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The people of Zimbabwe have spoken and expressed their choices for parliament. We are conscious of the extraordinary obstacles they faced to vote, and the exceptional performance of the MDC, will ensure healthy debate in parliament.

Our primary aim is to restore confidence in the country. This is not the time for partisanship. We have to focus on rebuilding this nation and moving forward.  I know there will be people who are disappointed but we need to remain focussed on the fact that people have given us a mandate for democratic change.

There can be no defeat, no misery for a party that believes in the right of a people to express their will in the manner they wish.  Everyone must congratulate themselves for the incredible determination people displayed in their desire to vote.  Destiny sometimes requires that we follow a circuitous path to achieve greater glory, other leaders have said there is no easy road to freedom and that is true. Freedom is treasured because it is so difficult to obtain. So precious and often so tenuous.

The message the people of Zimbabwe have given is an important one for politicians:  Zimbabweans have to learn to work together.

Zimbabweans are perhaps showing greater political maturity than they have been given credit for, they are saying that they are entitled to have their own minds, their own belief systems and freedom of choice.

Having said that we need to take a closer look at the election results. The MDC repeatedly said there could be no free and fair elections in the violent times we have faced - international observers have reiterated this.

We are closely scrutinising election results at present. We believe that there are at least 20 seats that we will either ask for a recount or that we will take legal action about. In any area where we lost by a margin of 500 or less we will ask for a recount. And in some areas we will take additional legal action. As an example, in Marondera East as an example, we lost that seat by 63 votes.  We will ask for a recount. But more than that we will file charge under Section 105 of the Constitution against Sidney Sekeramayi, Minister of State Security and the ZanuPF candidate in Marondera East for a process of intimidation including his widely reported statements that he would track down those who did not vote for ZanuPF.

The intense coercion, intimidation and violence some of our people experienced shines through in the results. If we take a look at Mashonaland East, as an example, that entire area was terrorised by war veterans and ZanuPF thugs over the past three months. Eight of the 31 MDC supporters murdered during ZanuPF's campaign of terror died in the normally quiet farming areas of Mashonaland East.  The very third casualty in the post-referendum violence was Tinashe Chakwenya who was shot dead in Marondera on April 4; 10 days later farmer Dave Stevens and two unnamed MDC supporters were beaten to death at Macheke, six days after that Stevens foreman was murdered. On May 7, farmer Allan Dunn was pulled out of his farmhouse and bludgeoned to death, four days later another farmer John Weeks was murdered.

In the final three weeks before people went to vote Mashonaland East reported endless barricades, farmworkers and villagers being beaten or forced to march through lines of ZanuPF, farmers being threatened, crops being burnt, the farms of small communal farmers being destroyed, shops looted and houses burned to the ground.

In the immediate weeks before the election Mashonaland East saw ZanuPF and war veterans destroying the identity discs of people - all of this we detailed in our daily violence and intimidation reports. And the fact that these reports were issued on a daily basis speaks for itself.

On June 16, a week before the election we reported that 15 war veterans arrived at the home of MDC co-ordinator Andrew Mapande in Mutoko North. They began beating him and demanding lists of polling agents - which they seized and destroyed; Mapande fled and his home was destroyed.

The candidate in Hwedza, Pearson Tachiveyi was hounded out of the country by threats from a senior military officer. He only returned to the country on the first day of voting. It did not help too, that many of the electoral officers in many of the stations were notorious war veterans in many areas, or that in areas like Chegutu, ZanuPF were allowed to place posters on polling booths or distribute t-shirts and pay voters.

For the past two weeks we have repeatedly talked about a process of progressive disenfranchisement and problems with voters rolls, and those problems not only persisted but were enhanced over the two day voting period.

In Makonde, as an example, voting at polling stations began very late. Although voting was supposed to begin at 7am, at most polling stations it had still not begin by 9.30am, and many opened only at noon and at 1pm. Makonde experienced the late delivery of voters rolls, paper, ink and other necessities.

We need to highlight the significant achievements of our women candidates. ZanuPF has only two women candidates in parliament, whereas eight of the 10 MDC women candidates we put forward have been elected to parliament. All of our women candidates - and indeed all of our candidates put in remarkable performances. To note but one,  Eve Masaiti of Mutasa saw her house burnt down and that of dozens of her supporters. 100 of them have been living in a single tent for close to a month; they have been subject to ongoing raids, assaults and threats from ZanuPF supporters. Her bravery and that of her supporters has been an example to us all. In her constituency she polled 9 258 votes while ZanuPF was only able to achieve 5 281.

It is important to note the following, these election results mean that neither ZanuPF nor President Mugabe:
* Can amend the constitution without our consent.
* Mugabe will not be able to reintroduce a Senate because he needs a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution.
* Chiefs will be elected on June 29 - they will not go against the will of their people.
* We believe there are enough in ZanuPF who are concerned about the declining economy and the shocking living standards of most Zimbabweans to ensure that we will be able to form informal coalitions within parliament to push through more progressive legislation.

The people of Zimbabwe have begun the process of reclaiming power and the institution of true democratic change.

Keep up the momentum!


MDC Support Centre
8th Floor, Gold Bridge

Guqula Izenzo/Maitiro Chinja

"Zimbabwe's strength lies in racial and ethnic diversity - we will overcome attempts to divide us" (Morgan Tsvangirai)
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