SW Radio Africa (London)
30 March 2008
Posted to the web 30 March 2008
Military prevents Tsvangirai victory
The MDC US Representatives are reliably informed that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) will, within the next 2-4 hours declare Robert Mugabe the
victor of Zimbabwe's Presidential election.
The military brass in Zimbabwe met earlier today and decided to instruct the
ZEC to declare Mugabe the winner. This is being done despite results showing
that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has won a great majority
of the parliamentary seats and its Presidential candidate is ahead in the
already counted votes by about 68%.
The ZEC was given 2-4 hours to allow the military to deploy in all the major
urban areas to crush any potential revolt by Zimbabweans.
We, the MDC representatives in the US are awaiting further developments on
this issue but we call upon the State Department, National Security Council,
US Senators and Congresspersons to warn Mugabe and his military against
subverting the will of the voters of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans have
overwhelmingly decided to elect new leaders to rebuild their ravaged country
and Mugabe seems determined to stop that. The international community must
not allow this to happen.
We urge you to make it plain to countries of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) that they must not allow Mugabe to do this to
his people and country. The consequences of his actions will be felt
throughout the entire region, not just in Zimbabwe. The will of Zimbabwe's
voters must be respected.
We will be very happy to respond to any inquiries that you might have on
Handel Mlilo, Chief Representative
Ralph Black, Deputy Chief Representative
Sun 30 Mar 2008, 22:01 GMT
HARARE, March 30 (Reuters) - No results from Zimbabwe's election will be
released until 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Monday, the country's electoral
commission said on Sunday.
Commission chairman George Chiweshe said results had been delayed by "the
need to meticulously verify them". The release of the results will come 35
hours after polls closed amid opposition concerns that President Robert
Mugabe's government was trying to rig the outcome.
"That is not an inordinate delay. It is a very early result ... surely two
days is a fair time in an election of this magnitude," Chiweshe told a news
conference. (Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa)
Sun 30 Mar 2008, 21:41 GMT
HARARE, March 30 (Reuters) - Riot police patrolled the streets of Zimbabwe's
capital on Sunday night and residents were told to stay indoors as a long
delay in issuing election results fuelled suspicions that President Robert
Mugabe's government was trying to rig the result.
Reuters journalists saw patrols of riot police patrols in central Harare.
Some residents said police, who were moving in groups of at least six, were
also patrolling in low income townships.
"They are here and we have been told to stay in doors," a resident in the
eastern suburb of Tafara said. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe)
March 31, 2008
Jan Raath: Commentary
We are on the knife edge now. There is little doubt in the minds of a very
large slice of the population that Robert Mugabe was dealt a severe blow on
Saturday. They laughed in the voting queues about how they were going to
skewer the rooster (Mr Mugabe) and roast him. They cast their votes and went
home to await the result.
The slack Sunday morning was interrupted repeatedly by cars hooting long and
loud, with young men whistling and waving wide open palms. One crowd was
singing: “Saddam is gone, and now it is Bob’s turn.”
Wilson, who used to work for me, called me in the afternoon from Epworth, an
old squatter camp where the only light at night is from candles. He said:
“People woke up this morning and they were cheering that MDC had won in our
area. Then the riot police came. They said, ‘Someone from Zanu (PF) reported
to us that people were making violence here, but you are just having a nice
time and being happy’. They said, ‘Carry on being happy’ and they went
A text message came from Langton, his brother-in-law. “Hi Mr Raath,” he
wrote. “We are celebrating for our new president.”
And yet the day wore on and there was nothing from state radio apart from
endless reggae. There are also fears in the minds of many, many people that
Mr Mugabe is trying to reverse The Great Unthinkable by sucking large
numbers out of his thumb to secure his Historic Victory. Maybe he is being
told that you can’t cheat this, you will be caught with your pants about
your wrinkly ankles. At your age, your Excellency, go with a little dignity.
Or maybe they are preparing edicts to be announced over the radio that,
instead of the election results, they are declaring a state of emergency and
in the morning we will be woken by the sound of MiG jets overheard and troop
carriers in the townships enforcing a curfew.
In February 1980 I drove out one afternoon to find paratroopers of the
Rhodesian SAS on the street corners in full combat dress and dangerously
armed. It took me a while to catch on that the Rhodesian generals intended
to obliterate the nascent Zimbabwe and install a doomed new Rhodesia run by
deranged white military men. Then someone spoke calmly to the generals, and
the soldiers were collected and taken home.
Maybe someone is talking to Mugabe. Maybe his wife can do the trick. Anyone.
By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:05pm BST 30/03/2008
With western observers excluded from Zimbabwe's elections, the most
important verdict will come from the nation's neighbours.
Harare allowed monitors only from "friendly nations" and the
pronouncement by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the
biggest foreign observer group, will be closely watched. But the SADC is
notorious for having legitimised the results of the 2002 ballot, when Robert
re-elected but was widely believed to have lost to Morgan Tsvangirai
by at least 70,000 votes.
Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said yesterday: "The
Mugabe regime is a disgrace to the people of Zimbabwe and a disgrace to
southern Africa and to the continent of Africa as whole."
But whatever the impact of Zimbabwe's turmoil on the region - South
Africa has up to three million economic refugees from Mr Mugabe's regime -
the leaders of southern Africa have failed to do anything about him and are
not about to change tack. As an independence hero and elder statesman,
African cultural values require that he is deferred to, rather than
denounced or deposed. At last year's African Union summit, Mr Mugabe
received a standing ovation.
At the same time, some SADC leaders, such as Eduardo dos Santos of
Angola, have themselves been in power for decades without a popular mandate.
Democratic changes of government are not necessarily something SADC leaders
wish to encourage. Not all Africans feel the same way. As Zimbabweans
trooped to the polls, observers from the
Pan-African Parliament pointed out that "of the 24,678 registered
voters [in one constituency] more than 8,450 have been registered [at a
block of] deserted land with a few scattered wooden sheds."
It also raised concerns by the opposition MDC that there were 50 per
cent more ballot papers than registered voters.
Such criticism from a normally friendly organisation will come as a
shock to Harare, but the
Pan-African Parliament is a marginal organisation.
China, Zimbabwe's most important ally outside the continent, will be
unconcerned by allegations of vote-rigging. Mr Mugabe's ties with Beijing go
back decades, when it supported his Zanu movement during the fight against
Ian Smith's regime, and it is not about to turn its back on him.
With the world's eyes on its human rights record in the run-up to the
Olympics, Beijing has begun to express some concern about the behaviour of
its more controversial client states but action against them remains
Ultimately, the cause of democracy in Zimbabwe will come a distant
second to the strategic interests of its neighbours and international
by Susan Njanji 1 hour, 26 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused
authorities Sunday of deliberately sitting on general election results to
fix the outcome in favour of long-ruling President Robert Mugabe.
With the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) still to release a single
result of Saturday's joint parliamentary and presidential elections more
than 27 hours after polls closed, the MDC said it was clear Mugabe had lost
and it would not accept any declaration that he had been re-elected.
"Mugabe has lost this election and they have gone back to the drawing board
to try and cook up a result in favour of Robert Mugabe but we will never
accept that," MDC general-secretary Tendai Biti told AFP.
"There were so many anomalies pertaining to the elections ... Any reasonable
person knows no one voted for Robert Mugabe."
Despite warnings from Mugabe's camp that pre-emptive declarations were
tantamount to a coup, the MDC is adamant its leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
won and that it has secured nearly all parliamentary seats in the two main
While the election was given a generally clean bill of health from a
regional observer mission, an network of organisations which had observer
status on election day also raised fears that the result was being fixed.
"The delay in announcing these results is fuelling speculation that there
could be something going on," said Noel Kututwa, the head of the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network which was an official observer on election day.
"The announcement of results in a timely, transparent and accountable manner
helps reduce tensions following any election."
The opposition had earlier questioned the impartiality of the ZEC, a
theoretically independent body whose leadership is appointed by the
"We don't trust the ZEC, which is not independent," Biti told reporters.
The electoral commission however insists that the delay is necessary as the
country is holding simultaneous legislative, presidential and municipal
elections for the first time in its history.
"It was a big election, the results have to be credible ... so we advise you
to just wait," the body's chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi told
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba meanwhile fired a warning to Tsvangirai,
who has twice been charged with treason, against an early victory claim.
"He announces results, declares himself and the MDC winner and then what?
Declare himself president of Zimbabwe? It is called a coup d'etat and we all
know how coups are handled," Charamba told the state-run Sunday Mail.
After determining the 2002 election was rigged, no representatives from
European Union countries nor the US have been allowed to oversee the ballot.
African countries have largely refrained from speaking out against a man who
has ruled his country since independence from Britain in 1980.
In its report on the election, a team from the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC) noted a number of concerns but ultimately
declared the vote was a "peaceful and credible expression of the will of the
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has described Zimbabwe as an
outpost of tyranny, said the Mugabe regime had shamed the continent as a
"The Mugabe regime is a disgrace to the people of Zimbabwe and a disgrace to
southern Africa and to the continent of Africa as a whole," she said.
Tsvangirai claimed on Saturday his party had uncovered evidence of
widespread vote-rigging, including the names of a million "ghost" voters.
As well as Tsvangirai, Mugabe is up against former finance minister Simba
Makoni, who is expected to trail in third.
The elections come as Zimbabwe grapples with an inflation rate of over
100,000 percent and widespread shortages of even basic food such as bread.
Mugabe has blamed the economic woes on the EU and the United States, which
imposed sanctions on his inner circle after he was accused of rigging his
March 31, 2008
A dead man’s ID card shows how easy it is to beat electoral checks
As told to Catherine Philp
Early on the morning of Zimbabwe’s election I got up, stretched my legs and
looked in the mirror. Not bad for 86, I thought. Even better for someone who
had been dead for nigh on ten years. Then I got dressed and headed out into
the bright morning sunshine and to the polls.
No one in the queue looked perturbed to see a ghost that morning, but that
was exactly what I was. Only days earlier the opposition claimed to have
discovered more than a million phantom voters — dead, emigrated or
invented — on the electoral register.
The discovery, they said, was evidence of the ruling regime’s intention to
steal the election. Then on the eve of the much-anticipated poll, came news
that a team of African observers had discovered more than 8,000 voters in
Harare registered on a empty patch of bushveld. The news was greeted with
the customary black humour of the shrinking white community in Bulawayo.
“Can you believe even Smith is on it?” the barman joked, alluding to the
last leader of white-ruled Rhodesia. “He’ll be turning in his grave when he
realised he’s voted for Mugabe.” The drinkers compared notes. Almost
everyone had some dead relative still mysteriously enfranchised on the
Which is how on Saturday morning I found myself heading to the polls
clutching the old Rhodesian identity card of Fraser Johnston, born in
Johannesburg in 1922, died in 1998. “Try it,” said his son, who lent me the
card. “I want to see if it’s really that easy to cheat the system.”
It was intended not as a prank but a serious test of the system. If I could
pass myself off as an 86-year-old white Zimbabwean, it would stand as
compelling evidence of serious fraud built into the electoral framework.
Johnston’s son wanted me to expose it.
There are many ways to rig an election, but ghost voting is one of the
easiest. You don’t even need to go through this rigmarole of turning up to
the polling station. Ghost voters, who cannot by definition cast their own
votes, provide the perfect cover for the ballots you can stuff or add in
later on, without risking the unfeasible mathematics of a turnout in excess
of 100 per cent.
I was feeling remarkably spry when I set out for the polling station inside
a once-exclusive golf club. A queue of 50 people waited to vote.
An elderly couple relaxed on folding chairs and filled mugs from their flask
of tea. Another woman sat in the shade of a jacaranda tree, reading a novel
she had brought for the wait. It was more than one and a half hours before I
got inside. “It’s a long wait but we have to do it,” someone sighed. “We
need change.” But there was fatigue too, the fear that however they voted,
nothing would change at all.
Inside the station, the first polling officer checked my identity card. My
resemblance to Mr Johnston was uncanny, I was told — not an altogether
flattering assessment but one that would at least help me not to get nicked.
His birthdate was a big problem: at half that age, I could not hope to pass
as an octogenarian. The officer handed my card back and turned me away. “You’re
not registered in this ward,” he said. A phone call solved that problem, but
many other voters did not have that luxury. A quick turnaround and I was at
a local primary school, where Johnston’s son believed his father must be
registered. A long queue again, and the same talk of the desire for change.
By the time the polling officer took my card, the nerves had kicked in. My
palms grew clammy as she dragged her finger down the voter’s roll. I noticed
for the first time that the dates of birth were included not just on my
identity card, but also on the list. And yet my extreme youthfulness went
unremarked. My little finger was dipped in bright pink ink and I was
dispatched to the booth. A couple of bored-looking policemen looked on, but
did not pass comment or interfere as one by one I carefully spoiled my
ballot, placing crosses in every box to make absolutely certain that it
could not be counted. Then I walked away.
My heart was racing when I got back to the house. It was hard to believe how
easy it had been to cheat the system. Then a moment of panic gripped. What I
had done, I had done in the public interest, with no effect on the outcome
of the poll. Still, it was a crime.
(All names have been changed)
HARARE, 30 March 2008 (IRIN) - While Zimbabwe’s opposition on Sunday claimed
a landslide victory, no official results from the 29 March polls have been
released by the electoral commission, cranking up the tension surrounding
the vote count.
Christian Alliance, a grouping of pro-democracy church organisations, said
the “deep silence” from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was causing
“To avoid any further distress, and in order to calm all the citizens, we
urgently appeal to ZEC and other relevant authorities to immediately release
all results that are now available. Any further delay could lead to
unpredictable and undesirable behaviour by the citizens as they continue to
rely on unofficial results,” Bishop Levy Kadenge, the Christian Alliance
convenor, told IRIN.
Those unofficial results put the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
its leader Morgan Tsvangirai well ahead in urban areas - as was expected.
But the party has also reportedly done remarkably well in the countryside,
the traditional stronghold of President Robert Mugabe. Several cabinet
ministers and leading members of the ruling ZANU-PF party may have lost
their seats, which set off celebrations in the capital, Harare.
"We are not in any doubt. We are heading for a landslide victory, we have
won many seats … throughout the country,” said MDC secretary general Tendai
The MDC’s count was based on the results posted outside each voting centre
on Sunday morning. But they are yet to be endorsed by the ZEC, which wants
to scrutinise the returns from each constituency at its “Command Centre”,
set up at the Harare Conference Centre. “I’m as anxious as you are to know
the outcome of the election,” ZEC chairman George Chiweshe told journalists.
The opposition alleges that the delay in releasing the results is evidence
that electoral fraud is underway. "They have the figures, everyone saw the
figures. They were shocked into immobility by what they saw. They are now
trying to cook the figures,” claimed a political analyst, who asked not to
ZEC, whose chair and six members are appointed by Mugabe, has been widely
criticized by the opposition and civil society for alleged partiality and
lack of capacity to run the three elections – local, parliamentary and
presidencial - held on Saturday. Former freedom fighter Mugabe, 84, has led
Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
Free and fair
ZEC chief elections officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi, went on national
television and radio to warn the opposition against releasing voting
figures. “Those results are not official. The official results will be
announced to the nation by the commission and we urge the nation to bear
with us while we complete the process of collation and verification."
Meanwhile, the head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
observer mission, Jose Marcos Barrica, said despite concerns over media bias
and pro-Mugabe remarks by the military top brass, the elections were a
“credible expression of the will of the people”.
Voting on Saturday was peaceful with thousands of voters camping outside
polling stations from 4 a.m – three hours before doors opened. Tendai McNab
had come equipped with a folding chair. "When I last voted in 2000, I spent
more than 10 hours in the queue, but this time I am prepared. I will just
sit patiently while reading a book."
A heavily pregnant Tendai Munyoro, waiting outside the polling station at
David Livingstone School in Harare, said she wanted to cast her ballot for
the good of her children. "I declared to myself that no matter what
condition I would be in, I would cast my vote."
South Africa-based political activist Nixon Nyikadzino said thousands of
Zimbabweans, who had migrated across the border to escape the country’s
long-running economic and political crisis, had trooped back home to cast
their vote. "Over the last months, discussions in South Africa have been
about arranging transport to come back and vote … Huge numbers have also
come back from countries within the region such as Botswana, Zambia,
Mozambique and Namibia."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
by Wayne Mafaro Sunday 30 March 2008
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Sunday warned the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party to desist from
announcing results that have not been officially released by the commission.
At a press conference in Harare, ZEC chief elections officer, Lovemore
Sekeramayi said it was the prerogative of the commission to conduct
elections and announce results.
“The Commission notes with concern that some stakeholders are announcing
purported results of the elections.
“We would like to advise the nation that those results announced are not the
official results because collation and verification of the results is still
in progress,” said Sekeramayi.
The MDC says the decision to announce the partial results was meant to
pre-empt any rigging by President Robert Mugabe’s embattled government.
Earlier on Sunday, MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said the opposition
p-arty had taken a commanding lead in the election sweeping all the major
urban centres as well as making inroads in ZANU PF’s rural strongholds.
Biti said the MDC was winning the election basing his conclusions on partial
results obtained from polling stations across the country.
“This far, short of a miracle, we have won this election beyond any
reasonable doubt. We have won this election,” said Biti who added that the
trend countrywide was “irreversible.”
Biti could not be immediately reached for comment on the matter.
Sekeramayi did not mention when the eagerly anticipated election results
would be announced. - ZimOnline
It’s late and if I watch Tendai Biti making the same comments on the same
report they have been running since this morning I am going to do grievous
bodily harm on the next person who walks through the door.
Then you switch to dead bc (ZBC) and they have been showing the most inane
programmes today; soccer re-runs, how to do your own pedicure, and then a
show about tortoises.
The world may be frustrated at the vacuum in the news, but Zimbabweans are
simmering - the lid on the pressure cooker about to blow. There is an eerie
quiet in the streets, the eye before the storm.
People are desperate to celebrate and find the joy we have so long been
robbed of. But, who among us after almost a decade of despair can dare to
believe that this is the end of tyranny?
The rumours are exhausting; a few minutes ago I was told that Bob is still
here, he was spotted at zpf head quarters. But others insist he has fled to
Malaysia, Mozambique, Libya.
One thing is for sure, Grace did not vote. The normal pattern is for her to
respectfully stand behind the monster and smile vacantly behind DG
sunglasses, bejeweled and designer clad, then limply place her ballot in the
box. Yesterday she was nowhere in sight. Either she is under house arrest
for dallying with yet another virile, young zpf stud or she has whisked the
children off to safety.
The big question is whether or not the nasty, desperate little zpf vermin
are trying to cook the books.
This would be the ultimate big lie, but one which would already have the
patina of acceptance because of SADC’s announcement that the elections were
free and fair. Once again Zimbabwe’s respect for the electoral process would
be subverted to maintain his geriatric grip on power.
The world is desperate for Zimbabweans to hit the streets in protest, but I
believe this would be just the thing the little maggot wants, for then he
could declare martial law and it would be game over for democracy. The most
important thing now is to reach deep down and find patience.
Most of us no longer care what happens to him – let him go and live out his
days in the harsh desert sun with the memory of children’s cries haunting
Yes, we all want to see him suffer for his gross crimes against humanity,
but more importantly we want to go forward and obliterate the pain with
growth, health and prosperity.
Whatever happens, the Zimbabwean political landscape will never be the same.
This entry was written by Still Here on Sunday, March 30th, 2008 at 10:47 pm