‘Still No Proof Mugabe Rigged Elections’

via ‘Still No Proof Mugabe Rigged Elections’ – Report – Zimbabwe News Daily by Peta Thornycroft

ZANU PF’s landslide election ‘victory’ was probably at least partly the result of five years hard campaigning for new voters, as there is still no proof of rigging, according to a report from the Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT).

Respected academic, Brian Raftopoulos’s analysis in SPT’s election report, describes how Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party overcame losses at the 2008 elections.

Coercion and handing out material benefits to voters helped the party gain an astonishing 1 million more votes in the July 31 polls.

Raftopoulos’ analysis, released on Friday, includes number crunching of voter turnout and comparisons with previous elections since 2000 when the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), became the first political party to really challenge Zanu PF’s power.

Statistics show that the MDC’s support is as it was in 2008 when it narrowly beat Zanu PF and has been relatively static ever since it burst onto the political scene late 1999.

Raftopoulos says the “long history of authoritarian nationalism and state (Zanu PF) brutality continues to play a major… role in the country’s politics.”

But, Raftopoulos also argues, Mugabe and Zanu PF not only retained a “substantial social base” in this year’s election, from “ideological legacies” but also attracted further support from its ‘land reform’ programme which began in 2000 and saw about 200 000 poor families receive land taken, often violently, from white farmers.

He also says that Zanu PF’s won substantial extra support in the same period from the rapid growth of the informal mining sector.

“As the economic situation worsened, (post 2000) the party-state patronage system became more entrenched.”

Zanu PF’s so-called “indigenisation and empowerment policy” also informed voters that supporting Zanu PF was “the single most important criterion for access to state mediated economic opportunities. The party manifests itself as a localised capitalist oligarchy… … ”

Raftopoulos says there were violations of electoral law before and during elections.

And Zanu PF “systematically blocked central reforms” of the Global Political Agreement, (GPA) signed by Zanu PF and the two MDC parties after the previous violent elections in 2008.

“Even as ZANU PF largely kept the energies of the MDCs concentrated on the single issue of constitutional reform, the former concentrated its activities on election preparations…”

Zanu PF, which controlled all the security ministries in the inclusive government which emerged after the GPA was signed, harassed MDC and civil society documenting human rights violations and supporting victims. Zanu PF also interfered with NGO’s working on voter registration.

SPT notes in the report that almost 25 percent of extraordinarily high voter turnout in the July 31 election was in Zanu PF stronghold constituencies.

While an average of nearly eight percent of voters were turned away and could not vote across the country, SPT’s numbers show double that number were unable to vote in the MDC’s Harare strongholds.

While the numbers for voters requiring assistance to vote were generally below illiteracy rates, “the devil is in the detail,” Solidarity says. “There are convincing reports of fully literate individuals forced to declare themselves illiterate and vote with assistance of known ZANU PF supporters.

“Election results since 2000 show some recognisable, if depressing, trends,” SPT says.

Votes for Tsvangirai’s MDC “remained remarkably consistent” over the last decade. The ZANU PF vote has generally, with the exception of 2008, been several hundred thousand votes more than the opposition vote.

“The leap in one million votes for ZANU PF is hard to explain between 2008 and 2013 – but is more believable when seen as (only) 27% higher than their 2002 vote.

SPT says it couldn’t establish whether the massive increase in the number of voters in many Zanu PF strongholds were ‘irregularities’ as the MDC claims, or whether this was a result, as Zanu PF claims,of its energetic voter registration campaign over the last five years.

SPT, like other analysts was unable to find proof of rigging.

However it does say systematic disenfranchisement of Harare voters, combined with the busing in of rural voters indicates attempts to hijack these constituencies for Zanu PF.

SPT mentions Israeli company, Nikuv, which The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper revealed was secretly paid by the pro Zanu PF registrar-general for undisclosed work on the voters roll. The paper said Nikuv had been working on the roll for about the last 20 years with no one able to discover what work it did and why it could not be done by Zimbabweans.

SPT says because the electronic version of the voters roll was illegally withheld from the MDC, and was still not available, it can make no finding on whether election results reflect the will of the people.

But, SPT says, the failure of the anti Zanu PF parties to form an election pact split the vote and cost them control of two Matabeleland provinces, south and north, which they controlled since 2000.

And SPT says present voter statistics show dramatically that three western provinces, Matabeleland South, North and Bulawayo, were effected “by diasporisation” as many registered to vote were no longer resident in the constituencies.

As results emerged less than 24 hours after voting ended, some Zimbabwe NGO’s claimed that the MDC’s loss of the Matabeleland South province to Zanu PF – where Zanu PF killed thousands after independence – was proof that the vote was rigged.

That is what much of the world’s media reported at that time, but statistics tell another story, that the loss of the province was a result of split votes, not rigging.

Seventeen parliamentary seats were lost to Zanu PF via the split vote. If MDC had won those seats, Zanu PF’s two-thirds majority would be reduced to only one seat, so Zanu PF would have to ensure all its MP’s were in the house if it wanted to change the constitution with the necessary two-thirds majority.

SPT says Zanu PF holds 79 percent of all seats.

The MDC now controls only two out of ten provinces. In 2008 it controlled six.

The MDC’s most dramatic losses were in two provinces, Manicaland in the east, which it formerly controlled overwhelmingly, and central province, Masvingo. These two provinces voted convincingly for Zanu PF with no dramatic increase in voter turnout in Masvingo.

The future looks even bleaker for the MDC in future presidential elections, SPT says.

The MDC’s support base is concentrated in Zimbabwe’s three western provinces and low voter turnout there means it will be difficult to defeat any future Zanu PF presidential candidate.

That’s because “three times as many voters in three rural Mashonaland provinces which are Zanu PF strongholds, compared to the three Matabeleland provinces.”

It is unclear how many people would vote for the MDC if the environment was fair and free from intimidation, if the “harvest of fear” – memories of Zanu PF horrendous violence in 2008 elections – was not there, or if hundreds of thousands of voters now in the diaspora were enfranchised.

But it says it’s unlikely anything will change before elections in 2018.

SPT says the democratic movement must rebuild and engage with a “dynamic and changing” electorate, particularly in rural areas, resettled areas and the informal mining sector.

The priority for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which mediated Zimbabwe’s progress towards the 2013 elections, was “stabilisation not democratisation,” says Raftopoulos.

“SADC settled for minimal electoral reforms and a new constitution and the absence of levels of violence that marred the 2008 elections… ..Zuma blinked … and SADC took what can only be described as a supine position on the electoral outcome.” – This story first appeared in the Sunday Independent [South Africa], October 6, 2013


  • comment-avatar
    MikeH 9 years ago

    I, for one, do not need proof of rigging. The proof is in the fact that mugabe&co won…. end of !!!

  • comment-avatar
    ZimJim 9 years ago

    Of course it was rigged, Bob has 30+ years of rigging experience, and he’s hardly likely to change that approach now.

    Besides, when he finally loses power, he’ll literally be a dead man!

    His demise is simply a race between nature and the whims of his “Backseat Drivers”, i.e. the CIO & military.

  • comment-avatar
    Macon Pane 9 years ago

    Can’t help but wonder if connections that would have supplied a trail to the election rigging “smoking gun” were erased by way of some suspicious “accidents”…

    I question why all the involved nations, especially RSA, didn’t openly press Mugabe when the registration process was so obviously hijacked by ZANUPF, and then an early election date was put in place with hardly a question. All that raises much suspicion of pay-off… maybe the stand against the ICC…? Tsvangirayi would certainly been a voice of support, and Zuma would have been caught with his britches at his ankles.

  • comment-avatar
    jaytee 9 years ago

    These guys are jus but ruthless they rigged thats all and no need for proof. Why urgue about this issue. But one day this is going to come to and end.

    • comment-avatar
      Michael 9 years ago

      The ‘T’ in MDC-T is the problem, Tsvangirai believes the party is his and he alone is worthy of leading the party. Analysis of the words behind the party title no longer support the party’s charter.

      MOVEMENT:- pressure group, association, society, lobby group, progress and advancement. Yet instead of being inclusive MDC-T has become very exclusive. By not refreshing their associations with civic society and other opposition parties and the formalising of coalitions and alliances, they split the votes in key constituencies thus handed increased votes to Zanu-PF.

      DEMOCRATIC: social equality, classless, freedom of expression, egalitarian, free, open, liberty, autonomous, independent and uncensored. These are the traits all Zimbabweans wish for (even Zanu-PF cadres). Amending the party constitution to allow a further term as leader to Tsvangirai does not scream democratic. By entering the GNU and GPA as a junior partner when it was clear to all that Tsvangirai had won the 2008 election was a huge mistake and most certainly did not demonstrate democratic principles. By contesting the 2013 election without the reforms being in place as laid out in the GPA and in particular the electoral reforms, was a huge mistake and this act is opposed to a democratic concept. Contesting the 2013 elections without the digital copy of the voters roll was a huge mistake. By the way this document has still not been made available as alluded to by the above author. Analysis of digital voter roll may reveal the only tangible evidence of rigging, MDC-T are not pushing hard enough to attain a copy of this document, yet more substantiations the MDC-T has lost their democratic ideologies.

      CHANGE:- modify, transform, revolutionise, amendment, replace, substitute and conversion. Unfortunately MDC-T appears to be unable to change and adapt to a rapidly shifting political environment.

      ‘T’:- Only two word come to mind, travesty and tragedy. (though the ‘T’ stands Tsvangirai, fancy naming a political party after a single individual, this is a most undemocratic ideal)
      TRAVESTY because the MDC-T supporters trusted the leadership to deliver a victory or at the very least, to present them with a positive political action plan ie “Do Not contest the 2013 election until All GPA reforms are in place”. Alas MDC-T failed on both counts.
      TRAGEDY because the inept performances of the MDC-T to deliver on its core principles has left their supporter at the mercy of a ruthless tyrant for another 5 years.

  • comment-avatar
    Uku Mbuu Uku Mbuu 9 years ago

    We had the 2008 election rigged. Former Prison Officer, Shepherd Yuda became an instant hero of that election by exposing how it was rigged. Hats off to him wherever he is. No one had guts and balls to expose it the way he did. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jul/05/zimbabwe1
    You can view the heroics of the guy in a film. No one in 2013 had ever thought of doing the same for fear of Mugabe`s CIO. Now there is no proof. Evene if Mugabe in 2008 failed to comment. Patric chinamasa failed to comment.

  • comment-avatar
    Chapa 9 years ago

    Still no voter’s roll! That’s proof enough never mind all the other things mentioned above,

  • comment-avatar
    Rwendo 9 years ago

    Academics are so bogus sometimes. ZANU-PF has been rigging since long ago – 1st revealed by Margaret Dongo who made a court challenge in 1995, after she initially lost her seat in Sunningdale by 1000 votes. The court found “serious defects in the electoral roll, including the registration of many non-resident voters, suggesting that at least 41% of the names on the roll were inaccurate, and the court judgment in August 1995 invalidated the election.” Dongo went on to win the re-run as an Independent. And some people are still surprised, “shocked” or skeptical 18 years later…in an election where Mbare, Matabeleland.. hell even Chipinge suddenly became ZANU-loving. There is no proof that these academics know what they are talking about.

  • comment-avatar
    Zvichapera 9 years ago

    Why is the Registaar not releasing the voters roll, have these really done their homework before releasing this report? How do you come to such a conclusion without looking at most important evidence, the voters roll tell it all. Rigged or not!