via We’ll not give up — Tsvangirai – DailyNews Live by Bernard Chiketo 15 SEPTEMBER 2013
Movement for Democratic Change president Morgan Tsvangirai consoled his supporters at his party’s sombre 14th anniversary celebrations in the aftermath of a disputed electoral loss to Zanu PF in the July 31 election.
“Today, our collective challenge is not to give up…For the sake of our country, which we love and for which we have sacrificed so much, we cannot as a people and as a movement be held captive by despondency and despair,” Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters who thronged Mutare’s Sakubva Stadium yesterday.
The former trade unionist blamed his party’s loss “on the greatest electoral theft of our time as characterised by the mood of national mourning that still grips this country”.
Tsvangirai called for peace, but tensions remain high. He said Zimbabwe needs not follow the example of some African states that in recent years have been convulsed by riots and mass protests to protest the “subversion of their will”.
“Our agenda is to respect the rule of law, to respect the Constitution and act in line with the Constitution,” Tsvangirai said.
He, however said his party continues to receive “frightening information, most of it from some of the players involved in the electoral theft.”
Tsvangirai said the election was highly-militarised.
“The militarisation started with the deployment of military personnel such as former Air Vice Marshall Henry Muchena and several other former intelligence officials to work at the Zanu PF headquarters.
“We have a list of 10 senior military officers who were deployed as co-ordinators for the July 31 election in each of the provinces,” he said.
The MDC leader also said they now had “impeccable information that 35 000 youths were trained and deployed specifically in Harare, all Matabeleland provinces and here in Manicaland after Zanu PF said the people in these provinces were resisting re-orientation programmes run by civilians.”
“Inkomo Barracks in Harare had 7 343 recruits who went through training and were deployed three days ahead of the election. Named intelligence and military intelligence department officials were working with Nikuv to manipulate the voters’ roll in both rural and urban areas,” Tsvangirai said.
“We now know who stole how many carats, on what date, who took them to the intermediary in Angola and how much was paid as the regime mopped national resources to fund electoral theft.
“We now know which countries, which individuals and companies were at the centre of this electoral theft. I now have the dossier with me, which I will be sharing with heads of State in Sadc and the rest of Africa,” he said.
Tsvangirai also said six weeks after the election, they are yet to be furnished with a copy of the voters’ roll, adding there was a deliberate ploy to prevent registration for a certain age group and people from perceived MDC strongholds.
“For example, during the initial voter registration period, Mashonaland East, a perceived Zanu PF stronghold, had 18 mobile registration teams while Harare had only five.
As a result, Harare had only 27 000 newly-registered voters after the intense 30-day registration exercise while Mashonaland East had more than 50 000,” he said.
“750 000 people in urban areas were disenfranchised while the limited time allocated for voter registration resulted in the disenfranchisement of over two million potential voters, 350 000 of these in Harare alone,” Tsvangirai said.
He also said to date, “no one has accounted for the printed ballots and we now understand 300 000 presidential ballots were printed for the special voting even though there were far much less that 100 000 people eligible to vote during the special voting.
“The fact that Zec printed 8,7 million ballots against 6,4 million registered voters raised suspicion.
“We have requested for a full national audit of the production and distribution of ballots but that was not done and we were denied access to the required material.”
The MDC leader also said voter registration slips were abused.
“On election day, we unearthed a scam where tens of thousands of fraudulent slips were issued out and used to vote. In Hatfield Constituency, six people were arrested on election day and they confessed to being part of a large group of people that had been issued with fake registration slips,” Tsvangirai said.
The other area of concern to the MDC, he said, was the abuse of traditional leaders who were told to lead their people on voting day to vote for Zanu PF.
“We have a case of three village heads in Mashonaland East who were suspended after the election for not doing what every village head had done, to commandeer their people to the polling station to vote for Zanu PF.
“We also had teachers, including school heads and principals, nurses and other professionals who are still prepared to testify in court on how they were made to claim illiteracy so that they could be assisted to vote,” Tsvangirai said.
“This is probably the only election where headmasters and other senior civil servants were assisted to vote by Grade Two drop-outs after they were asked to plead illiteracy.
“In short, it was a peaceful but rigged election. A coup by ballot,” Tsvangirai fumed.
The MDC leader said he sympathised with Sadc for having been fooled by the complex rigging machinery but promised to enlighten regional leaders on how the rigging took place.