via 12 months on: peaceful but desperate | The Zimbabwean 30 July 2014
It is exactly a year since the “Nikuved” elections of 2013 that saw the end of the Government of National Unity. Citizens and opposition parties still have no access to the Voters’ Roll that many believe to have been tampered with to such an extent that it rendered fair elections impossible.
The polls were marred by numerous irregularities highlighted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) election observer team and other international bodies – which hailed the elections as peaceful and free, but shied away from describing them as fair.
These included an unusually high number of assisted voters—particularly in rural areas—abuse of voter slips and failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to avail the electronic voters’ roll to political parties and citizens.
Political parties accused ZEC of bias towards Zanu (PF), with some saying the commission was stuffed with members of the CIO. An Israeli company, Nikuv, was accused of working with the army and Zanu (PF) to rig the elections, sweeping away areas that the MDC had dominated for years.
The past year has been marked by a sharp downturn in the economy. Industries continue to close, unemployment is rising and government is struggling to fund critical public programmes.
For the first time in the history of independent Zimbabwe, the government has been finding hard to pay civil servants on time, whose salary dates keep being shifted. While peace prevails, there are growing fears that the country could easily slide into chaos because of the worsening economic crisis.