the ground, Zimbabwe cannot expect conditions for
free and fair elections in the remaining two weeks.
He reiterated the
need to make this an “issues-based election”, urging the electorate to
seriously consider what the political parties are promising in their
manifesto to avoid a “choice less democracy” after elections.
expressed worry that most people seem to believe that the holding of the
forthcoming election will be the end of Zimbabwe’s problems, yet, “it was
just a stepping stone towards democracy.”
Community Updates on the General Political
Zaka Ward 7 Village head Muzivi from Muzivi village in
ward 7, called for a meeting today where he declared that everyone in the
area should vote for ZANU PF or risk being chased away from the
Shamva North Ward 5 ZANU PF youths moved around ward 5 today,
removing all MDC-T posters and replaced them with President Robert Mugabe’s
Gutu West Ward 29 ZANU PF supporters, led by Kudakwashe
Mutatu moved around Mushaviri township in the afternoon and tearing down all
MDC T posters.
Ward 5 ZANU PF supporters are carrying out their
rallies everyday in the area where they are forcing every villager to
attend. People are complaining that they no longer have time to attend to
their day to day activities.
Chipinge South Ward 28 An MDC T
supporter, Sam Dendera was heavily assaulted by ZANU PF supporters today.
The perpetrators have been identified as John Sibanda, Samson Sibanda,
Hardlife Khumbula and Lovemore Simango. He was assaulted for refusing to
wear ZANU PF regalia.
Shava South Ward 20 In Shamva on 17 July,
Minister Nicolas Goche addressed farm workers in the area where he
threatened all anti -ZANU PF supporters with expulsion from the farms if
they do not renounce their political parties before the elections. To prove
to the farm workers that he was serious, the Minister went on to force
Gerald Muzanenhamo and his family off the farm accusing them of supporting
MDC T. The police have since been notified of the incident but no action has
been taken yet.
Zaka Central Ward 9 Martin Matondo, who resides in
ward 7 was threatened with death by a group of ZANU PF supporters led by
Alfonse Mutovhonwa a well-known ZANU PF activist. Matondo an ardent MDC
supporter was given 7 days to join ZANU PF, failure to do so will result in
him being abducted and killed. The police have since been informed of the
Chegutu West Ward 28 An MDC aspiring Councillor, Mr.
Dzeka was assaulted by ZANU PF members on 17 July in ward 28. The victim was
accused of campaigning for MDC in the area.
- Chief Fortune Charumbira, president of the Chief’s council, has instructed
headmen and village heads to bar villagers from attending MDC Masvingo West
candidate Takanayi Mureyi’s rallies in his constituency.
thousands of party supporters at Charumbira Shopping Centre, a few
kilometres from the chief’s homestead, Mureyi lambasted Charumbira for
violating the new constitution that bars traditional leaders from meddling
“MDC is not happy with what is happening in this
constituency,” he said.
“The leader of traditional chiefs has ordered all
village heads to call for meetings to tell you that do not attend our rally
today or else you will be sacked from the village.
“I want to tell
you that Charumbira is not allowed to meddle in politics and tell you which
political party to attend rallies, he actually has no power and even the
village heads to sack you from the village for supporting or attending our
“Do not be afraid of Charumbira he is just a toothless bulldog
who wants to abuse his traditional leader position,” said
When the Daily News crew arrived in Charumbira, village heads had
convened meetings with their subjects accompanied by Zanu PF ward leaders in
a bid to keep people away from the MDC rally.
However, thousands of
villagers defied the chief and attended Mureyi’s rally that had to be moved
from 12pm to 3pm.
Mureyi said he had alerted Sadc observers in the
province to take note of the interference by Charumbira and his traditional
HARARE, July 18 (Xinhua) --
Over 50 percent of Zimbabwe's security forces failed to cast their ballots
in a two-day early vote because of delays in the printing house, a
government minister said Thursday.
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister
Patrick Chinamasa told reporters that only 29,000 police officers, soldiers
and other officials, out of an estimated 69,000, managed to vote in the
special vote that ended Monday.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
acknowledged the chaos, saying it will give the security personnel a second
chance -- to vote as the general public do on July 31. But the decision
remains questionable as they might be assigned on duty far from the
districts they are registered to vote.
ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau said
she has spoken to the country's police chief, urging him to deploy police
officers in such a way that they will be in their wards of their
registration to perform duties so that they are able to vote.
making efforts to make sure that this time around we do not have these same
problems," she said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who will contest
Mugabe in the upcoming poll, said he is "disappointed in ZEC" for failing to
cope with the initially 87,000 applicants for the early voting.
ZEC cannot handle 87,000 voters, how will it handle 6 million voters on July
31?" the prime minister asked before his supporters in the campaign
Zimbabweans will go to the polls on July 31 to choose a
president, more than 200 National Assembly members, and nearly 2, 000 local
councilors. Mugabe and Tsvangirai remain the leading candidates for the
After the country's last elections in 2008, which were marred
by disputes, violence, and allegations of vote-rigging and intimidation,
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a bickering unity government.
IN NEWS, POLITICS, STATEMENTS / ON
JULY 19, 2013 AT 11:53 AM / 132 103 9 1 The Election Resource Centre adds
its voice to the observations on the shambolic nature of the special voting
process that was conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the 14th
and 15th of July 2013.
The election process for Zimbabwe’s civil
servants, including police details and soldiers who will be on national duty
on the actual polling day on the 31st of July, was fraught with
irregularities that have cast doubt on the ability of ZEC to deliver and
conduct an efficient, free, fair and credible election.
effect is that less than 10% of those eligible to vote were able to exercise
their democratic and constitutional right to vote. The shortcomings are
unacceptable, coming as they do when Zimbabwe is expected to conduct a
credible election that produces an acceptable outcome.
unacceptable process continues the same chaotic pattern that began with the
first and second voter registration process where Zimbabweans were not
sufficiently afforded the opportunity to participate in this crucial
If this trend continues, we can be sure that elections on 31
July will be anything but credible. There were reports of voting starting
late in most polling stations mainly due to the late arrival of ballot
In a press conference on Sunday the 14th of July 2013, ZEC
Deputy Chairperson, Joyce Kazembe admitted that the delivery of ballot
envelopes to polling stations on the first day were delayed because the
electoral body had not foreseen such logistical challenges – that the
printers would delay printing the ballot envelopes.
In fact these
ballot envelopes ought to have been in the districts the day before the
start of special voting so that they could be delivered promptly on the
first day or even before that.
The Commission also intimated that the
delay in the in the printing was a result of the nomination court challenges
that still have to be resolved, something that impacted on the printing of
The conduct by the electoral commission is in
contravention of Section 81E (1) of the Electoral Act, which states that ZEC
has to set up special voting stations at the district centres, and that
these stations must be ready for voting on the first day fixed for special
However, many voting stations across the country were not ready
on the first day, and on the last day of voting (the 15th of July, the
process had not ended on time, with voting exceeding well into the
The electoral body also failed to provide adequate information to
the public and to the persons voting during the special voting process
because the body has an obligation to inform the nation on how many people
successfully applied to vote, the number of applications approved and the
number of ballot papers that were reproduced.
The provision of such
information serves to nullify unforeseen episodes of confusion. And such
information should be in the public domain.
Section 81C of the Electoral
Act states that persons wishing to cast a special vote must apply for
authorization to the commission at least 14 days before first special voting
day. The Chief Elections Officer must number all such applications for
Added to that, Section 81D (1) states that the Chief
Elections Officer must notify successful applicants and provide them with
written authorization to cast special votes. He or she must inform
applicants when and where they must cast their vote.
late provision of ballot envelopes to the voters in this process raises more
questions than answers.
If ZEC had paid due diligence to fully complying
with the requirements at law, the process of special voting should have been
a smooth sailing affair, with persons whose applications had been approved
just casting their votes without the delays that were
However, all these challenges that ZEC has and is facing as
they conducted the special voting points to one thing – that the election in
Zimbabwe was rushed, without due care being taken to adequately preparing
and laying ground for the conduct of an efficient and credible
The fact that ballot papers were delayed because some of the
challenges with regards to candidate nomination for some wards and
constituencies have not been resolved, point to the fact that the election
itself was fast tracked.
The administrative challenges also give credence
to the fact that elections in Zimbabwe should have been process driven, not
date driven. Here we note the words of Justice Malaba in his dissenting
comments on Constitutional Court judgment CCZ 1/13 that “Choosing the
precise date to hold the first elections is therefore a matter of utmost
importance to be handled with the greatest care.
challenges also give credence to the fact that elections in Zimbabwe should
have been process driven, not date driven.
As it stands, ZEC now finds
itself with a mammoth task of administering these crucial elections in a
sober manner, with the electoral body now hamstrung and held hostage by acts
of political expediency, and has been overtaken by its inability to put in
place mechanisms for the conduct of a credible poll.
It is also
poignant to point out that the special voting process was conducted amidst
claims by some of the other political players alleging that the numbers of
security personnel in particular, police who applied for special voting,
were excessive given the actual size of the police.
Fears also abound
that the security personnel are being intimidated into voting for one
Currently it is not clear what is going to happen to
those voters who were unable to cast their vote from 14-15 July. Are they,
like many former “aliens”, and like those who were unable to register due to
the same logistical failures by election administrators, also going to lose
their right to vote?
Who else will be disenfranchised due to
Yet we note that those chosen to be electoral
commissioners in Zimbabwe have been chosen “for their competence in the
conduct of affairs in the public or private sector” Constitution of Zimbabwe
Section 238 (4).
Since the beginning of this electoral process, our
electoral administrators have demonstrated a worrying level of incompetence.
And we are left with some questions.
If ZEC failed to print and
deliver only 80 000,00 ballots and operate a few hundred polling stations
properly is it going to be able to print millions of ballots papers and
dispatch them to the 10000 polling stations that it has identified for the
Clearly there is a procurement problem at ZEC and as election
stakeholders, citizens and voters; we demand full disclosure as to what
happened with the printing of ballot papers and ballot
Reports that in cases where there were misprinted ballot
papers, polling officers told voters to vote anywhere reflects disquieting
conduct which has been evident even at the highest levels since the
beginning of this process.
Namely that our election administrators are
more concerned about legality ‘ ticking boxes’ so that they can move on to
the next step, never mind the quality of the process.
registration had to stop even if people were not registered because
continuing it would have broken the law even though terminating it violated
voters’ rights to choose.
Resultantly, we urge ZEC to make sure that they
put in place mechanisms and procedures of ensuring that the harmonised
elections are credible, and conducted in an efficient manner.
notes that the SADC spearheaded negotiations in Zimbabwe which culminated in
the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU), had as its major
signpost, the creation of enabling environment for free, fair and credible
elections in the country, itself the panacea to the long standing challenge
of legitimacy that dogged the governance body-politic of the country in
We are two weeks away from the Election Day and prospects for a
credible election are diminishing by the day.
embarrassing as it may be we urge election officials and other political
stakeholders such as the government and the courts to seriously consider
postponing these polls until all outstanding issues such as nomination court
challenges and legal challenges to the special voting have been resolved and
until ZEC can show that it is ready from an administrative and operational
point of view to conduct credible polls.
Here we cite the example of
Nigeria in April 2011 when the Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC) postponed elections due to logistical failures not once but twice. In
the end that election was one of the better elections in Nigeria’s
We urge ZEC to go back to the president and other stakeholders
and request for a change in the election date in order to deliver a quality
election. Otherwise ZEC risks further shame and embarrassment and the
continuing disenfranchisement of more and more Zimbabweans.
to admit to these challenges and request for such postponement, we are left
with suspicions that ZEC is a complicit actor in all this confusion and
In the meantime, ZEC owes Zimbabweans some answers with regards to
the following questions, and has an obligation to clarify the same
How many applications for the special voting were successful, by
• How many ballots were printed?
• How many ballots were
sent to the special voting station?
• How many votes were cast by polling
The ERC also implores ZEC, in the name of transparency and
accountability, and taking into consideration the controversy surrounding
special voting, that a transparent process be done when ZEC crosses out the
names on the ward-based polling lists for the July 31st elections as
required by the law (Section 81D (3) of the Electoral Act.
A new project that encourages
Zimbabweans to do their bit to ensure that presidential election results are
not manipulated on July 31st has been launched.
The purpose of the
campaign – named Simukai Protect Your Vote – is “to place the results of the
Presidential campaign in the public domain in real time,” according to
rights group Sokwanele.
The process involves three steps, with Sokwanele
urging voters to check and note the identity number of the polling station
at which they intend to cast their vote.
“After you have voted remain
at the polling station until voting is complete. Once the results are posted
outside the station, as is legally required, you can claim your power by
sending an SMS of the results of the presidential election to one of the
numbers: +27 713 563 219 or +27 713 562 087.”
The format for the SMS
should be the ID number for the polling station, followed by the number of
votes won by Morgan Tsvangirai and the number of votes won by Robert Mugabe:
ID _ _ _ _ MT _ _ _ _ RM _ _ _ _.
There should be no spaces and there
must be 18 characters, the group says. More details are available on the
group’s website www.simukai.org/
2008 Zimbabweans waited five weeks before the results of the disputed
presidential election were announced, which many believe was won by Morgan
Speaking to SW radio Africa about the Simukai campaign,
Nixon Nyikadzino of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said: “This is a noble
campaign which Zimbabweans should support by going to vote for their chosen
“Secondly, it is important for every voter to know whether
their vote has translated into their aspirations. That can be achieved by
waiting to see the total number of ballots cast as well the number of votes
cast for each candidate,” Nyikadzino said.
He added: “Waiting at the
polling station is also important in terms of building a critical mass that
can speak out against any possible manipulation of the results.
the years it has become clear that Zimbabweans cannot trust
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede to announce credible results.”
June, Crisis in Zimbabwe launched its popular Feya Feya campaign aimed at
encouraging Zimbabweans to go and vote, and also to call for free and fair
“Our Feya Feya Defend Your Vote’ campaign complements the
‘Simukai’ project in that we are all calling for people to actually go and
vote and be vigilant to possible theft of the election result.
already we are mobilising citizens who will not wait for Mudede to announce
the result but will demand the release of those results, and reject that
result if it is manipulated, and does not reflect the voting patterns,” said
HARARE — Five political parties on Friday
endorsed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) founding president Morgan
Tsvangirai for president ahead of the July 31 national elections.
parties are the Democratic Party, Voice of the People, a faction from Zapu,
the Zimbabwe Organized Open Political Party and the United People's Party,
that announced their decision to support Mr. Tsvangirai's presidential bid
at a news conference held at the MDC-T's Harvest House
The five parties join former Finance Minister Simba
Makoni's Mavambo Kusile Dawn party and Zanu Ndonga that have already forged
an alliance for the forthcoming polls dubbed the "coalition for
Leader of the other MDC formation Welshman Ncube is in another
coalition with Zapu led by former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso
UPP leader, Reverend Kuratidza Sandati, told the news
conference that a grand coalition against President Robert Mugabe and his
Zanu PF party is the only way to remove the former revolutionary party from
Voice of the People leader, Moreprecision Muzadzi urged other
opposition parties, including the Ncube-led coalition, to join forces with
Mr. Tsvangirai to mount a strong challenge against Mr. Mugabe and his
ZOOP president Gibbs Paul Gotora said his party's decision to back
Mr. Tsvangirai in the July 31 polls was informed by the poor performance of
the economy that he blamed squarely on Zanu PF's misgovernance.
Ndonga vice president, Gondai Paul Vhutuza, confirmed that his party was
supporting the prime minister's candidature adding that reports in the
Herald newspaper that his party's chairman Reketayi Semwayo, who is standing
on an MDC-T ticket for the Chipinge South parliamentary seat, was
representing no-one but himself in the Tsvangirai led coalition a few weeks
ago were false.
Council Nziramasanga, deputy president of the Zapu
formation led by Ray Ncube said his party will not keep quiet if this year's
elections are rigged.
He criticised Dabengwa for denying Mr.
Tsvangirai the chance to occupy State House after the former home affairs
revealed recently that he backed Simba Makoni in the 2008 polls to divide
the votes in favour of Mr. Mugabe.
Meanwhile, MDC-T general secretary and
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, also present at the news conference, told
journalists that his ministry is yet to find money to fund the
Biti said his department has so far managed to secure only $20
million to finance the July 31 elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission says it requires at least $132 million to effectively conduct the
WASHINGTON — Zanu PF has set the Zimbabwe election
campaign trail on fire with the party releasing blistering adverts the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says denigrate the image of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is portrayed on state-controlled television
and radio as a womanizer.
The MDC-T says most of the adverts, which do
not focus on important local issues affecting the electorate, are not fit
for public consumption.
The party says it paid the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) thousands of dollars for its own adverts which are
currently being slotted at the same time with the stinging Zanu PF adverts.
Here is a sample of one of the Zanu PF adverts being aired on
MDC-T deputy spokesman Joel Gabhuza says his party believes that
such adverts are likely to energize its base instead of having a negative
effect on the MDC-T leader.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo was not
reachable for comment.
But party activist Morris Ngwenya said these
adverts are meant to portray a true image of the prime minister, who was
once caught up in a web of women following the death of his wife, Susan, who
died in a car accident in 2009.
Zimbabwe's first independent
television station was due to go on air on Friday in a challenge to the
30-year state broadcasting monopoly controlled by President Robert
By Peta Thornycroft and Aislinn Laing in Johannesburg 6:17PM
BST 19 Jul 2013
The station, 1st TV, will be provided by a satellite
feed from outside Zimbabwe using a free network received by an estimated
700,000 homes across the nation.
The state Herald newspaper reported
that George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesman, said South Africa will be asked to
stop broadcasts believed to be beamed from there because they “hurt
Zimbabwean interests” ahead of elections on July 31.
“We are alive to
this connection and we will be taking decisions mindful of the need to
cripple this pirate television broadcast station,” he said.
says it is not using any South African systems to get its programmes,
including news and current affairs, to Zimbabwe. It is aiming for three
million viewers, compared to the 350,000 who watch Mr Mugabe’s state
television at peak times.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has one
TV channel and four radio stations and is accused by independent monitors of
falling foul of its licence, which demands it provides fair news.
TV’s executive producer, Andrew Chadwick who worked briefly as a
speechwriter for Mr Mugabe’s election rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, said: “1st
TV took a decision not to involve any corporation connected to the South
Africa government, to avoid any complications because we are aware of South
Africa’s critical role as facilitator in resolving the political crisis in
“Therefore we are not up linking out of South Africa. Our
signal goes to Europe and bounces back to Zimbabwe via a commercial
He has recruited two well-known Zimbabwe media personalities
to the news team, Violet Gonda, from SW RadioAfrica, which broadcasts radio
news from London to Zimbabwe, and Themba Hove, a former top broadcaster from
the state television station who left the corporation several years
Many Zimbabweans were bereft last month when the South African
Broadcasting Corporation obeyed a court order to encrypt signals from its
three TV stations.
Until then these stations were available
free-to-air to Zimbabweans who had a satellite dish and a cheap Chinese
The multi party political agreement which brought Mr
Tsvangirai into government in 2009, says that there should be no external
radio stations beaming in to Zimbabwe.
When Star-FM launched on June 25, 2012, it was the first time
in 30 years that Zimbabweans, who have known no other radio besides the
state-controlled Radio Zimbabwe, had the chance to call in to a radio
station to express their views.
"For the first time in my life I've
heard statements on radio attacking President Mugabe. I've never heard that
before," said Rashweat Mukundu, a research and monitoring consultant with
nonprofit International Media Support, of the station.
On July 31,
Zimbabweans will go to the polls in a "vastly improved" media environment
compared to previous years, Mukundu says. "Journalists are free to travel to
any part of Zimbabwe to cover a story and no one is in police custody," he
told me on the phone from Harare.
Still, the majority of Zimbabweans lack
access to plural, independent sources of news, and legal and physical
threats to journalists impede their ability to report freely. Independent
and international media have questioned the country's readiness to hold an
organized election, but the majority of citizens are dependent on strictly
controlled state media to provide information.
The licensing of talk
radio Star-FM suggests only a cautious and carefully controlled
liberalization of the airwaves. Star-FM is owned by the Zimbabwe Newspapers
Group (Zimpapers), a government company, and at present can be heard only in
Zimbabwe's two major cities, Harare and Bulawayo. While it hosts hotly
contested debates between the country's two major political parties--Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Tsvanigrai --it reaches a minority of English-speaking, urban dwellers. The
state-run Radio Zimbabwe broadcasts nationwide in both English and
vernacular and is the primary source of news for the vast majority of
citizens. A box on the front page of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
website features "President R.G. Mugabe quotes."
By far the most critical
voices are stations located beyond Zimbabwe's borders. SW Radio Africa bills
itself as the "independent voice of Zimbabwe," but is located in the United
Kingdom, while Studio 7 is a division of the Voice of America. Both stations
broadcast on short wave and depend on listeners having access to short-wave
receivers, which are expensive and not easily available. Efforts to
distribute free solar-powered short-wave radios were crushed by Zimbabwean
authorities earlier this year.
In the print arena, independent titles
such as Newsday, the Financial Gazette and the Zimbabwe Independent provide
more even-handed coverage of the news, but they are written in English, sold
mostly in urban areas, and at a cover price of US$2 are too expensive for
most citizens. The government mouthpiece The Herald is available countrywide
Mukundu says political parties still have low tolerance for
journalists, as evidenced by the language party leaders use when referring
to the media. "They're not used to being under scrutiny," Mukundu said of
political candidates. "If state media attend an [opposition] MDC rally and
if independent journalists attend a ZANU-PF rally--the hooligans from either
side will chase them away."
Assaults on journalists are still common:
CPJ documented four cases in June in which reporters were attacked
apparently in connection with their coverage of the country's two major
In response to threats against journalists, the
Zimbabwean Union of Journalists' secretary-general, Forster Dongozi, said
this year that the union would approach political parties to demand an end
to the intimidation of journalists by "media terrorists" who create a
"climate of fear" in which the media must operate.
project coordinator at the independent Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
(MMPZ), agrees that there is "significant freedom" among some of the private
media, but he told CPJ that a lack of reform means that journalists are
still subject to laws that threaten them with jail for undermining state
security or the military or insulting the president. "So if you report on
corruption, you could be deemed to be undermining the authority of the
state," Moyse said. "There is self-censorship--people don't investigate or
comment as they should."
Critical for a credible election in Zimbabwe is
the registration of voters and the creation of an accurate voters' roll--a
process that has been dogged with problems. According to media reports, some
two million Zimbabweans under the age of 30 are unregistered. The Research
and Advocacy Unit, an independent non-government organization, found that
the voters' roll included a million people who are either dead or have left
the country, and in 78 constituencies out of 210 there were more registered
voters than adult residents.
The inability of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to deliver ballot papers and voting equipment in time to
allow special voting for police and other eligible officials on July 14 and
15 led the independent, nonprofit Election Resource Centre to call for the
elections to be delayed to allow for adequate logistical preparation.
According to a South African Press Association and Associated Press report,
the current levels of disorganization make it impossible for the country's
voters to cast their ballots at 9,600 polling stations on election day. In
the words of an editorial in the independent South African Mail &
Guardian newspaper: "Given that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was unable
to organize a smooth vote for just 80,000 over two days, how can it be
expected to handle six million voters in one day come July
Analysis of preparations for the election has not found its way into
Zimbabwe's dominant, state-controlled media. On June 28, the MMPZ criticized
the "sunshine journalism" of the state-controlled media for its "superficial
and uninformative coverage" of mobile voter registration efforts. And
according to its recent Election Watch report, the government-aligned media
ignores many of the human rights violations reported by private news
outlets. But there is no mechanism to compel powerful media institutions
like the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation to give better coverage or equal
coverage to all parties, Mukundu says.
"Media is important for this
process," he says. "They have a role in providing technical information that
you need to hear from government and the Electoral Commission -- information
about polling stations for example. You can't get this from your friends.
It's a challenge for citizens to get information about the
Journalists and employees of state media groups have been asked
to nail their colours to the mast.
Sources at the Herald claimed
Zimpapers chief executive Justin Mutasa brought the campaign regalia to the
company last week and instructed managers to issue the clothing to
Management at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
and Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited (Zimpapers), the two state media
organisations largely controlled by the information ministry, recently gave
all employees Zanu-PF campaign T-shirts and baseball caps, and instructed
them to wear them at rallies when on duty.
Several ZBC and Zimpapers
journalists covering President Robert Mugabe’s rallies were this week
spotted wearing Zanu-PF campaign clothing.
Sources at the Herald claimed
Zimpapers chief executive Justin Mutasa brought the campaign regalia to the
company last week and instructed managers to issue the clothing to
Critics in civil society said the supplying of Zanu-PF
regalia gives credence to suggestions that both institutions are part of
Zanu-PF’s propaganda machinery.
Mutasa, who has on several occasions
been seen clad in Zanu-PF regalia, was not immediately available to
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has since 2008 been
pushing for the reconstitution of the ZBC and Zimpapers, accusing them of
In 2010, the Cabinet ordered Webster Shamu, the minister
of media, information and publicity, to reconstitute the boards of the ZBC,
but this has not been done.
In a meeting this week with Southern
African Development Community Parliamentary Forum observers for the
election, Tafataona Mahoso, the chief executive of the Zimbabwe Media
Commission, defended state media, saying it is wrong to say it is partisan
in favour of Mugabe.
Some delegates raised questions about why the ZBC
always portrayed Mugabe and Zanu-PF in a positive light, but did not do the
same for the MDC. Mahoso said state media is defending national objectives
as enshrined in the new Constitution.
He said state media would not
sit on its laurels if some political players, particularly in the MDC-T,
were opposed to land reform, the indigenisation exercise and economic
and fair elections in Zimbabwe, due at the end of the month, are possible
despite a chaotic early vote and concerns from regional powerhouse South
Africa, the African Union said.
"According to our observers on the ground
we believe that it is possible to have free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
But we cannot guarantee that it will be the most perfect or optimum of
situations," said Aisha Abdullahi, AU commissioner for political affairs on
The AU announcement comes after South Africa warned there were
challenges in the run-up to the vote.
A scheduled early vote by the
country's security forces had turned chaotic as thousands of police and
soldiers slated to be on duty on election day were unable to vote by the
time the two days of polling closed on Monday evening.
officials blamed the disruption on problems associated with the printing of
ballot papers although the stations had opened late and many lacked
indelible ink, stamps, voter rolls and ballot papers and boxes.
environment in Zimbabwe so far reassures us that that the conditions are
good for the election to be held on July 31," Abdullahi said during a press
conference at the agency's headquarters in Addis Ababa.
"The Peace and
Security Council has noted the levels of preparation for the election and
confirmed that the funding gap has been filled," she said, referring to the
panel in charge of enforcing union decisions.
President Robert Mugabe
called early polls, hoping to prolong his 33 years in power, despite demands
for reform by his archrival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
of regional mediator the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will
meet in South Africa on Saturday to discuss the upcoming
The July 31 vote is the first since elections in 2008
which led to the formation of a coalition government between President
Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai but was marred by deadly violence.
South Africa's chief envoy on Zimbabwe's political crisis
conceded that there are challenges in the run-up to key polls, a day before
regional mediators meet to discuss the vote.
Zimbabwean security forces couldn't draw their mark in chaotic early voting
three weeks before the July 31 elections to end a four-year unity
"The process has got challenges, we can't deny that because
we've seen what info has been coming out during the special vote," said
Lindiwe Zulu, who heads the mediation process after deadly polls in
During early voting last Sunday and Monday polling stations opened
late and many lacked indelible ink, stamps, voter rolls and ballot papers
"If things didn't go right in the special vote, those things
need to be looked into by the time of elections on July 31," Zulu told
President Robert Mugabe called early polls, hoping to prolong his 33
years in power, despite demands for reform by his arch rival Prime Minister
But Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said this week's "disorganised" early vote showed the country's
election commission wasn't up to the task.
Leaders of regional
mediator the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will meet in
South Africa on Saturday to discuss the upcoming elections, said
Presidents of South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Namibia would
hold talks after the SADC observer mission deployed in Zimbabwe this
"They'll just be talking about Zimbabwe, really," said
The 15-member block brokered the power-sharing deal between Mugabe
and Tsvangirai in 2009, a year after around 200 opposition members were
killed in election-related violence.
But there is no love lost
between Mugabe and the SADC at the moment.
He threatened to leave the
bloc if it meddled in Zimbabwean affairs and scolded South Africa's top
diplomat "stupid and idiotic" in an election rally earlier July.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has offered to “revisit”
current sanctions against Zimbabwe if upcoming elections are transparent and
peaceful, a US official said Thursday.
In a letter addressed to
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Kerry makes it clear that the US is
“prepared to revisit our bilateral relationship” -but only if the country
implements political reforms, said Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the
The US would also expect the government to allow civil
society to “operate freely” and for the July 31 elections to be “credible”
and “reflect the will of the people.” Harf could not say if there had been
a response to the letter.
“We’ve made it clear that this is a
critical moment,” Harf said.
She noted ongoing “deep” concerns about lack
of transparency in preparing for the elections and partisan behavior by
Mugabe, 89, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, faces his
longtime political enemy Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, 61, in the polls,
which are to end their power-sharing government, formed in 2009 after a
US sanctions enacted since 2003 affect about 100
individuals, including Mugabe; about a dozen state-owned enterprises,
including Oryx Diamonds; and dozens of other enterprises and
Those on the list are prohibited from travel to the US and from US
business dealings. The sanctions are aimed at the government and its
supporters who the US says are undermining democratic institutions and
process in Zimbabwe
(PF) officials are becoming increasingly vocal in expressing their doubts
that President Robert Mugabe can win the forthcoming election - as the
strongman upon whom they have all depended for so long becomes increasingly
frail and his public pronouncements increasingly incoherent.
and indeed all his senior officials, have failed to articulate a coherent
message about what Zanu (PF) will do to turn around the fortunes of Zimbabwe
– notably the 95% unemployment rate, the collapse of agriculture and
industry, the dearth of foreign investment and rampant corruption. Instead
they have resorted to primitive insults about the physical appearance of his
opponent Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Impeccable sources told The
Zimbabwean this week that even long-time party spin doctor and Mugabe
confidant, Jonathan Moyo, believes the president will lose the election to
“We also know that there are many other senior people within
the party and within CIO who believe Tsvangirai will win,” said the source,
adding that former Information Minister Moyo had been overheard saying
Tsvangirai would easily win over half of the votes needed to become the next
“He is disillusioned with the manifesto that he was pivotal in
writing and says that everybody knows the indigenisation policy only
benefits Zanu (PF) officials and their already wealthy cronies. He said that
the party’s representatives at COPAC failed to get their changes to the new
constitution approved by the other parties, which proves they have lost
their power and that, internally, the majority are resigned to Mugabe losing
the Presidency. Moyo said Tsvangirai would win because only he will create
jobs for Zimbabweans and everybody knows it,” said the source.
2009, when he was an independent MP after being expelled from Zanu (PF) for
plotting Mugabe’s ouster, Moyo wrote in the local media that under Mugabe’s
rule the economy had melted and that the Zanu (PF) leader was “now too old,
too tired. Mugabe now lacks the vision, stature and energy to effectively
run the country, let alone his party.”
Political analyst and former
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn executive Ibbo Mandaza said “As long as Mugabe is the
Zanu (PF) presidential candidate the party will lose heavily to MDC-T and
Tsvangirai since no-one will vote for a 90-year-old man.
lecturer Greg Lennington said Zanu (PF) members were not telling their
leaders and the world publicly that the party will lose because they fear
losing what they have acquired, like farms. “People within Zanu (PF)
recognise their leader is old and needs to rest, thus this is a source of
Well-known businessman Alex Mashamhanda said: “Judging
by public opinion, MDC-T is going to win.”
GUTHRIE MUNYUKWI, SENIOR ASSISTANT EDITOR • 19
JULY 2013 8:33AM
HARARE - Daily News' senior assistant editor Guthrie
Munyuki talks to Bulawayo Agenda director Thabani Nyoni. Below are the
excerpts of the interview.
Q: What drives Bulawayo Agenda and what
are its objectives?
A: Bulawayo Agenda was formed in 2002 as an
organisation that sought to expand and democratise the public in political
For the past 10 or so years our activities have been around
public meetings which serve the following functions which is information
dissemination and public education but also create a space where citizens
engage with policy makers or bearers to raise concerns around issues that
are taking place or to get feedback in terns of what’s going on or also as
consultative forums to what’s happening.
Bulawayo Agenda has even
gone further to do training aimed at community capacity building and I am
happy to say a number of those trainings have produced people that are now
councillors, MPs and some are now leaders of civic society groups, like
Q: How effective have been these programmes?
A: You get a
testimony by attending our public meetings. On average every month you have
200 people attending a public meeting in Bulawayo.
Q: What is the current
situation in the city and the region with regards to persistent water
A: The issue of water in Bulawayo is very complicated. Someone
once said you could actually form a political party and win on the basis of
the issue of water not only in Bulawayo but Matabeleland.
There was a
plan as early as 1912 to make sure that the problem is resolved and the plan
was around what is now popularly known as Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project
which could not take off because this is a huge project which should have
The challenge has been that there has not been
commitment from successive governments to deal with the issue.
only movement we began to see was during the inclusive government (era)
where it acknowledged that Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project was a
We saw the ministry of Water Resources and
Development led by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo holding a consultative conference
here in Bulawayo around (on) how to resolve the water crisis and moving on
to form an advisory council made of different stakeholders to help him come
up with solutions and then further coming up with a short term solution
which is connecting Bulawayo reservoirs to Mutare water
Right now the pipeline is connected but we are having
generators and they are not able to pump enough water into the reservoirs
because we don’t have adequate electricity and the country is not producing
adequate electricity as well to cover all those new projects so which
complicates issues further especially considering that the dams we are
talking about are dams that even if you have rainfall, the carrying capacity
is not able to supply the city for the whole year.
So part of the
challenge is that we need new dams and we need new water reservoirs that
expand the capacity.
We have a population of over two million citizens
and when these dams were built I don’t think Bulawayo had over 500 000
citizens in 1978.
That is when the last dam was built but that tells you
the population has grown but nothing has been done to increase the carrying
capacity of the current dams.
Q: How difficult is it to convince
government to save the region and what is the biggest problem surrounding
this lack of water transformation and development in general?
Successive governments have not only failed to address the water problem but
they have also been in a State of denial.
I am sure you have heard even
in the current government where some sections were saying the people in
Matabeleland are lazy and that their problems are not special.
they have failed to appreciate that when the country came out of the
liberation war into independence there were five year development plans that
were done that were funded by government for reconstruction and development
in this part of the country.
Because of the (Gukurahundi)
disturbances those projects were not implemented and those funds never
If anything, those disturbances continued to destroy the
remnant of the infrastructure that had remained. That worsened the levels of
desperation and frustration within the communities.
Q: What role are
you playing to mitigate the current situation both in Bulawayo and
A: I think civil society has worked very hard to
make sure that people of Matabeleland realise that they are part of Zimbabwe
and that their narratives should be part of the Zimbabwean
Last year we attended a meeting with United Nations human
rights envoy ambassador Pillay and there was a national agreement that there
is need for a particular presentation particularly focusing on the issues
that took place in Matabeleland and how they continue to affect the
political social and economic landscape today and also make sure that we
have active citizenship.
Part of the challenge has been the apathetic
behaviour of citizens who are not willing to be part of the public faces or
political faces or who continue to have a protest mentality which sometimes
is not really proactive.
And civil society has been working very hard
to build that social capital and bring it back and make it alive so that the
citizens can begin to be part of the solution to the current
A: How do you describe the operating environment in this part
of the country?
Q: The operating environment has been challenging
here but also the operating environment has been challenging
You operate in an environment where the state does not
legitimise the good work that civil society organisations do but only
criminalises and persecutes the work.
So the environment has been
Also there is intimidation that citizens are being mobilised
to believe that when they work with civil society organisations they are
working with enemies of the state. This is the narrative that we saw during
In the context within which we are operating, there are
people who are not free to express themselves for fear of arrest,
persecution, torture or even abduction.
That environment continues
especially as people continue to be reminded that the war can start again
and for them the war they understand is when there are people with guns,
That tends to affect the impact of the work that we do
especially in terms of engaging with duty bearers, government and also
engaging with right holders and mobilising them into the system.
The trial of human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa
resumed in the Harare Magistrate’s Court on Friday, four months since her
arrest for allegedly ‘obstructing the course of justice’.
arrested on March 17th and charged after allegedly insulting police officers
who were arresting her clients at the time.
Her clients, Thabani Mpofu,
Warship Dumba, Felix Matsinde and Mehluli Tshuma, are all from the Prime
Minister’s office and were arrested on allegations of impersonating law
enforcement agents and compiling dockets about corrupt state
Mtetwa was eventually released on $500 bail after spending
eight days in detention. Observers believe that Mtetwa’s arrest was meant to
intimidate her and instill fear among rights lawyers in the
Her case has bene dragging on ever since, with the respected
lawyer usually appearing in court on Saturdays. The case
Meanwhile, five MDC-T activists who were arrested over two
years ago in connection with the death of Glen View policeman, remain locked
In total 29 activists were arrested in May 2011 when a police detail,
responding to reports of political disturbances in Harare’s Glen View area,
was attacked, resulting in the death of Inspector Petros
Tungamirai Madzokere, Yvonne Musarurwa, Rebecca Mafukeni, Last
Maengahama and Simon Mapanzure remain locked up after they were deemed a
flight risk and held in custody when their colleagues were bailed last
The 29 deny the murder charges brought against them, and there is
yet to be a decision on the case. A High Court Judge on June 12th reserved
judgement and postponed the matter indefinitely.
HARARE— On a Wednesday evening, two weeks before
Zimbabwe’s national elections, the Book Café on Samora Machel Avenue in
Harare is abuzz.
Inside, the loud music playing in the dimly-lit venue
appears not to bother the 300-odd people mingling freely, although they have
to raise their voices to hear each other.
The drawcard is Zambezi
News, a satirical project by Magamba Network, a Zimbabwean spoken-word and
hip-hop organisation, which is premiering its "election special" — a
26-minute DVD that draws viewers’ attention to the importance of voting on
It is unusual for anyone in Zimbabwe to take a humorous approach
to the elections, which in past years were characterised by violence,
intimidation and running battles between supporters of President Robert
Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for
Mutheau Maitha-Bomba, the executive producer of
Zambezi News, says the "election special" aims to present real political
issues in a satirical way to "leave audiences thinking critically about
their present political circumstances".
The DVD parodies the
state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), which is biased in
favour of Mr Mugabe. It features fictional news presenters Mandape Mandape
(Tongai Leslie Makawa), Jerome Weathers (Samm Farai Monro) and Kudzaishe
Mushayahembe (Michael Kudakwashe) who battle to dominate the news bulletin.
They haphazardly present the news live on air and cut away to ludicrous
reports, spoof music videos and cheeky adverts.
The special also takes a
stab at jargon often used in ZBC news reports, such as "imperialists",
"sanctions" and "at this juncture".
In one of the scenes, Mandape
justifies multiple voting by the old guard as "a right earned by many years
of being in power" and has a warning for those clamouring for dead people to
be removed from the voters’ roll. "In our culture, you don’t disturb the
dead," he said.
The DVD also has reports of voters who have cast their
ballots before voting has even started — an apparent reference to prevalent
fears of vote rigging.
But the satirical programme has come at a cost and
its production is a risk in a country where Zanu (PF) is averse to media
Mr Kudakwashe says he has been approached by men in dark suits —
meaning members of state intelligence — who warned him over his
"They told me they would deal with me and that they know what we
were are doing. I was told to stop," he says.
The cast members of
Zambezi News believe, however, that this was evidence they were doing
Plans are now under way to hold more screenings of the
election special in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mutare ahead of the
Clips will be distributed via social media platforms such as
WhatsApp and YouTube, in addition to the 12,000 DVD copies that producers
are distributing free of charge.
The country’ newest TV station, 1st
TV, which will broadcast from Friday, will also air Zambezi News. The
station’s broadcast will be accessible to Zimbabweans with Wiztech decoders
who have been affected by South African signal distributor Sentech’s recent
removal of the three South Africa Broadcasting Corporation channels from the
free-to-air satellite platform.
On July 31st, Zimbabwe
is due to hold its first presidential election in six years. It will be the
first since the chaotic 2008 election and the first under the country’s new
Baba Jukwa taking notes in Nyoka and Kunyepa satire of a
In theory, voters
should have a chance to remove their 89-year-old leader, Robert Mugabe, who was
once a respected anti-colonial guerrilla who has devolved into a despot during
his 33 years at the top of Zimbabwean politics.
In practice, it’s not
that simple. Many expect Mugabe to delay, cancel, or rig the vote. Even if
Mugabe loses, many fear violence.
Amid this uncertainty,
something strange has happened. For the last few months, someone calling
themselves “Baba Jukwa” has been posting damaging leaks from Mugabe’s Zanu PF
party on a Facebook page.
No one knows who Baba
Jukwa is (the name means “father of Jukwa”). They claim to be a high-ranking yet
disillusioned figure in Zanu-PF, but there is little in the way of proof — some
have doubts he or she is even in the country.
Regardless of who they are, Baba Jukwa certainly seems to know a
lot. Every day the account publishes tales of official corruption and brutality,
often leaving the phone numbers of politicians so that readers can call them to
Perhaps the most famous post so far warned of an assassination
plot against Edward Chindori-Chininga, a Zanu-PF politician who released a
report on theft from diamond fields. Chindori-Chininga later died in a car
crash. His family insists he was murdered.
The public has taken
notice too. At the time of writing, the Baba Jukwa Facebook page has over
256,000 likes — a big number in a country where only 4.5 million people are
connected to the Internet — and the page has seen international attention from
the BBC and the Economist.
The Mugabe faithful and
Zanu-PF elite are reportedly enraged — a pro-Mugabe page called “Amai Jukwa” has
been set up, and Mugabe himself has reportedly offered a $300,000 reward to
anyone who can reveal Baba Jukwa’s identity.
While it’s tempting to
take Baba Jukwa at face value, that we know so little about them is concerning.
It’s unclear, for example, if Baba Jukwa is connected to the rival Zimbabwean
party, Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.
Baba Jukwa said last month that they knew where Minister of Youth Development
Saviour Kasukuwere’s children went to school and said Kasukuwere should not be
surprised if one “disappears.”
According to a
screenshot of the message featured at Vice (the message itself appears to have
been deleted), Baba Jukwa had accused Kasukuwere of involvement in the death of
Chininga, and apparently felt now was the time for violence. “It’s now fire with
fire,” Baba Jukwa wrote, “blood with blood.”
Business Insider reached out to Baba Jukwa to try and find out
more. [Grammar and spelling have been lightly edited for
Business Insider:Why did you
start publishing Zanu-PF secrets?
Jukwa:This is not only revealing secrets, but
letting people know the truth about evil Mugabe and his inner
BI:Where do you
get your information from?
BJ:I have a lot
of information which I gathered while I was in the government. I was also a
close ally with Solomon Mujuru [Zimbabwe's former army chief and former leader
of Mugabe's guerrilla forces] so we knew every operation and I am connected
everywhere within the party structures and government. I also appreciate
contribution of some of my friends who are still in the system as they provide
every detail to the people (Baba Jukwa) is the people of Zimbabwe not me as I
represent them in what they are fearing and I won’t rest until I take these evil
people to prison.
BI:Are you just
one person or many?
BJ:Yes I am one
BI:What do you
aim to achieve?
BJ:I want to
create a freedom speech for everyone in the country and let the country and
world know of these evil people.
support Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC?
don’t support both Tsvangirai and MDC but realistically and for the sake of
change he is a stepping stone to a better Zimbabwe.
based in Zimbabwe or abroad?
BJ:I am based
in Harare [the capital], not only in Zimbabwe but across from the State
BI:It has been
reported that Robert Mugabe is offering a reward for your identity. Are you
concerned that you might be revealed? What would happen if your identity is
BJ:I am not
even moved because these Mugabe people are not as intelligent as they claim, but
they are only killers good at assassinating progressive forces within Zanu-PF
and vulnerable citizens opposing them.
BI:What do you
expect will happen in Zimbabwe’s next election? Will it take
want it to take place, but Mugabe will back out in the last minute because if an
election is held he will be lucky to get 20% votes as people [are joining the
rebel group] Vapanduki (they have revolted against his evil
BI:Mugabe is 90
years old, and you have reported a number of concerns about his health. How long
do you think he can continue to lead the country?
BJ:This is what
will happen: He won’t complete 2013 as head of state, he will be beaten by
Tsvangirai or his evil security chiefs will force him out led by Mnangagwa
Emmerson, Defense Minister; Sekeramayi Sydney, State Security Minister; Chiwenga
Constantine, army General Chief; and Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of
controversial indigenization policy.
BI:In one post you threatened to abduct the
children of Minister of Youth Development, Saviour Kasukuwere. A lot of
observers were upset by this threat of violence. Would you resort to violence
against children for your cause?
that was a slip up which I apologized for, but these people always push us
further as they also abduct our family members and I thought SADC [South African
Development Community], AU [African Union] and international community will feel
and see the emotions behind that.
But I am not a violent
person, but concerned father in need of a better society. That is why that
statement was retracted and my apology still stands to the kids of Kasukuwere
and his wife. But the father has to pay for his sins as he has killed, tortured,
victimized and raped.
BI:What do you
hope for Zimbabwe’s future?
BJ:I hope for a
united Zimbabwe where people are identified under an umbrella word “ZIMBABWEANS’
not on tribal lines. I hope everyone will forgive and forget for a better
future, but I insist the word Zanu-PF should be banned from our Zimbabwean
history as it will be giving people sad moments. We need to erase it like what
[Germany] did to Hitler’s evil issues.
Jukwa is hoping for, they are certainly aiming high. In a follow-up message,
Baba Jukwa revealed that they have begun fund-raising to “push my struggle
forward.” The money will be used to grow teams on the ground so that every
region will be covered for daily information, Baba Jukwa
“Those who by the exercise of abilities become princes, obtain their
dominions with difficulty but retain them easily, and the difficulties which
they have in acquiring their dominions arise in part from the new rules and
regulations that they have to introduce in order to establish their position
In years of conversation Johns Hopkins Professor of Applied Economics Steve
Hanke has persuaded me of the value of these words of former West German Finance
Minister Karl Schiller (who also served as President of the Economic Development
Corporation for Equatorial and Southern Africa), “Stability might not be
everything, but without stability, everything is nothing.”
Media coverage to the contrary, this might as well be the campaign theme of
Zimbabwe’s 89-year old President Robert Mugabe who is seeking re-election on
July 31st on a platform that celebrates his country’s unlikely experiment with
dollarization while simultaneously outlining a path to a gold-backed
The announcement on July 5th that Zimbabwe is looking to re-establish the
Zimbabwe dollar – its national currency which displayed a 6.5 sextillion% (that
would be a unit followed by 21 ciphers) rate of inflation the last time we saw
it, is causing shockwaves, inspiring humorous mockery in local media, and drew a
spirited attack from Finance Minister Tendai Biti, via Facebook,“It is bad
enough to suggest the return of the Zim dollar at this present moment in time
but foolish to the point of insanity to suggest in this century a bullion backed
currency.” So much drama ensued that the Governor of the Zimbabwe Central Bank
Governor, Dr. Gideon Gono issued a statement clarifying that the re-introduction
was only a ‘medium to long term’ initiative. And as for gold? Dr. Gono
elaborated, “Importantly too, is the fact that the sustained stability of the
re-introduced local currency will also be contingent upon the accumulation of
adequate assets from the country’s resources, notably gold, to enable the
currency to be fully gold-backed. This means that Government would need to
purchase from Gold Miners, adequate stocks of Gold in order to build its bullion
Dr. Gono’s use of language is careful if not delicate, hinting to global
markets that any increase in Zimbabwe forex reserves will come as the result of
a ‘free-market’ purchase of bullion rather than the nationalization of foreign
In 2011, at the suggestion of Nathan Lewis, author of what I believe to be
the best book written on the gold standard, Gold: The Once and Future Money –
Dr. Gono asked me for a copy of the 2009 plan I authored in advising the African
Union in its effort to establish a common currency. I was happy to share it
with him as the plan explains how Zimbabwe could transition from a national
currency to a regional parallel currency regime tied to gold as one of three
transitional regional monetary blocs in Africa. Over 6 years, I outline a plan
by which the continent would arrive at a single currency backed by gold.
While I don’t believe that Zimbabwe qualifies as an optimal currency area,
Africa certainly does – a point I confirmed in lengthy discussion with Nobel
Prize Economist Robert Mundell over dinner in 1999 and at an IMF forum in 2000.
And despite dismissive mockery, if President Mugabe and Governor Gono are
serious about it, they could influence the Southern region of Africa – currently
suffering the most from currency instability – to entertain the possibility.
With the South African rand and Zambian kwacha both experiencing over 4 year
lows, inflation in Zimbabwe’s neighborhood will accelerate and talk of
alternative monetary regimes will find more receptive ears.
In positioning gold as a ‘medium to long term’ option while celebrating the
benefits of dollarization President Mugabe’s ZANU PF party denies the competing
MDC party a policy plank to run on – as claims that the latter was responsible
for the decision to dollarize meet formidable challenges. Even a CATO Institute
report on Zimbabwe perceived as styling of Finance Minister Biti – who also
serves as the MDC’s Secretary General – as the source of the 2009 decision to
dollarize is confronted in Zimbabwe. The fact that the Mugabe regime embraced
dollarization before the ZANU PF-MDC power-sharing government was formed, is one
that is difficult to undermine and a decision that the party known for
anti-imperialism is surprisingly embracing. Case in point: a July 16th article
in the ZANU-friendly The Herald cites the party’s manifesto, “While Zanu-PF is
clear that the collapse of the Zimdollar was a shameful development not worthy
of celebration, its strategic replacement with the United States dollar as the
leading legal tender to serve Zimbabwe in a basket of multi-currencies is in
effect poetic justice given that the same US dollar had been used to kill the
Zimdollar by merchants of regime change in their vain hope of killing
While the logic in the ZANU-PF claim is a bit disingenuous it certainly
represents a shrewd campaign gambit – marrying revolutionary rhetoric with an
appreciation of what imported monetary policy has produced, a now annual level
ofjust 3% inflation. This places ZANU at the center of the Zimbabwean
electorate as dollarization polls favorably among the electorate at the level of
68% according to a poll by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI). But
seemingly overlooked in the research is this: “Adult Zimbabweans (55 percent)
would want re-introduction of local currency sometime in the future, 23 percent
immediately and 17 percent preferred its total abandonment.”
By claiming both dollarization and a reintroduced local currency backed by
gold, President Mugabe is more centrist than the MDC – appealing to a
significant plurality of an electorate in a manner that absorbs the best of what
philosophers like Cicero, Augustine and John of Salisbury noted of the
commonweal of the people. Power-sharing de jure was forced upon both ZANU-PF
and the MDC by an electorate fatigued by years of partisan bickering and
violence. It was a signal that the people want the best of both sides, not one
or the other – a point lost on those who reduce the MDC Presidential Candidate
and current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to ‘foreign puppet’ and President
Mugabe to ‘demagogue.’ Both men represent two legitimate streams of longing for
change in the people that can’t be dismissed. That the people want a pragmatic
‘middle’ position more than ideological purity from either side is a dynamic
that ZANU politicians do seem more adroit in navigating.
Mugabe Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba displayed it early on in
2009, in an audio interview shared with me by The Herald’s US correspondent Obi
Egbuna, “These [Zanu PF and MDC] are distinct disparate political forces, quite
un-reconciled except through the voter. The voter will say ‘well, we give ZANU
PF a marginal lead.’ ‘We give MDC a very significant support level,’ which
therefore robs ZANU PF of the capacity to create a government within it its own
right. So there is some kind of balance of forces between the Patriotic Front
forces, and the MDC which means this is really an inclusive government born out
of necessity. But it is not the fusion of politics. It is not the fusion of
vision. It is not the fusion of, even of tradition – to the extent that ZANU PF
is coming from a liberation tradition while the MDC is coming from a tradition
of neo-colonial politics. So this is a marriage of convenience.”
Though naturally favoring his side, Mr. Charamba divines the core truth,
that while ZANU and the MDC are not united in reality, they are reconciled in
the minds and hearts of the aspirations of the Zimbabwean voter, as a balance of
The reality that neither ZANU nor the MDC will admit to their supporters in
public is that victory lies in pragmatism and strategy as much as ideological
purity and truth-telling. While the enemies of ZANU-PF and President Mugabe
depict him as merciless and unworthy of support and his supporters as
uncompromising, both sides would be shocked to learn the extent to which
entities like the World Diamond Council are working to clean up President
Mugabe’s image and cooperate with ZANU. By the same token, those who frame
Morgan Tsvangirai as Western pawn might be shocked to learn of the level of is
engagement with China.
These days there is more grey than black and white in Zimbabwe politics –
the only country in the world where a man may win an election by supporting a
fiat currency and the purest form of hard money, at the same
One sometimes wonders if the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) should not simply give up the
time-consuming and unrewarding business of trying to resolve political
crises in its member states.
In Zimbabwe, after five years of intensive
SADC mediation first led by then President Thabo Mbeki and thereafter by
President Jacob Zuma, what have we got? Parliamentary and presidential
elections that will be held on 31 July under essentially the same conditions
as the violent and almost certainly rigged elections of March 2008 which
prompted SADC’s intervention.
Maybe President Robert Mugabe will tone
down the violence because he thinks he doesn’t need as much to beat the
rather hapless Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
this time. But if so, that will be no thanks to SADC. Mugabe still has full
control of all the ‘hard power’ in Zimbabwe, all of the security apparatus.
And that apparatus is still fully partisan to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African
National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
Likewise the public media
– and that means essentially all the broadcast media and most of the papers
– are also still fully and unashamedly biased towards ZANU-PF. The Zimbabwe
Election Commission (ZEC) ostensibly has one or two independent
commissioners. But ZANU-PF partisans outnumber them and the actual ZEC
officials who will be conducting the election are pretty much the same as
they were in 2008. That is assuming the ZEC does in fact conduct the
election. The deep suspicion is that it will really be run behind the scenes
by the army, as before, apparently.
Tsvangirai is fighting this election
with both hands tied behind his back and his legs hobbled. Zuma raised hopes
of meaningful change when he took over the job from Mbeki of mediating the
Zimbabwe negotiations for SADC. He – and particularly his no-nonsense
foreign policy adviser Lindiwe Zulu – talked straight to Mugabe and insisted
on real reforms to level the political playing field. But in the end, one
fears, they succeeded mainly in just irritating Mugabe. Last month, at Zuma
and Zulu’s insistence, SADC leaders asked the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court
– clearly just another Mugabe instrument – to postpone the poll to allow
time for the many necessary reforms. It predictably rejected what was no
more than a polite request.
SADC could do nothing about this
humiliating rebuff because it is not prepared to really confront Mugabe and
make him pay for his behaviour. It is showing the same reluctance to
confront Madagascar’s de facto leader Andry Rajoelina. From 2009 when he
ousted Marc Ravalomanana, SADC should have simply insisted that Rajoelina
give up power. But it let him stay on as transitional leader. It issued firm
declarations that he should allow Ravalomanana to return from exile in South
Africa to fight the next elections. Yet it also inserted a mealy-mouthed
escape clause respecting Madagascar’s judicial sovereignty, telling
Rajoelina in effect he could arrest and imprison Ravalomanana if he
returned, as he had been convicted and sentenced in absentia for alleged
complicity in the shooting of protesters.
Since it could not muster
the courage or conviction to do the right thing – which was to force
Rajoelina not to run for office (in violation of SADC and African Union
rules) and to allow Ravalomanana to do so – SADC then resorted to the
so-called ‘ni-ni’ option. Ni-ni meant that neither of the two bitter rivals
would run for office. In December and January they both accepted the ni-ni
deal and the problem, from SADC’s perspective, seemed to be solved.
then Ravalomanana put up his wife Lalao as a candidate for his political
movement. And this prompted Rajoelina to renege on the ni-ni deal and to
enter the presidential race too. And so did former president Didier
Ratsiraka – along with about 40 other candidates. The trouble was that Lalao
Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka had not met the legal requirement of at least six
months of residence in Madagascar before the election. And Rajoelina also
broke the law by missing the deadline for submitting his candidacy. But the
electoral court accepted all three of them as candidates anyway.
SADC, and the African Union (AU) are demanding that the three candidates
withdraw from the election and have vowed they will not recognise any of
them if they are elected. They and the international community are also
refusing to fund the poll and are even threatening to slap personal travel
and financial sanctions against them if they don’t withdraw – something SADC
and the AU never contemplated against Mugabe for all his greater
Last week the International Contact Group on Madagascar, led by AU
peace and security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra and SADC’s medidator Joaquim
Chissano, visited Madagascar to try to persuade the three controversial
candidates to withdraw from the elections. They evidently had a heated
meeting with Lalao Ravalomanana and her supporters who refused to back down.
Evidently the other two also refused. According to the Ravalomanana people,
Chissano frankly told them that they really wanted Rajoelina to withdraw
from the presidential race – and that Lalao Ravalomanana had to be
‘sacrificed’ to this objective.
If that is true, it would epitomise
the disingenuous and frankly cowardly approach of SADC, confirming that it
cannot confront the real problem, Rajoelina, as it has failed ultimately to
confront the real problem in Zimbabwe, namely Mugabe. Threatening sanctions
against the three erring candidates in Madagascar looks superficially to be
a good thing, a sign that SADC and the AU are at last baring their teeth to
enforce their decisions. But this tougher resolve is misdirected in
Madagascar. If the three candidates pull out now, there will be no one to
represent the Ravalomanana political movement in the election. Perhaps the
same would be true of Rajoelina’s movement, although there are suspicions it
has at least one other secret candidate in the race. Having failed to remove
Rajoelina directly, SADC should back down, accepting Rajoelina, Lalao
Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka as candidates.
This arrangement, though
unsatisfactory, seems to be an acceptable compromise to the main rival
camps; more particularly to Marc Ravalomanana who is the most aggrieved
The infringements by the three candidates are technicalities that
SADC, the AU and the international community can surely afford to ignore –
having condoned much greater violations by Rajoelina. It’s time for SADC to
admit its impotence and let the Malagasy go ahead with an election most of
them seem to want.
Peter Fabricius, Foreign Editor, Independent
Newspapers, South Africa
Academics believe Zanu (PF) has lost its social base and have
predicted a heavy defeat in the July 31 elections. Speaking at a civic
organisation meeting chaired by Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe at Parktonian
Hotel recently, political analyst Dr. Ibbo Mandaza said Zanu (PF) had
resorted to using state security organs as a survival tool.
(PF) has lost its control of communities countrywide and will lose this
election,” said Mandaza. “I am optimistic that Morgan Tsvangirai will pull
another land slide victory in this election.”
Dr. Mandaza, who was part
of the Mavambo/Kusile group that denied Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
victory in 2008, urged Zimbabweans to expose Zanu (PF)’s rigging
“This will help to completely blow this party off as it has
caused a lot of problems to the masses.” Professor Sabelo Gatsheni said
using state security officials and violent campaigns highlighted Zanu (PF)’s
fear of losing.
“If someone uses soldiers, police officers and central
intelligent officers in his campaigns, it signals a loss of confidence,” he
Professor Brian Raftopoulos said Zimbabwean opposition parties had
fought and won elections but were denied the opportunity to rule the
“It’s unfortunate that SADC and AU have also failed the people
of Zimbabwe by allowing Zanu (PF) to remain in government even though they
lost the elections.”He went on to urge SADC and AU to protect the vote of
Zimbabweans. “Regional and continental bodies must guard against Zanu (PF)’s
rigging mentality,” he added.
“Our people were cajoled by the West
into forming an opposition party to weaken the people of Zimbabwe...There are
many dodgy NGOs in Zimbabwe doing as little development work as possible while
they dedicate most of their time to spying.”
Thus declared President Robert Mugabe
at a campaign rally on July 16 at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza.
Mugabe tells it, opposition parties and NGOs are carrying out a Western agenda
and, by implication, are unpatriotic. Yet he lives comfortably while his critics
suffer harsh consequences for their efforts to give Zimbabwe a brighter future.
Mugabe and his allies are reportedlydivertingtens of millions of U.S. dollars in diamond
profits from state-owned mines for political and personal gain. His wife, Grace
Mugabe, is known for herlavish shopping
sprees, and in a country where more than 70
percent of the population lives inpoverty, $600,000 was spent on
Robert Mugabe’sbirthday partyin March. Pro-democracy activists, meanwhile, are regularly subjected
to intimidation, arrest on trumped-up charges, and physical attacks. Some are
even killed, as human rights activistElliot
this month. With all that they risk and all that they suffer to advocate for the
rights of fellow Zimbabweans, can there be any doubt about how much
pro-democracy activists really love their country?
Violence and Transition in Post Settler-Colonial states
Violence and Transition in Post
Settler-Colonial states 19 July
By Brian Raftopoulos, Solomon Mungure, Nicky Rousseau and Masheti
Masinjila. The authors are part of the Violence and Transition Project in
Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa funded by the IDRC.
The recently concluded elections in Kenya against the background of the
electoral violence of 2007, the anticipated election in Zimbabwe in 2013 with
the memory of state led electoral violence in 2008 still fresh in the memory of
the electorate, and the proclivity for state violence in South Africa witnessed
in the Marikana killings, all point to different but connected legacies of
violence in these countries.
Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are three former British settler colonies
where between 1963 and 1994 the countries witnessed the coming of independence
and the end of white settler rule. However the forms of violence that
characterised both colonial rule and the anti-colonial struggles in those
countries have continued to haunt their political and everyday life. Thus the
Mau Mau period in Kenya, the dominantly guerilla war in Zimbabwe and the
widespread urban resistance and more limited armed struggle of the South African
liberation movements have found continuing echoes in the contemporary violence
in these countries.
One key factor in understanding the different politics of violence in these
countries has been the role of the state. While the state has become conflated
with the dominant political party and its violence in Zimbabwe this has been
less apparent in Kenya and, with some exception, not the case in South Africa.
Nevertheless violence in all three countries, whether perpetrated by the
military, paramilitary or informal armed formations or protesting citizens is
closely associated with the dynamics of anti-colonial nationalism and state
formation. Moreover questions of sovereignty, nation-building and legitimacy lie
at the heart of making sense of the forms and character of violence.
For example, the state has played a crucial role in determining the relative
weight of ethnic identification as a factor of violence. Thus colonialism, and
more particularly its constructions of indirect rule or what the scholar Mahmood
Mamdani refers to as ‘decentralised despotism,' gave rise to ethnicity as a key
marker setting the limits of the boundaries of political community in ways that
have in many cases endured in the post-colonial period.
Of the three countries, the discourse and moral economy of this particular
category have been most evident in Kenya where the battle and exercise of state
power has been largely played out within the limits of elite alliances and the
careful balancing of ethnic tensions. The weakening of such alliances during the
period of liberalization in the 1990's, and the decentralization of control over
state violence during this period through the informal employment of militias,
laid the basis for a wider use of such militias by individual politicians
desperate to ensure ongoing access to the levers of power.
This factor had a particularly devastating effect on the polity of Kenya in
the aftermath of the 2007 elections. Prior to this, various groupings organized
around differing claims of marginality were mobilized for violent purposes
around the contested claims of the 2007 elections. As an example, the violent
activities of the Mungiki arose out of the ethnically motivated political
violence in 1992 and 1997 when government sponsored Kalenjin militia attacked,
killed and uprooted thousands of Kikuyu in the Rift Valley. The Mungiki
subsequently recruited its membership from among displaced Kikuyu in this area,
later spreading its influence to the Central Province and then to the squatters
and slum dwellers of Nairobi.
On the terrain of the contested 2007 Presidential elections the mobilization
of Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnicities were at the centre of the bloody conflicts
that followed that election. The Government of National Unity that was created
in the aftermath of this tragedy, driven by national, regional and international
players, prepared the ground for the 2013 Presidential election. It is
significant that in the recent Kenyan election, the conflicts between these
groups were largely subdued under the alliance between Uhuru Kenyatta and
William Ruto, a Kikuyu-Kalenjin agreement driven, in a significant way, by the
ICC indictments against both leaders for their respective roles in the 2007/8
violence. Kenyatta's victory, notwithstanding an unsuccessful Supreme Court
challenge from his opponent, brings to a temporary close the recent phase of
Presidential contestation in Kenya.
In Zimbabwe the contours of political violence have differed from the Kenyan
situation largely because of the central role of the ruling party and state as
perpetrators, even though nationalist parties and politics have also been
fractured along ethnic fault lines. Here the central role of the armed struggle
in the decolonization process placed the military at the centre of the political
process in the post-colonial period. From the brutal suppression of the other
party of liberation, ZAPU, in the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and
Midlands provinces in the mid 1980's, to the persistent use of various forms of
formal and informal state violence against members of the opposition and civic
movement from the 1990's through the 2000's, the ruling party has made it clear
that its legitimacy and sovereignty lie not in elections but in the legacy of
the armed struggle. Zanu PF and Mugabe's refusal to accept electoral defeat in
the 2008 Presidential election led, as in Kenya, to a temporary Inclusive
Government, negotiated through SADC.
This Global Political Agreement (GPA) agreed on in late 2008 has been marked
by a series of tensions, not the least of which has been the continued control
of the coercive arms of the state by Zanu PF, and the latter's refusal to
implement any form of security sector transformation, during the period of the
GPA. Following a successful referendum on a new constitution in March this year,
there remain key obstacles to the carrying out of a generally acceptable
election, which was the major objective of the SADC mediation leading to the
2008 agreement. The central control of the military and security apparatus by
Zanu PF, and the military-economic complex that has emerged from this in the
aftermath of the radical restructuring of property relations on the land and in
the area of mineral resources in the 2000's, means that any political solution
to the country will now have to deal with this formidable power structure. The
SADC Troika call in March 2013 for ‘security sector realignment' in Zimbabwe
before a new election only served to confirm the more general concern over this
In the South Africa case, while violence preceding the 1994 election bore
some similarities to the recent electoral violence in Kenya and Zimbabwe, since
that time electoral politics have by and large remained free and fair, overseen
and run by a strong and independent electoral mechanism. Even where the ruling
party has lost control over either local or regional government, these electoral
losses have been respected, even if begrudgingly. In this and many other
respects South Africa remains a constitutional democracy, although the possible
threat of electoral loss by the ruling ANC could set this process on a different
Having noted this, however, the point needs to be made that within the ruling
party itself, where control of power is seen to be associated with economic
opportunity and access to patronage, there has been intense intra-party
competition both for party elections and in deciding on party representatives
for government. This has led to fragmentation, factionalism and, at times,
The fact that the 1994 transition was less dependent on the military role of
the liberation movements, and more on the combination of internal protests,
regional support and international pressure, has for the moment lessened the
centrality of the liberation movement's military wing in the politics of the
state, notwithstanding occasional vocal and even physical threats by organized
military veterans. Indeed as a post-liberation movement, the imprimatur of the
liberation struggle continues to mark current political practice. Additionally
evoking the mantle of the struggle to mobilize support, and mobilize violence,
is also a tool used outside of the formal party structures. Thus at a popular
level various forms of political protest, especially post 2007, have returned to
the language and tactics of the anti-apartheid struggle politics. Songs and
slogans from the struggle have been revitalized, and repertoires of
resistance-burning barricades, stoning vehicles, damaging or destroying public
buildings- characterize current collective violence.
Such forms of protests, as well as the growing number of strikes in the
country would appear to be not only ways of ensuring better service delivery.
More than this they express a disgruntlement with, even rejection of, the social
pact and forms of post-apartheid democracy that have been seen to produce
growing inequality. While at one level these protests suggest that the crisis of
accumulation, which was a key factor in driving the move towards
democratization, has not been resolved; at another it may signal a rejection of
the forms of democratic government envisaged in the constitution. Thus the use
of coercion that sometimes accompanies these protests proposes different forms
of sociality and community, in which the social order imagined is not that which
is enshrined in the constitution, but a radically delimited community in which
violence would seem to be central. Disturbingly, the reactions of police to
collective protest, which sometimes replicate that of the apartheid era, only
serve to confirm the legitimacy of violence.
In assessing the common challenges of these countries it is clear that a
combination of the colonial legacies of structural inequality and modes of
political rule, as well as the limits to state legitimacy in the face of the
assaults of global neo-liberalism, present formidable obstacles to the
realization of democratic dispensations. Under these conditions the construction
of state sovereignty through an increasing resort to violence and coercion
remains a key resource for the making of states.
This article can be cited in other publications as
follows: Raftopoulos,B., Mungure,S., Rousseau,N., and Masinjila,M. (2013)
Violence and Transition in Post Settler-Colonial states. 19 July,
For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty - Deputy
Director, Solidarity Peace Trust
Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869 Fax: +27 (39) 682
Suite 4 3rd Floor MB Centre 49 Aiken Street Port Shepstone
4240 Kwazulu-Natal South Coast
This is the second report on an audit of the June 2013 Voters’
Roll. It expands on the previous report, provides a more detailed analysis of
the Roll, and corrects a number of minor errors.
A number of key findings merged from the audit:
1. That there are nearly 2 000 000 potential voters aged under 30
who are unregistered.
Very few adults aged under 30 are registered. This is most marked
in the 18 -19 age band, where only 8.87% are registered. In numerical terms,
this means that a total of 1 920 424 people under the age of 30 ought to be
registered as voters but are not.2 This is almost 29% of the total adult
population of 6 647 779. Since there are unregistered people in the other age
bands, the total percentage of the entire adult population who ought to be
registered as voters but are not, is considerably higher than
2. That there are well over 1 000 000 people on the roll who are
either deceased or departed.
If one removes the 1 920 424 unregistered potential voters from
the calculation, the registration rate rises to an impossible 129% of people
aged 30 and over. If an 85% registration rate is assumed, then over registration
rate rises to 52% for these age bands, representing some 1 732 527 names which
are on the roll but ought not to be. In other words, rather than the some 5 874
115 entries on the roll there should not be more than 4 141
3. That 63 constituencies have more registered voters than
This was covered in the Preliminary report and the full details of
those Constituencies with more voters than inhabitants according to the 2012
Census is given in Appendix 2 of this report.
4. That 41 Constituencies deviate from the average number of
voters per constituency by more than the permitted
This was also reported in the preliminary report, but here is
expanded. The report points out a number of problems:
delimitation has been fixed according to the 2008 specifications, there are
three local government authorities [RDCs] that have been created from existing
wards for which re-delimitation is necessary, but not constitutionally
in one of these new RDC’s has only eight voters according to Voters’
appears to be no political bias in the distribution of the over and
under-registered Constituencies, but it is also clear that there is
discrimination against urban constituencies. Mbare, for example, has three times
more registered voters than Chipinge East, which should mean that Mbare should
have one and a half seats to Chipinge East’s half seat.
5. The registration rate (as opposed to number registered) of
women is significantly less than that of men, particularly in the metropolitan
One must keep in mind that the 52:48 ratio on both the census and
the voters’ roll is the ratio of females to males as per the 2012 Census and the
ratio of women to men on the roll. It does not reflect the comparative
registration rates. According to the June 2013 Voters’ Roll, there is a higher
registration rate of women than that of men in the rural provinces, suggesting
that the lower registration rate of women overall is on account of severe
under-registration of women in the metropolitan provinces. For example, in
Harare Province the registration rate of women is only 63%, against 83% for men.
By contrast, in Mashonaland Central the rate is 92% for women and 90% for
Unevenness also emerges when individual constituencies are
examined, and when considering the registration rate of each gender in
particular age bands. For example Beitbridge East (a constituency selected
merely because it appears first alphabetically) not only shows considerable bias
in registration in favour of women, and much higher than the 54:46 ratio of the
voters roll as a whole, but also reveals a marked (and sudden) increase in
favour of women in the number of people registered as voters in the over 50 age
6. There is a marked registration bias in favour of rural
The registration rate differs considerably between rural and urban
areas. Some constituencies comprise both urban and rural wards and were
categorized as “mixed” constituencies. According to the June 2013 Voters’ Roll,
there are 3 891 425 registered voters in rural constituencies as opposed to 1
424 047 in urban constituencies and 558 507 in mixed constituencies. This gives
a registration rate of 91.9% for rural constituencies, 78.3% for urban
constituencies, and 80.7% for “mixed” constituencies.
The registration rate in purely rural constituencies, from which
ZANU PF is regarded as drawing the bulk of its support, is thus considerably
higher (94%) than that in purely urban constituencies (74%) from which the MDC
formations as regarded as drawing most of their support, that is, about 20%
more. This is particularly so in the over 65+ age bands.
7. Miscellaneous Oddities
Several other oddities, which may be symptomatic of a larger
problem, are worth noting:
numerous reports from people indicating that their names appear on the voters
roll even though they have never registered to vote.
suffixes of the national registration numbers of 44 000 voters have been altered
on the roll. These voters thus may encounter difficulties with over-bureaucratic
officials who could insist on an exact match with ID discs.
married women have noted that, without their consent, their surnames have been
changed on the roll to the surname of their husbands. This may also cause
problems when presenting IDs at the polling
2013, 1:05 pm I have been out of action for a few days with some nasty
virus but coming back to the Zim Situation, I see that the forthcoming
election dominates the news. As Mugabe and Tsvangirai criss-cross the
country addressing rallies with reportedly huge audiences, the people
themselves have in all probability already made up their minds which way to
vote. A large number, calculated to be some two million have failed to
register but whether the reason for that is plain indifference or the
utterly chaotic state of the voters roll is not clear. Whatever the reason,
one thing is very clear: Mugabe and Zanu PF have absolutely no intention of
surrendering power. As yet there has been no repeat of the horrific violence
of the 2008 election but here is still a great deal of very suspect
behaviour from the party that has ruled the country for the whole of its
independent life. It seems, however, that they can no longer take the
people’s support for granted. It was once assumed that the rural areas were
solidly Zanu PF supporters but there are reports of an increase in rural
people’s political awareness and their support for Zanu PF can no longer be
assured. MDC rallies in these remote rural areas appear to have been very
well attended but both sides say they are confident of victory. Mugabe, of
course, has played the race card again, saying that his opponents want to
“bring back the whites”. He was all decked out in ‘mapostori’ gear at the
time addressing a huge gathering of the brethren in Marange. I have never
been quite sure of exactly what the mapostori stand for but I do know they
are anti-white and anti-gay so Mugabe was on safe ground there. He promised
church leaders that he would build them a school if they voted for him and
his Vice President, Joice Mujuru went one step further promising church
leaders houses and farms if they voted for Zanu PF. The President’s wife,
Grace, assured the opposition that “there was no vacancy at State House” but
then” Zimbabweans have heard it all before.
It was the so-called
‘special voting’ that caused all the doubt and suspicion in the
international community. The ‘special voting’ period was intended to apply
to police officers and civil servants who would be on duty on polling day
but then we came to the crux of the matter. How many cops are there in
Zimbabwe? The Police Commissioner had applied for 70.000 ballot papers but
according to figures issued by the Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, there
are in fact just 44.000 police officers in the country. Whether it was with
cops or civilians, suspicion was widespread that rigging of one kind or
another was taking place. An eye witness who happened to be driving along
the Harare-Marondera highway on voting day reported huge numbers of trucks
carrying people being bussed out to polling stations in time for ‘special
voting’ - that was when Baba Jukwa, had predicted that the real rigging
would take place. No wonder Mugabe has offered a $300.000 reward for his
capture! The MDC have challenged the ‘special vote’ in the High Court but it
was the chaos observed by the SADC team that really caught the world’s
attention. There were inadequately trained officials, insufficient ballot
papers arriving late and massive irregularities to mar the validity of the
whole process; even the Deputy Chair of ZEC, Joyce Kazembe, had to admit
that ‘special voting had not gone according to plan’. Despite SADC’s warning
that “The world is watching you” Zimbabwe has failed to demonstrate that it
can conduct free and fair elections on July 31st; . Mugabe can blast off all
he likes against his critics but his ‘hate speech’ only shows the world his
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.