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call for new elections
As votes were cast in
the Zimbabwe elections, Zimbabwean exiles and supporters in London called on
South Africa to organize new elections in keeping with the agreed roadmap and
election guidelines of the Southern African Development Community
The call came during
a six hour demonstration by the Zimbabwe Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in
London on election day , 31st July, in protest at the rigging of the
vote by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
About 70 Vigil
supporters were joined by members of Action for Southern Africa , the successor
to the Anyti-Apartheid Movement, and representatives of the Trades Union
Congress and the Labour Party. Also there was the human rights campaigner Peter
The protest was
covered by a variety of news organisations who showed particular interest in the
Vigil’s depiction of how Mugabe was stealing the
A Vigil leader,
Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing a Mugabe mask, was filmed stuffing ballot boxes with
votes from large black bags labeled Nikuv – the Israeli company accused of
helping Zanu PF rig the elections.
As the demonstration
got under way Fungayi received a text from Harare that an informant in the
Zimbabwean Electoral Commission had disclosed that polling stations in MDC
strongholds were being supplied with Nikuv pens with ink which disappeared after
a few hours.
During the afternoon
Vigil supporters moved en masse around the corner for a boisterous demonstration
outside the South African High Commission, where the following letter was
Zimbabwe elections not
Zimbabwean exiles and supporters
deplore the refusal of President Mugabe to ensure the elections are free and
fair. There is overwhelming evidence that the poll has been comprehensively
rigged and we have no confidence that the results will reflect the will of the
The Zimbabwe Vigil calls on the
Southern African Development Community to organise new elections in keeping with
the agreed roadmap and SADC election guidelines.
We caution you that, as things stand,
there will inevitably be a new mass exodus of desperate and impoverished people
fleeing Zimbabwe as the Mugabe mafia intensifies its looting, sending the
country’s economy into a cataclysmic decline’
The Vigil, outside
the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00
to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The
Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until
internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Today Zimbabweans are
heading to the polls for elections that pit President Robert Mugabe against
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who has vowed to push Africa's oldest leader
into retirement after 33 years in power.
Here young Zimbabweans
share their experiences of casting their
Julie Smith, 26, from
I went to vote at 9am –
I didn’t want to go too early in case there was any trouble or violence, so we
waited a little while before we headed out but it was peaceful and we didn’t
hear of any trouble, so we went out.
I voted at my local
polling station – a mobile polling station which was just a tent and three
booths. I waited for about an hour in the queue which by Zimbabwe standards is
There were polling
officials, election monitors and police at the station – an usher at the door
checked your documents and then your ID and name and address were checked on the
roll – they were very strict about this.
The officials were
helpful and the monitors were watchful – making sure you posted your ballot in
the correct boxes.
They were very strict
about where you stood and where you walked – two policemen were walking along
the queue and collecting elderly voters and bringing them to the front of the
I did notice that the
monitors were being monitored! Overall I think that it was quite well-run and
efficient for a tent in the middle of a supermarket carpark!
There was, however, an
old man in the queue who had moved house and even though he insisted he had
changed his address on the roll – his name didn’t appear and they wouldn’t let
him vote – they told him he had to go back to his old constituency and vote
He was quite old and it
was quite far away so I’m not sure if he would actually have the energy to make
the second journey.
So even though they
were fairly efficient – there were still issues.
champagne and putting it on ice. They are hopeful.
There is no way Morgan
Tsvangirai cannot win.
Ian Smith, 23,
At my polling station I
didn’t see anyone being turned away – there were lots of observers and a
definite police presence – they weren't aggressive but they were watchful as
Everyone’s details were
checked stringently and they were checking your finger to make sure there was no
pink ink to show you had already voted.
There was an official
watching you like a hawk to make sure your ballot went in the correct
I wasn’t allowed to
loiter and watch another person post their ballot – not sure why – I guess in
case I saw his vote.
I only waited half an
hour but this was not normal – driving home, there were long queues around the
corner. As you drove out of Harare the queues got bigger and the stations were
People were Facebooking
and texting to say bring your own pens. Just to be sure I brought my own and I
left it there for others to use.
There was definitely a
low turnout of young voters – I don’t think any of my friends
I got a sense that
everyone was really hopeful, thinking: 'this is going to
From seeing so many
people turning out to vote and from the massive amount of people at the MDC
rally yesterday in Freedom Square there’s no way Mugabe can rig it this time –
there’s too much of a critical mass in support of MDC.
The head of the African Union observer mission,
Olusegun Obasanjo, has said they will be alerting the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commision to any irregularities in the voting process.
He said the AU
is committed to helping Zimbabwe have free and fair
Despite these assurances from the former Nigerian
President, Zimbabweans remain somewhat sceptical about the AU’s commitment
to this ideal.
The AU commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,
made a very disappointing statement on Friday, a statement that was
criticised by Morgan Tsvangirai. She said that the AU were satisfied with
the election arrangements and that Tsvangirai had not raised any concerns
But Tsvangirai said he had had a meeting with her and raised
many concerns. He said that from her past record she had shown she was
biased towards Mugabe, so she could not be an impartial observer.
Zimbabweans in the UK gathered outside the
country’s embassy in London to protest against the flawed elections back
home, which they say have denied millions an opportunity to vote.
protest – dubbed Demonstration for Democracy – was led by rights group the
Zimbabwe Vigil, with anti-apartheid lobby group Action for Southern Africa
as well as British labour body the Trades Union Congress also participating
Speaking before the demonstration, protest coordinator
Ephraim Tapa said that since its formation in 2002, the ZimVigil has always
raised awareness about the electoral irregularities that have enabled
President Mugabe to cling on to power despite losing the
Tapa added: “A free and fair process would ensure that the
right to vote is extended to Zimbabweans in the diaspora, which is not the
case in this election.”
The ZimVigil protest, which kicked off at
noon in typical style with song and dance, drew scores of people and several
journalists from the British press. Mugabe’s nemesis and gay rights
campaigner Peter Tatchell also attended. But amid the drumming, singing
and dancing, the message was loud and clear: Mugabe must stop stealing
elections and go. The protesters also demanded that exiled Zimbabweans be
given their right to vote. ZimVigil coordinator Rose Benton told SW Radio
Africa that the protesters would disperse at the same time as the close of
the polling stations in Zim, at 7pm.
She added: “We performed several
sketches on ballot stuffing which we believe is how Mugabe is going to be
stealing the vote, and also illustrated how we want him to be kicked out of
A petition was handed in to the South African Embassy in London,
asking GPA facilitator President Jacob Zuma to call for fresh elections in
Zimbabwe in view of the discredited current electoral process.
Parliamentary watchdog Billwatch has provided some details about
Zimbabwe’s elections, to remind people of the key points.
Mukwazhe of the Zimbabwe Development Party has withdrawn from the
presidential election. He says he will now be supporting President Mugabe.
That leaves four presidential candidates, Dabengwa of ZAPU, Mugabe ZANU-PF,
Ncube MDC and Tsvangirai MDC-T.
If the presidential results are too
close to call, there will be a run off on 11th September. This precise date
was specified in Mugabe’s election proclamation, in accordance with the
There are 9,735 polling stations across the
There are 20,000 local and foreign observers.
nearly 900 foreign journalists in the country, covering these
The official announcement of results has to be made by the
electoral commission. But there is nothing in the law that is against
parties, organisations and individuals compiling results, as long as they
don’t claim they are official.
The official announcement of the
Presidential election result has to be made by the ZEC chairperson, or in
her absence the deputy chairperson or one of the other commissioners. The
announcement must be made not later than 5th August, five days after
polling, if there is an outright winner.
The person elected President
must be sworn in within 48 hours.
More voting irregularities
Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum has been sending out more messages about voting
irregularities in a number of areas.
They say that in areas expected to
see a higher level of support for the MDC significantly fewer polling
stations have been set up, and within these stations it’s taking much longer
to process voters.
Reports from Greengrove polling station in Harare say
that in a queue of 55 people it had taken more than 120 minutes to process
20 voters. This shows that the process is moving much more slowly than in a
number of other areas.
Some voters continued to be turned away from Wards
where previously they had voted, after being placed on other lists where
geographically it was impossible for them to get to on time.
Chivhu, south of Harare on the road to Masvingo, there is an estimated
population of several thousand potential voters, but only 3 polling stations
have been set up.
Bulawayo there are only 392 stations for a large
population and Harare has only 875, for over a million voters.
Manicaland there are 1,303 stations, an area narrowly lost by ZANU PF in
2008. In Mashonaland West 1,238 stations have been established. Given the
numbers of potential voters it would be easier in these areas to cast
In the Mufakose High School polling station near Harare, up to 15
police officers were reportedly present inside the polling station, some
seated besides the Presiding Officer, taking the names of people who are
voting. This is a clear effort to intimidate voters, and is in direct
violation of the ZEC electoral laws.
The report also says that
unusually high numbers of voters are requesting to be assisted. This is
normally available to the disabled, so that they have help in voting and
means that police, military or village elders help the voter.
Zimbabwe have also been releasing a number of reports of disturbing voter
In Muzarabani North, Ward 12, at a polling station at
Chiriga Primary School, there was a high number of people claiming they
could not read or write so they were being assisted to vote.
polling station in Machaya Primary School, Godfrey Magaya was intimidating
voters in the queue, telling people that they will be beaten if ZANU PF
In Ward 5, at Kapembere polling station, aspiring ZANU PF
councillor Mutunda Rason was intimidating queuing voters, saying there will
be no peace in Muzarabani if ZANU-PF loses the election.
South, Ward 30, Lisungwe polling station, voting had not yet started by
9:21am due to late arrival of ballot papers.
At Gomba shops, Zengeza 3,
aspiring ZANU PF MP Kahanana was intimidating people, threatening to unleash
violence in the area.
Gwanda Central, Ward 4, Jahunva Hall, ZANU-PF
supporters were campaigning less than 200 metres from the polling
Zvimba South, Ward 34, Trilon Primary school polling station, a
group of ZANU-PF youths led by a chairperson identified as Makey were
campaigning less than 200 metres from the polling station.
West, Ward 17, Dombwe, Msengezi Secondary School and Mahwanda Primary School
polling stations. A group of ZANU PF members were telling people to register
their names before they vote. The group of youths was led by Tongai
Mukwesha, Thumelo Zinundo, Frank Sayeni, Joseph Matola and Fainos Ndlovu.
Potential voters were threatened with death if ZANU PF loses. The matter was
reported to Chegutu police station and the groups dispersed.
Chinhoyi, Ward 11 a JOMIC monitor, Victor Muchavhaira, was arrested at
Citrus polling station for allegedly dropping MDC party fliers within the
Zimbabwean exiles chained to a statue
of Nelson Mandela
By Alex Bell SW Radio Africa 31
Three Zimbabwean exiles on Tuesday
staged a dramatic pre-election protest in South Africa, where they chained
themselves to a statue of that country’s liberation hero, Nelson
The brief protest happened in the
affluent Sandton City shopping centre, the site of an iconic, nine foot high
bronze statue of Madiba.
The three Zimbabwean nationals wrapped
chains around their necks to secure themselves to the statue, and brandished
placards with the message: “Zimbabwe deserves to be free.”
The protest did not last long after
security guards told them and some supporters and passersby to
But the message soon spread on
Facebook and Twitter, with other Zimbabwean exiles echoing the sentiment that
the country is still not free from the control of Robert Mugabe and ZANU
Respected human rights advocate and
the head of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, Gabriel Shumba, told SW Radio Africa that
voting day is a bittersweet one for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. He said that
while there is “so much hope for change,” there is still
Thousands of Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora have returned home to vote, after the right to vote in their resident
countries was denied by the government. This is in spite of a successful court
application that Shumba filed at the African Commission on Human and People’s
Rights, which ordered the Zim government to allow the postal vote for
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.
“What we were told when the government
defied this order is that we should try go back and vote anyway. Unfortunately
not everyone can do this, and even when they do, it seems the practice on the
ground is to deny this,” Shumba said.
He was referring to the fact that at
least seven buses believed to be filled with Zimbabweans travelling from South
Africa to cast their votes, were stopped at Beitbridge in the early hours of
Wednesday morning. One of the buses was impounded and the others were prevented
from travelling onto their final destinations. It is understood that the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were trying to intervene on Wednesday
“So there is a mood of skepticism that
this vote will bring change. We don’t think this election will be credible,
legitimate, free and fair,” Shumba said.
So far, so good, says president as polls open, while rival Morgan
Tsvangirai says he expects to win 'quite resoundingly'
David Smith in Harare
theguardian.com, Wednesday 31 July 2013 22.34 AEST
Robert Mugabe casts his vote in Zimbabwe's elections at a polling
booth in Harare. Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty
a jocular mood as he cast his vote inZimbabwe's elections on
Wednesday, talking to reporters and saying the poll would be free and
Asked whether he was
nervous about the outcome, the president replied with a laugh: "No, no, no, I've
gone past that. At 89?"
Africa's oldest leader
faces a major challenge fromMorgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
which has alleged fraud and other irregularities in the election
The mood at polling
stations on Wednesday was peaceful but queues were long and there were reports
of intimidation and gaps in the electoral roll.
Accompanied by his
wife, Grace, and their children, Mugabe voted at noon at Mhofu primary school
near his former home in the Highfield township of the capital, Harare. He
emerged from a rundown concrete classroom and waved his little finger that had
been coated in pink dye.
The man long accused of
brutal authoritarianism by human rights watchdogs expressed confidence in a
credible election. "I haven't got an account yet but I suppose they're still
gathering information, but I'm sure people will vote freely and fairly," he
said. "There is no pressure being exerted on anyone. So far, so
Mugabe described the
MDC's claims of vote-rigging as "politicking", adding: "They want to find a way
There has been
speculation that, should Mugabe prevail, he will step down before his 90th
birthday and hand power to one of his allies in the Zanu-PF party. But asked by
journalists whether he would serve a full term, he said: "Why not? Don't you
want me to serve the whole term? Why should I offer myself as a candidate if it
is to cheat the people into resigning after?"
If a credible election
led to sanctions against Mugabe and his family being lifted, he would be in no
hurry to visit Britain, he said. "Why? I've nothing to do in Britain,
Other voters queued
patiently at the school. Mugabe had support from Kelvin Mudzing, a 23-year-old
electrician. "Robert Mugabe is the only person who can stand for us," he said.
"We're the younger generation and we need someone with the sense of where we're
coming from. We should keep him as long as he's willing to
But as in much of
Harare, the MDC is expected to win here, with young voters demanding democratic
change. First-time voter James Hanoki, 24, had arrived at 3.30am to make sure he
cast his ballot, and was 32nd in the queue. He voted at
The student said: "I'm
feeling great. I've managed to do what I'm supposed to do as a Zimbabwean to
bring the change we need. I believe that democracy can come. I believe that we
can be like any other nation that holds democratic elections."
Wearing an Arsenal
football shirt, Donald Mavhudzi, 28, a property manager, had queued for five
hours before voting. "We really wanted to vote for change. Here in Zimbabwe they
call us the born-frees. We didn't experience the liberation struggle and for
some of us it's the first time to vote."
He continued: "The 2008
election was a bit tense. There was a lot of violence and people were afraid but
this has been peaceful so far and people are excited. If the playing field
remains level today, I would say Morgan Tsvangirai will the election by 65-plus
per cent. But nobody knows what will happen after the
Mavhudzi said Mugabe
deserved to be honoured but his time was up. "We still have a lot of respect for
him. He was a liberation hero and we respect his old house near here; I believe
it should be preserved as a national shrine. But we feel the old man should rest
The last election, in
2008, led to a run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai and violence in which more
than 200 people died. Eventually the two men formed a unity government with
Tsvangirai as prime minister, bringing a degree of stability as the economy went
This time Mugabe has
declined to make confident predictions and promised to stand down if he loses,
although other Zanu-PF ministers say victory is certain.
Casting his vote at a
high school in Harare, Tsvangirai said he expected to win "quite
Voting began at 7am on
Wednesday with many people braving the winter cold. At one polling station in
the western province of Manicaland, a key swing region, the queue of voters,
many wrapped up in blankets, stretched for a kilometre.
"I got up at four but
still couldn't get the first position in the line," Clifford Chasakara, a
sawmill worker, told Reuters. "My fingers are numb but I'm sure I can mark the
ballot all the same. I'm determined to vote and have my vote
There was frustration
at some polling stations over slow-moving queues and names missing from the
electoral roll, with some people being sent away to central administrative
offices. There were also media reports of police standing close to polling
booths in rural areas, applying pressure to vote for Mugabe.
The official state
election body has admitted that administrative, logistical and funding problems
have hindered voting arrangements, but said they had been resolved and voting
was ready to go ahead at more than 9,000 polling stations across the country.
There are 6.4 million voters in a nation of 12.9 million
Mugabe has refused to
allow western observer missions, including one from the Jimmy Carter Centre, to
monitor voting but western embassies in Zimbabwe have been permitted to deploy a
limited number of Harare-based diplomats to key voting districts. The African
Union and southern African region also have thousands of
Harare - Crisis-weary
Zimbabweans flocked to cast their ballots Wednesday in a fiercely contested
election overshadowed by accusations of vote-rigging as President Robert
Mugabe bids to extend his 33-year rule.
The 89-year-old firebrand,
Africa's oldest leader, is running for office for the seventh and perhaps
final time, after a series of violent crackdowns, economic crises and
"I am sure people will vote freely and fairly, there
is no pressure being exerted on anyone," he said as he cast his vote in a
Harare suburb. "So far so good."
The veteran leader, a hero of
Africa's liberation movement for his fight against white minority rule who
then became an international pariah, had vowed on Tuesday that he would step
down if he loses.
"If you lose you must surrender," he said, insisting:
"We have done no cheating."
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai - his
perennial rival and reluctant partner in an uneasy coalition for the past
four years - has voiced concerns that the electoral roll has been
The 61-year-old former union leader, who was forced out of the
bloody election race in 2008 after 200 of his supporters were killed, told
CNN he took Mugabe's promise to step down "with a pinch of salt".
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki voiced doubts about the way the
election would be run.
"We do remain concerned about the lack of
transparency in electoral preparations, by continued partisan behaviour, by
state security institutions, and by the technical and logistical
Still, Tsvangirai cut a confident figure as he cast his own
ballot, predicting his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would win "quite
"This is a very historic moment
for all of us," he said. It is the time to "complete the
Turnout appeared to be brisk in the urban areas where Tsvangirai
has enjoyed his strongest support, and which he must retain to stand any
chance of victory.
Voters, some wrapped in blankets on a cold winter
morning, started queuing at least four hours before polling stations
"I am happy to have cast my vote. I just want an end to the
problems in our country," said 66-year-old Ellen Zhakata as she voted in a
"All my children are outside the country because of the
economic troubles here. I am so lonely. How I wish they could be working
Millions of Zimbabweans were forced to migrate to find work
elsewhere after an economic collapse exacerbated by the violence-marred 2008
While this year's campaign has seen little of the bloodshed of
2008, the MDC on Tuesday handed what it claimed was documentary evidence of
plans to rig the election to observers from the Southern African Development
The dossier, which an SADC observer said raised
serious questions, listed examples of duplicate or questionable voters
gleaned from a initial examination of the electoral roll.
A lot of
In June, the non-governmental Research and Advocacy Unit
said after examining an incomplete roll that it included a million dead
voters or emigres, as well as over 100 000 people who were more than 100
"We have seen a lot of duplicate names in the roll, where you
see somebody is registered twice, same date of birth, same physical address
but with a slight difference in their ID number," junior minister Jameson
Timba told AFP.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was ordered Tuesday
to fully publish the roll by 10:00 GMT on Wednesday, leaving little time to
Commission chief Rita Makarau said the delayed access
to the roll had affected all parties equally.
"It has not affected
one political party, so in a way it remains unfair to all political
players," she said.
Some 6.4 million people, around half of the
population, are eligible to vote in the presidential, parliamentary and
A candidate needs 50% of the vote to avoid a
Mugabe has focused his campaign on bashing homosexuals and on
promises to widen the redistribution of wealth to poor black
Amid recovery from an economic crisis that saw mass
unemployment and galloping inflation, Mugabe loyalists insist their hero is
"tried and tested".
Tsvangirai hopes his plans to lure back foreign
investors, create a million jobs in five years and improve public services
will deliver a long-awaited victory.
Credible opinion polls are rare,
but according to one survey by the US-based Williams firm in March-April,
Mugabe could be in for a rough ride.
In a survey of 800 Zimbabweans, 61%
said they had a favourable view of the MDC compared with 27% for Mugabe's
The poll showed Tsvangirai leading in seven of 10 provinces and
that only 34% of those who voted for Mugabe in 2008 back him this time
Polling stations close at 17:00 GMT and final results are
expected with five days.
ZIMBABWE’S fledgling economy requires a decisive
winner in Wednesday’s general elections, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
“The economy desperately needs a clear winner and a peaceful ending
to the electoral processes for it to stabilise and prosper,” the RBZ chief
said in a statement.
Zimbabweans will cast their votes between 7AM
and 7PM bringing the curtain down on a power sharing government between Zanu
PF, the MDC-T and the MDC which was accused of policy paralysis.
winning presidential candidate should get at least 50 percent plus one vote,
and Gono says a 2008 scenario where none of the candidates reached that
number triggering a run-off which was marred by violence could seriously
hurt the economy.
Gono says a decisive win for one of the parties will
give the country a clear policy direction for the next five
Gono was due to give his mid-term monetary policy statement this
week but announced Tuesday he was postponing it to after the elections in
“Until then, banking-sector players and all stakeholders should
go about their business in the normal way, remembering that the saying
“Peace begins with me; Peace begins with you and Peace begins with all of
us” must remain our Zimbabwean prayer during and after voting on Wednesday,”
Gono, one of President Robert Mugabe's closest lieutenants, said
he would be voting at Heritage School in Borrowdale at 9AM on Wednesday.
SIMON ALLISON AFRICA 31 JUL 2013 12:00 (SOUTH
Zimbabwean citizens, including a surprising number of
centenarians and more than a few dead people, are casting their vote on
Wednesday. Despite the opposition’s fighting talk – not real fighting,
that’s a ZANU-PF specialty – President Robert Mugabe looks like he’s got
this one in the bag, with SADC and the AU firmly in his corner. By SIMON
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: this election is not
going to be free and fair. This election is not going to be credible. This
election is not going to be transparent, or acceptable, or whatever other
linguistically and morally ambiguous adjective the African diplomatic
community will coin to condone its results (so far, African Union Commission
chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has plumped for satisfactory, as in “the
[election] preparations were satisfactory”, an insupportable conclusion
which makes me question my admiration for her).
Zimbabwe’s long-suffering finance minister and a very senior opposition
figure, wearily offered a few more accurate adjectives in an interview with
Al Jazeera: “I have said it and I have said it again and I am beginning to
sound like a broken record now, but these elections are illegal,
illegitimate, immoral, unfree and unfair.”
Perhaps, though, you’d rather
not take Biti’s word for it, given that he’s not exactly an objective
source. How about the International Crisis Group? “Conditions for a free and
fair vote do not exist. Confidence in the process and institutions is low.
The voters’ roll is a shambles, security forces unreformed and the media
grossly imbalanced. The electoral commission is under-funded and lacked time
to prepare. Concerns about rigging are pervasive, strongly disputed results
highly likely,” the think tank concluded in a special report.
examples, from many. In 63 constituencies, there are more registered voters
than inhabitants – Zimbabweans, it seems, are so excited about democracy
that some of them want to vote twice. The national voters roll lists 109,000
voters over the age of 100, in a country where the average life expectancy
is just 51. That same voters’ roll has 900,000 duplicate entries, and has
not been made officially available to the opposition.
What this means, in
practice, is that there is almost no chance of an uncontested victory from
either the near-nonagenarian President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF, or
from Morgan Tsvangirai and his faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
(there are several others – a division which doesn’t help the opposition’s
cause). Whoever wins, someone is going to be unhappy, and they’ll have
plenty of grounds on which to base their complaint.
In the short term
at least, by far the most dangerous outcome is if Tsvangirai wins the
presidential election – either outright or by just enough to force a
dangerous run-off (tentatively scheduled for early September). This is
likely to trigger the kind of violence that Zimbabwe witnessed last time
Tsvangirai won an election, which was the first round of the 2008 poll. A
brutal campaign of intimidation against opposition figures and supporters,
spearheaded by state security agencies, forced Tsvangirai to withdraw his
participation from the run-off. The complete lack of reform in the security
sector since then (a failure for which SADC mediators must bear some
responsibility), and its vested interest in maintaining the status quo,
means that the threat of state-sponsored violence could once again derail
the entire process.
A Mugabe victory, on the other hand, raises a
different set of issues. Bear in mind that Mugabe remains an extremely
popular man, and some opinion polls have indicated that he might even be
popular enough to win without having to cook the results (note that these
are unreliable at the best of times, and much more so in Zimbabwe). For
this, the opposition have only themselves to blame – their messy divisions,
coupled with Tsvangirai’s even messier love life, have knocked their
But the president still has plenty of incentive to fiddle the
results. Even if he’s leading, Mugabe wants to avoid having to do this all
over again in a run-off election which would by its nature re-unite the
opposition behind a single candidate. For this, Mugabe needs more than 50%
of the vote.
A lot, then, will depend on the scale of the rigging and
just how blatant it is. In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 2011
presidential vote, the South African Development Community (SADC) and the
African Union have already shown that they are prepared to ignore pretty
serious electoral fraud. This is a useful template for Zanu-PF to follow: as
long as they don’t go overboard, and allow the SADC and AU election monitors
space for the kind of plausible deniability necessary to legitimise these
clearly flawed polls, then chances are Mugabe will get the regional support
he needs (which will, incidentally, automatically trigger the suspension of
European Union sanctions).
This, then, is the most likely outcome:
Mugabe wins with just over 50% of the vote in elections which are clearly
flawed, but not flawed enough to force observers into dismissing the
It would be an outcome that South African President Jacob Zuma
will be delighted with. He’s no friend of Mugabe, but he is a fan of
stability in the region – and he’ll be particularly wary of the impact
another economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe will have on South Africa.
“South Africa is already struggling with millions of Zimbabweans pushing
service delivery to its limit … The consequences are dire should millions
more pour across the border,” said Rashweat Mukundu, chairperson of the
Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, speaking to the Mail &
Zimbabwe’s opposition won’t be quite as happy. They will feel
justly aggrieved that they were forced to participate in these dubious polls
for which the country is ill-prepared; and even more so that the entire
process has been legitimised by the African diplomatic community who were
supposed to be the guarantors of genuine political reform. And it is in the
opposition's hands that Zimbabwe’s long-term future rests, for how the it
reacts to what looks certain to be another huge setback will determine the
course of the country’s future – which, right now, still looks bleak. DM
HARARE - Zimbabweans go to vote today in the first election since
the violence-wracked polls five years ago, in a showdown between President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with allegations of vote
rigging marring the key ballot.
The tense elections are seen as a
crucial test for Zimbabwe, with leaders vowing to avoid a repeat of the
bloody 2008 post-poll violence in which over 200 MDC supporters were killed
and observers repeatedly warning of the risk of renewed conflict.
return to a protracted political crisis, and possibly extensive violence, is
likely, as Zimbabwe holds inadequately prepared presidential, parliamentary
and local elections today, the International Crisis Group has
Conditions for a free and fair vote do not
Confidence in the process and institutions is low. The voters’
roll is a shambles, the security sector remains unreformed and the state
media is still grossly imbalanced.
The electoral commission is
under-funded and lacked time to prepare. Concerns about rigging are
pervasive, strongly disputed results highly likely.
casting ballots for a new president, parliamentarians, senators and
councillors, with some 6.4 million registered voters and more than 9 700
Results are expected within five days, officials have
Both front-runners have said they are confident of winning the
absolute majority needed to avoid a second round run-off vote.
the Daily News, we believe it’s time to retire the illustrious veteran who
has given so much to the country — President Robert Mugabe. Below we list 60
reasons we believe Mugabe should lose today’s poll.
1. At 89, President
Mugabe has by far passed the retirement age of 65 and should rest like any
other old man of his age.
At nearly 90 he needs to spend time with his
young children and also give advice to whoever wins the
It was clear from the 10 rallies he addressed that Mugabe
needs to rest and Zimbabweans should do him that favour today.
inherited a “Jewel of Africa” and wrecked it through Marxist and Stone Age
policies. The economy is now grounded.
3. The country is failing to feed
its citizens and is importing food from neighbouring countries like
4. He has refused to apologise for Gukurahundi atrocities where
an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians lost their lives in the Midlands and
5. Under Mugabe, there has been inadequate
power generation resulting in rolling power outages.
6. Almost nine
in every 10 Zimbabweans are unemployed in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and his party
has no clue on how to deal with unemployment which has hit the youths
Today, our graduates are employed at fast food outlets as
cashiers and cooks.
7. Mugabe has been stalked by repeated
accusations of electoral fraud over the last four national elections and
including today’s vote.
8. Under his rule, the country has been convulsed
by unprecedented violence, while those who committed murder in the run up to
the 2008 Presidential run-off are still free.
9. Notwithstanding the
violence that has blighted the country, there has been blatant impunity in
redressing the dark chapters.
10. Mugabe has failed to invest in health
delivery and he now shuns local facilities to seek specialist treatment
outside the country.
Most Zimbabweans cannot afford to get treatment at
hospitals and are dying at home.
11. His Zanu PF manifesto vilifies
the ministry of Education for working with donors to revive the country’s
education sector, which was devastated by his own economic mismanagement,
albeit after investing in the sector in the early years of his
12. Mugabe is hell-bent on quickly reviving the Zimdollar which
caused unprecedented hardships in the country.
13. Under Mugabe’s
rule, the family unit has been disintegrated as millions fled economic
hardships to seek opportunities in the Diaspora.
He has also denied the
Diasporans voting rights.
14. Mugabe has ruled by fear, and uses laws
like Posa and Aippa inherited from the racist Smith regime.
is fond of globetrotting despite the perilous state of the country’s
16. Mugabe has staunchly refused to open up the broadcast
sector to new players and maintained a broadcast monopoly that has seen
Zimbabweans resorting to foreign TV and radio channels.
Mugabe, university grants have been scrapped and tertiary education is
steadily deteriorating under the weight of under-funding.
18. There has
been no transparency in revenues being realised from minerals, pointedly
19. Corruption has become endemic under Mugabe’s Zimbabwe,
with the country ranking 154 out of 182 under Transparency International’s
corruption perception index.
20. He has shut down four
21. There has been militarisation of Zimbabwe under the
veteran ruler, with blurred lines between national institutions and
22. Under Mugabe’s rule, local banks are charging
high interest rates as much as 35 percent due to high political instability
23. Zimbabwe has one of highest unemployment rates of more than
80 percent due to company closures under his watch.
policy inconsistencies have affected the country’s ability to attract
25. The Zanu PF-driven indigenisation policy which requires
foreign-owned firms to surrender a controlling 51 percent to locals has
resulted in companies pulling out of the country, resulting in job losses
and investors staying away.
26. Zimbabwe has resorted to the use of a
multi-currency system after its Zimdollar currency became worthless due to
poor economic policies.
27. Zimbabwe has gone into the record books after
registering one of highest rates of inflation under a Mugabe
28. The country also printed one of the world’s highest
denominations, worth less than a US dollar.
29. His government has
destroyed agriculture, once the country’s biggest export earner and
employer after enforcing forced farm seizures.
30. Zimbabwe remains a
net importer of South African products with a trade deficit of $3,53 million
after it imported goods worth $3,207 billion against exports of $2,674
billion in 2012.
31. Under Mugabe, over $7,4 billion generated by the
country’s small to medium enterprises last year, is still to find its way
into the formal banking system due to risk concerns.
Mugabe, the legislature has expanded at an alarming rate, with the 8th
Parliament set to have a bloated Parliament of 400 sitting MPs from the
current 210 who will be paid at the taxpayers’ expense.
has failed to bring to book legislators who abused the Constituency
Development Fund (CDF) which was meant to develop constituencies.
Under his watch, Zanu PF MPs that were not attending Parliament including
Jonathan Moyo and Webster Shamu were never reprimanded.
35. Mugabe does
not respect the doctrine of separation of powers by arms of government as
the executive continued overriding other arms of the State such as the
judiciary and the legislature.
36. Because of the repressive environment
imposed on the country by Mugabe, Zimbabwean music legends such as Thomas
Mapfumo were forced into exile.
37. There has been paranoid censorship,
with songs perceived to be against Mugabe’s party denied airplay by the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
38. Under Mugabe, the poor economic
environment has made once-popular musicians paupers and has forced many
other musicians to quit music for other ventures.
39. In sport,
Mugabe’s contempt for games means this important sector of life has been
heavily underfunded for the three decades he has been in power.
Mugabe is impervious to new ideas.
41. He is not forward-looking and
spends time harping about the liberation struggle and not charting a new
direction for the country.
42. Under his rule, there has been systematic
breakdown of the rule of law.
43. There has been a purge of the judiciary
and installation of pliant judges on the bench.
44. He has failed to
deal with selective application of the law by police and judicial
45. Under Mugabe, uncollected garbage is contaminating cities
across the country.
46. Under Mugabe the rail system has collapsed
and mothballed with apparently no plan to revive this crucial and cheap
47. The road infrastructure is littered with potholes,
48. There is widespread prostitution because of lack
of economic opportunities.
49. The whole citizenry has been turned
into vendors and dealers because of lack of opportunities.
Mugabe, the economy has failed to produce star businesspersons and those who
have succeeded have been hounded out of the country.
51. There was
systematic collapse of recreational facilities under Mugabe’s 33-year rule,
from swimming pools in the townships!
52. Mugabe lost the 2008 elections
and used violence to retain power, and for that he must lose.
Under Mugabe, Zimbabwe was booted out of the Commonwealth.
presided over shortages of basics like salt, sugar and mealie-meal among
55. Under Mugabe, there are many unresolved mysterious deaths
like that of Rashiwe Guzha, Sydney Malunga and others.
56. Mugabe has
neglected the war veterans who brought independence to this country. He has
rarely if any, met with war veterans as an association.
57. Mugabe needs
to rest and write books about his life and struggles.
58. Under Mugabe,
thousands of people lost their pensions which they will not
59. He is causing unnecessary tension with big neighbour South
60. It is through Mugabe’s human rights’ violations which forced
the Western countries to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.
which take us to 89 are: destruction of Zesa, NRZ, Air Zimbabwe, Arda, Caaz,
PTC, CMED, Zupco, DDF, Shabanie/Mashaba Mines, Zimalloys, banking sector,
sport, social fabric, faith in government, general entertainment, small
businesses, transport infrastructure, tourism, bread basket status, well
being of the people, local currency, transparency in government and water
supplies to urban areas.
The last four reasons are Mugabe’s failures to:
complete the Zambezi Water Project, Kunzvi Dam, fully utilise the
Beira/Harare pipeline and dualise the country’s roads which have become
Can Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF be dislodged from
power after 33 years?
LAST UPDATED AT 12:51 ON WED 31 JUL
VOTERS in Zimbabwe go to the polls
today to elect a president with a straight choice between the incumbent Robert
Mugabe (centre) of the Zanu PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
It is the second time that the two
rivals have fought for the role, the last election taking place in 2008 against
the backdrop of bloodshed and corruption allegations. The run-up to these
elections has been a lot more peaceful than last time around, according to
The Guardian, with fewer reported instances of violence on the
However,Channel 4 Newssays that
thousands of troops have been sent to some areas of the country and police are
patrolling townships in the capital, Harare, with automatic rifles and grenade
Is the election likely to be
fixed?The MDC has accused Mugabe of already
cheating in the elections, theBBCreports,
with voters in opposition areas not being registered to vote and the names of up
to 100,000 dead people being included on the electoral register. There has also
been intimidation of and violence towards MDC supporters in some areas by their
Zanu PF rivals. Without any Western monitors on hand, it will be difficult to
gauge how clean the election is.
When will there be a result?Polls opened
this morning at 7am and will close at 5pm. The country's 6.4 million registered
voters have been granted a public holiday so that they can cast their ballots.
The final results are expected to come through at the beginning of next week as
results are tallied from far-flung rural polling stations across the
If one of the five candidates
doesn't receive 50 per cent plus one vote, there will be a run-off between the
two leading candidates from the first round on September 11.
Will the loser accept the result?The
89-year-old Mugabe has vowed to stand down if he is defeated."If you lose you
must surrender," he said yesterday. However, during his 33-year reign as
president, Mugabe has faced down opposition on many occasions and it is unlikely
he would give up without a fight. If the MDC lose, they are expected to
challenge the integrity of the poll.
What else is up for grabs?There are
also elections for the Zimbabwean parliament today. In the last election in 2008
the MDC took 51 per cent of votes against 45 per cent for Zanu
voting in a hotly-contested electionas President Robert Mugabe seeks to extend
power for a further five years. Mugabe, 89, has been at the helm since 1980, and
is the only leader the nation has known since it gained independence from
The polls are expected to
end an uneasy coalition government formed after violence broke out when Mugabe
claimed victory in the last election five years ago. The post-election violence
left 200 people dead and thousands more injured, according to rights
They are taking place
under a new constitution endorsed in a March referendum that limits the
president to two five-year terms. Mugabe is allowed to seek another term because
the rule does not apply retroactively. Results are expected within five days. To
be declared winner, a candidate needs to win more than 50% of the vote. If that
doesn't happen, a run-off will be held on September 11.
Who is running for
The head of state Robert
Mugabe, the 89-year-old leader of Zanu-PF, is seeking to extend his 33-year
rule. His main rival is the current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who helped
form the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999. Tsvangirai, 61, hopes to
become president after three failed attempts. There are three other candidates:
Welshman Ncube, the current industry and commerce minister and president of the
Movement for Democratic Change; Dumiso Dabengwa, leader of the Zimbabwe African
People's Union (Zapu), and Kisinoti Munodei Mukwazhe, who represents the small
Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP).
Who is Robert
Mugabe, born in 1924 in
the south of Rhodesia, spent his early career as a teacher.
Drawn to the struggle for
independence, he fled the country in the early 1960s, only to be jailed for 10
years on his return in 1964. On his release he formed Zanu-PF, which he led from
The conflict came at the
same time as the ANC in South Africa, led by Nelson Mandela, engaged in its
struggle to overthrow apartheid, a cause that drew strong support from Mugabe
and his followers.
In 1980, Mugabe became
prime minister of the newly formed Zimbabwe, and he assumed the position of
president in 1987.
A Wikileaks cable released
in 2011 claiming Mugabe had prostate cancer was dismissed by his
What problems has Zimbabwe
credentials held him in good stead during the early part of his leadership, with
many seeing him as a politician who could unite a country that had been divided
through civil conflict.
But in 2000 he drew
criticism for his land reform program, when white farmers were evicted from
their land, which was given to poor black Zimbabweans, many of them veterans of
the struggle for independence with limited knowledge of commercial farming.
Soon, agricultural output began to decrease sharply.
relationship with nations beyond southern Africa became rocky. In December 2003
Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth, the organization of the United Kingdom
and predominantly her former colonies. Five years later the UK government
stripped Mugabe of the honorary knighthood he had been awarded by Queen
The European Union imposed
sanctions on Mugabe and his allies over its human rights
By 2008 inflation in
Zimbabwe had soared to 200 million percent. Food shelves were empty,
international isolation continued to hit the economy, and corruption was
Mugabe failed to win
enough votes in the March 2008 presidential vote to retake office. His main
opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
withdrew from the presidential run-off vote scheduled for June 2008, alleging
Mugabe supporters had used violence and intimidation. Scores of opposition party
supporters were beaten, tortured and killed.
A power-sharing agreement
was eventually signed in September 2008, but a government of national unity was
only formed in February 2009, after Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime
How is Zimbabwe's economy doing at
In 2009, the country's
unemployment rate stood at 94% according to the CIA. However, since 2009,
Zimbabwe's economy has started to recover from a decade-long crisis. The value
of mineral exports increased by 230% during 2009-2011, while the value of
agricultural exports increased by 101% during the same
Growth in 2011 was led by
strong growth in mining (50.5%), agriculture (17.1%) and services (16.3%),
according to the World Bank. Zimbabwe's economy recorded real growth of more
than 9% per year in 2010-11, before slowing to 5% in 2012, mainly because of a
poor harvest and low diamond revenues.
But poverty in Zimbabwe is
still widespread, food shortages affect many parts of the country, and
corruption is rife.
-Our News Editor Gift Phiri (GP) talks to MDC
leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MT).
Below are excerpts of
GP: A massive
crowd turned out on Monday to rally behind you at your final star rally in
Harare. What do you read into this?
MT: You know, ever since
the start of this campaign, people underestimated the determination of the
people to have change.
And as we went around
(the country), you could see and feel the momentum. This Harare rally just
represents a culmination of the accumulation of the national mood that is so
determined to have change. It will be a travesty for someone to try to interfere
GP: You have expressed
vote rigging fears. What steps have you taken to avert electoral fraud in this
MT: I think its a
strategic question that cannot be answered in a question.
What I can assure you is
that the people of Zimbabwe were shortchanged in 2002 and 2008. This time I
think they have to draw a line in the sand and say as far as we are concerned,
we are going to defend our victory.
GP: Why not boycott the
election if its unfair?
MT: If the MDC boycotts
the election, Mugabe and his Zanu PF party will simply declare victory on
GP: Will you accept
defeat if you lose?
MT: That is
GP: Let us say you win
the election, there has been threats to veto the transition, to block the
transfer of power. How do you plan to go round that?
MT: Power transfer would
have already happened through the people’s expression at the
There is no power
transfer through any other mechanism but through the ballot.
If it becomes anything
other than that, it becomes a subversion of the people’s mandate. We do not talk
GP: How do you plan to
handle the losers in the event that you win?
MT: As I have said, in
any contest, a genuine contest, there is always a winner and a
But at the end of the
day, in a political contest, because you have participated in a process in which
you all feel was fair, you have to congratulate the winner and you must be
magnanimous to the loser. For politics, there are no winners, there are no
It is about determining
whose agenda is going to determine the path for their future, that is all. But
we are all Zimbabweans, and ultimately what each government will try to do is to
maximise the benefits to Zimbabweans, rather than undermine the benefits to
GP: There are heads of
the security sector who say they will never salute you even if you get the
people’s mandate. How do you plan to deal with this?
MT: First and foremost
as I have said, I believe in a security establishment that defends the
So we start with the
national security strategy which was agreed in the National Security
It defines how you are
going to relate to the security sector. Secondly, as a matter of principle, I
believe in professional work that promotions should be on merit, that these are
national institutions and they are not partisan political
For somebody to stand up
and say I will not accept the mandate of the people, it is idle to say the
least. It then becomes the defence of the people’s mandate against defence of
the status quo.
GP: What type of
government do you envisage?
MT: We have always
committed ourselves to a reasonably leaner government not probably more than 20
ministers, but there are a number interventions that are
The bureaucracy itself
through the Public Service Commission must change its
So we will be in a
position of reviewing and transforming the government so that its in line with
our mandate and our thrust.
So, not only do you
determine government by the size of the ministries, but also determined by the
competence of the bureaucracy.
GP: Are we likely to see
changes in the superstructure?
MT: There is going to be
changes, obviously I am not going to have the same Cabinet as
And of course all
permanent secretaries in terms of the new Constitution have to serve a
So it means all
permanent secretaries, their contracts have to be reviewed.
GP: The country has gone
through a period of sustained turmoil and pain. How do you plan to tackle
MT: You know what is
painful, it is for people whose houses have been destroyed by (Operation)
Murambatsvina when they are being roughshod to go to a meeting of Zanu
What we will like to see
about transitional justice is that the truth must be told because the truth sets
us free. As far as I am concerned, truth and reconciliation is a must, and it is
there in the new Constitution.
GP: And what about
victims of the Gukurahundi genocide, Murambatsvina do they get
MT: It is the same
commission that has to handle those matters. If it is an independent commission,
we will wait for their recommendation. How do they intend to tackle the matter
in terms of their mandate.
GP: Corruption is
pervasive. How do you plan to end this scourge?
MT: Corruption starts at
the top contrary to general view that corruption starts at the bottom, it does
Corruption starts at the
top. If the top is clean, there is no way those at the lower echelons of the
body politic behave otherwise because there are disincentives for bad behaviour
by sanctions taken from the top. So if you start from the top, if the top is
clean, the bottom will be okay.
GP: Are you ready to
MT: It is not even a
question of are you ready to govern, but when you govern. I articulated the
I said as president,
these are things I am going to do and they revolve around the governance
culture, around reviving the economy, revolve around reviving the
infrastructure, a particular focus on various interventions in various
They involve attracting
or healing our relations with the international community which is at an
all-time low. So there is a programme of action regarding what the MDC president
and his team are going to do to reverse the decline.
GP: Zanu PF claims you
will reverse land reform and the indigenisation programme. What exactly do you
plan to do with the two if you romp to victory?
MT: We are not Zanu PF.
Let them articulate their policies, if they are popular with the people, let the
people vote for them. But for us, it is about creating new wealth, not sharing a
For us, it is about
increasing agricultural output and not just an emotional attachment to the land.
So land reform is an emotional issue but it is also a productivity
GP: In your manifesto
you talk of creating a million jobs. How exactly do you intend to go about
MT: You have got a
situation in which even (Tourism minister Walter) Mzembi says you can create 1,2
million jobs in the tourism industry alone. So it is possible. But we are not
going to rely on that.
What we are saying is
that we need to sit down with Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Industry to revive
collapsing industries, textile industry, clothing industry, food industry, all
these sectors are potential job creators.
The other potential job
creator is infrastructure. Open up dual roads in our major trunk roads, open up
our railways, open up Batoka electricity generation, open up sub-Kariba, you
will have so much activity and yet that is an enabling
So while we invest in
infrastructure, we will able to create jobs. We used to have 1,6 million jobs.
We lost a million.
All we need to do is
bring this country where it was, at the most vibrant level where it ever reached
by creating one million jobs. In new areas like new mining ventures, open up
closed mines, you create jobs. If the mining industry used to employ 60 000, now
its almost 30 000 it means between 30 000 to 35 000 lost their
GP: What are your plans
for the Zim-dollar?
MT: It will not return
until such a time as we have got sufficient gold reserves to sustain
Otherwise you go back to
the hyperinflation conditions. You will be forced to print money to pay for your
debts. And that is what has caused problems.
GP: What will you like
to tell voters going into the ballot booth on Wednesday
MT: We have to ensure
that, Wednesday (today) is not just an event. Wednesday (today) is part of a
process that we are going to roll out as soon as we are given the mandate. So
Wednesday (today) is the start of a process of confidence building, of
GP: The campaign has
been hectic, have you spoken to President (Robert) Mugabe since you started the
MT: No we have not
spoken. (They met for the first time yesterday)
MT: He has not convened
our usual Monday meetings.
He has even refused to
give me my two Prados that were impounded. He is the one who said, no you can’t
GP: Let us say you are
elected president, how are you going to treat him? Are you going to pursue
MT: There will be no
special treatment, he will only get the treatment former presidents deserve. He
is a former president ka, so there are privileges and status that go with being
a former president, that he will be entitled.
And besides, why should
we pursue him when we have got so much on our table to deal
Instead of focusing on
this old man, we will have to focus on the agenda that we have set for
GP: At his National
Sports Stadium rally, he threatened that he is going to get you arrested if you
announce the results as you plan to do. What is you
MT: Arrest me for what?
When you have a contender to power threatening another contender, where have you
seen that? What powers will you be using?
Zvakafanana nekuti mose
muri kutamba bhora umwe player goes and kicks the referee and takes the whistle
and run. (Laughs) Or where the referee throws the whistle away and joins the
I mean, it is ridiculous
to even think one can make that kind of statement. We will be taking our results
from our polling stations.
GP: But there are plans
by Zec to move the tallying of votes away from polling
MT: We will not allow
it, I want to tell you, we will not allow it. We will not allow movement of
boxes. And the law does not allow it. We will not disobey the
The law says there shall
be counting at polling stations. And that is going to obtain.
No box is going to move
out of any polling station until the results have been pinned outside the
polling station and everyone is satisfied.
So what is wrong with me
as Tsvangirai to collect all the information about our results? We are not
violating the law. I will not announce national results, I will announce my
results. Is that illegal?
GP: So there will
definitely be a parallel voter tabulation being done by the
MT: Yes, definitely, we
will do that. We will be collecting all our results and at the appropriate time,
we will tell our people we have won.
They will be
celebrating. Oh, yes. Why should we wait for the official announcement which
comes four, five days later when we have already won.
We are not interfering
with the national announcement, we are just saying varume, tahwina. Awa
maresults edu aya. Taita parallel voter tabulation yedu, tatora maresults edu
eku mapolling stations ta adder.
These are the results,
we now have 75 percent in our favour. Womirira hanzi kuti (Zec chairwoman Rita)
Makarau ataure. Hatidaro.
GP: You addressed almost
10 times the number of your opponent’s rallies...
MT: Mudhara hapana
chaakambotadza. Musafunga kuti anga achienda achiti ndisupportei , anga achiti
veduwe, vanhu, ndokutendai nekundisupporter bha bhai ndaakuenda kunozorora, it
was nice doing business with you, makandisapotao all these
Zimbabwe’s electoral law states that the results of the
elections must be posted outside of the polling stations at ward level.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the MDC would use these figures to
announce the results in real time – so why do we need to wait five days for
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce what is posted at a local
level within hours?
President Robert Mugabe's response to
Tsvangirai was "if he does so we will arrest him." MDC Secretary General
Tendai Biti then said there was nothing illegal about announcing the results
already posted by ZEC and promised to do so.
I have just been to my
polling station (at close of polling at 7pm) to view the results as I did in
2008. I was told by a ZEC monitor that they were taking a 15 minute break
and then had been instructed to begin counting ONLY local councillor votes.
He said the MP and Presidential ballots would be transported to a larger
town 45 minutes away to be posted at regional level. The vehicle that will
transport them is only large enough for a select few officials to move
This is how the vote is being stolen this time. At this point the
opposition parties should withdraw from or halt the process - this is
blatantly the means by which the will of the people is to be subverted yet
OPINION It is election day in Zimbabwe. This is a good day to
reconsider the Zimbabwean land reform experience and what to make of it,
especially as we consider what should be done about land reform in South
Africa. When you think of Zimbabwean land reform, you think about the "fast
track" reform from 2000 that saw the majority of commercial farms either
broken up and handed in smaller allotments to about 125,000 small farmers
and 50,000 larger small-holders, or grabbed by members of the Zimbabwean
elite. How did this come about?
A little report in Tuesday's Times is
revealing. Erina Murwira, now in her 80s and living on the outskirts of
Harare will be voting for the MDC. Why? “I stopped supporting Mugabe a long
time ago ... he has not taken care of us old people. He has failed us,” she
said. She has not forgiven Mugabe for stopping her pension in the 1990s. To
understand why Erina's pension was stopped we need to understand why the
fast track land reform became a political necessity for the ruling Zanu-PF
dictatorship. It had little to do with justice and a new economic path, as
some naive researchers have suggested, and everything to do with bloated
plutocrats hanging on to the state at any cost.
independence in 1980, the new government in Zimbabwe resettled 52,000
families on 2.5 million hectares purchased from European commercial farmers.
Plans called for the acquisition and resettlement of an additional five
million hectares. Initially it was a great success. The UN's Food and
Agricultural Organisation reported that smallholder maize production doubled
from 738,000 tonnes in 1980 to 1.3 million tonnes in 1986 and that
underlying this was "the inheritance of a productive public agricultural
research system, a quadrupling in the number of government-provided loans to
smallholders, a sharp increase in guaranteed producer prices and a 30-fold
increase in the number of Government Marketing Board (GMB) grain-buying
depots and collection points." The government also spent money on education
Why did the government falter? A large part of the
reason, and one that is given far too little importance by contemporary
writers on Zimbabwean land reform, was the coup which Mugabe initiated in
1982 in Matebaleland against the Ndebele stronghold of Zapu, the main
opposition party led by Joshua Nkomo. Over 20,000 people were butchered in
the "Gukurahundi" and Mugabe's regime became a de-facto dictatorship. It
shocks me that most writers on Zimbabwe's 2000 land reform, Mahmood Mandani
being a notable exception, are largely silent on the anti-democratic nature
of the Mugabe regime which has looted the Zimbabwean state for private
By 1990, the government was broke with debt service obligations
consuming 33% of its budget. Zimbabwe was obliged to seek help from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank which demanded structural
adjustment. Erina Murwira's old age pension was a casualty of these IMF
imposed cuts. Markets were deregulated and public expenditure reduced. At
the same time drought and poor agricultural yields further restricted
Between 1991 and 1996 manufacturing shrank by 14% and
GDP per capita declined by 5.8%. Government spending on education declined
by over 30% as wages for teachers were slashed and health spending declined.
In desperation it printed more money to keep social spending going, starting
a vicious inflationary spiral, already 50% by 1999.
ruling clique had by 1999 seized all organs of state. It was hugely
unpopular and effectively lost the 2000 elections to the newly formed MDC:
it was only the appointment of 30 seats from amongst the chiefs that gave
Mugabe control of Parliament. It was this shock that precipitated the fast
track land reform to shore up the rural vote which was in near revolt
against Mugabe's misrule.
The result of the land reform was massive
economic dislocation. However, recently a group of researchers led by Ian
Scoones in the UK has stimulated discussion on Zimbabwe land reform. Scoones
found that many recipients of small holdings have in fact increased
production and are better off as a result of receiving land.
indeed have been surprising if the perhaps 160,000 smallholder beneficiaries
from among the very poor and 51,000 beneficiaries from among small and
medium-scale black farmers had not increased production. But this increase
in smallholder production, which is still wholly inadequate to feed
Zimbabwe, has come at the cost disrupting the link between Zimbabwean
agriculture and industry. It has further undermined state revenue and made
impossible any of the support to smallholders that had been responsible for
the large increases in production in the 1980-85 period.
decade since the land redistribution, up to 70,000 households---perhaps 350
000 people--remain displaced, living in poverty on the urban peripheries of
Zimbabwe's cities and towns. But the total displacement was far greater.
Many more, perhaps two to three million, did not receive land and lost their
livelihoods in the cities and were forced into economic migrancy, mainly in
South Africa and Botswana. Many others were forced into labour tenancy,
non-wage and casual work on the redistributed land. This loss of population
has reduced domestic demand and contributed to loss of revenue for the
Loss of agricultural output from large scale farms not made up by
Prior to land reform, Zimbabwe produced not only
sufficient maize, wheat, and other grains, but a surplus was exported. Since
land reform there has been a critical dependence on imports. Approximately
1.8 million tonnes of maize are required annually to meet the country’s
needs against the current national yield of a little more than 300 thousand
tonnes per year. Since 2000, there have been 13 consecutive years of food
deficits and the United Nations has recently appealed for more than $100
million dollars to feed 1.7 million Zimbabweans in 2013. Production of wheat
continues to be constrained by lack of access to inputs and an unstable
power supply, arising from a bankrupt state that cannot maintain and invest
It is a standard refrain from those arguing for the
great gains made by smallholder agriculture that these figures are not to be
trusted. But Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, wrote this year
that “We have received the second crop assessment report, which records the
unacceptable situation of a major decline in agricultural output… Our
strategic grain reserve is less than 40,000 metric tonnes. We are in the
process of importing 150,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.”
of the main contributing factors to agriculture’s massive decline is that
the majority of the new farmers did not have the capital necessary to fund
operations and could not access funding because of the chaotic manner in
which the expropriations were carried out. The state claims title to all
farmlands, only making land available to new farmers by way of leases. The
state therefore denied those farmers the collateral security necessary to
access working capital for farming operations.
Shrinking economy and
job losses equals less state revenue and greater fiscal debt
jobs were lost between the peak employment in 1998 and 2011. Only 14% of the
workforce has a paid, permanent job in the formal economy. Using the most
generous definition of informal employment, at least half the workforce does
not have a job. The collapse of the commercial farming sector has
contributed significantly to a steep decline in state revenues, the collapse
of state services and hyperinflation as the government desperately printed
money to keep going, and eventually the abandonment of the Zimbabwean dollar
in 2008 in favour of the US dollar and the rand.
A recent study by the
Development Bank of Southern Africa found that the Zimbabwean government
"currently employs an estimated 250,000 people generating a wage bill of
more than US$960 million, working out at more than 70% of revenue
collections, 60% of the total budget, and more than 15% of
Zimbabwe Government Debt to GDP averaged 80% from 1990 until
2011, reaching an all time high of 151% in December of 2011. The relevance
of this for land reform is that there can be no question of government
support for infrastructure, veterinary and agricultural support services,
grain silos, transport and so on--things that Scoones and others would agree
are essential--because the state is bankrupt.
An economy driven into
the informal sector and reliant on smallholding agriculture cannot provide
the revenue to sustain a modern state. The mining sector, driven by foreign
multinationals despite the enrichment disguise of "indigenisation" does not
on its own do anything to promote local industry.
Of course the blame for
all this does not lay solely with ZANU-PF and its ruling clique. If there
had been greater international support for land reform, more willingness
from large scale farmers to redistribute and support both small scale and
larger black farmers as well as less pressure from the IMF, World Bank and
the World Trade Organisation to liberalise and reign in expenditure on
agricultural support, things might not have ended up as they have.
that as it may, it doesn't change the reality that there is no independent
small scale route to greater well-being once large scale commercial
agriculture has been undermined. From an analytical point of view it seems
Scoones and others seems happy to ignore all of this when discussing the
impact of land reform, taking increased production and incomes for
smallholders as if this is the only socially relevant criteria. It seems to
me to be historically blind to argue that there is a Korean path for
Zimbabwe. Korean land reform occurred with the United States fully committed
to its success in an era of sustained global economic expansion and driven
by cold war era concerns. None of these conditions pertain to
The meaning of all this for South Africa should be clear,
especially when taken against the smaller proportion of the population
dependent on the land for a living. Land reform requires the state to have
the capacity to provide post settlement support, secure title and cheap
capital. Zimbabwe shows that undermining the large farms undermines the
capacity of the state to provide these things. Zimbabwe's smallholders
deserve a state that provides such support. And it cannot be a