By Petina Gappah
Later that day, I had lunch with friends at SAPES Trust, an organisation that hosts lively political debates and has the best African food in Harare. The usual SAPES crowd was there – journalists, political commentators, businessmen, diplomats.
On every face was the same shock and disbelief. There was no doubt in any mind that Zanu PF had pulled off one of the most spectacular cons in the history of electoral fraud.
In the run up to the election, SAPES had hosted a number of debates on what Zimbabwe could expect from the election. That it was played on an uneven field was clear. That the law had been flouted from the day that Mr Mugabe had proclaimed the election date right to the day of the election itself was equally clear. There was no doubt that the MDC would have to fight the hardest it had ever fought. And in addition to what was clearly and legally demonstrable were the rumours that hinted of what was to come and that said that an Israeli company had been paid vast amounts of money to manipulate the voters' roll.
And so we had expected theft, we had anticipated rigging, but the monumental scale of the theft took us all by surprise.
As we sat at our tables, trying to digest peanut butter rice and roadrunner chicken, sadza and T-bone steaks, a journalist shouted that Jonathan Moyo, one of the key Zanu PF plotters behind this election, had lost his seat. There was a small cheer, followed by laughter, but the laughter had a gasping, hysterical edge to it.
After lunch, I took part in a discussion for a South African TV station with two panellists who managed to lace their rage with eloquence. Ibbo Mandaza, SAPES founder and a former member of Zanu PF, was uncompromising in his assessment. If the Africans accept this, he said, referring to the Africa Union, then it means they have endorsed impunity. Brian Raftopolous, a political scientist agreed. The bar will have been set so low for African elections that they may as well not have any standards at all.
By the evening, the picture was complete. The MDC had been maimed beyond comprehension, the democratic space had shrunk and the hopes of Zimbabweans with it. That same day, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union's representative, left the country with this parting shot: "There is no such thing as a perfect election."
The next day, at a press conference full of protocol and hot air, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observers delivered their verdict: the elections had been free and peaceful. And with those words, they have condemned Zimbabweans to at least five more years of Zanu PF's looting of state resources, Zanu PF's incompetence and mismanagement and human rights violations.
Zanu PF has won this election with a brutal and ruthless efficiency. If they can bring that singleness of purpose to managing the economy and bringing the country out of isolation, then Zimbabwe will be wealthy beyond measure. I won't be holding my breath. My thoughts are now on one single thing: how to survive the next five years with my sanity intact and my family whole and how to find a way to be happy again in a world that has showed that injustice wins over hope. But there is this: unless Zanu PF tampers with the new constitution, Zimbabwe now has presidential term limits. And that means that, come what may, there will be no President Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 2023. Now that is something to look forward to.
Petina Gappah is a writer, lawyer and fellow of the Open Society. She won the Guardian First Book Award in 2009 for her collection of stories, An Elegy for Easterly.
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said his party had evidence of massive rigging in the election that official results showed him losing to President Robert Mugabe by more than 35 percentage points.
By Robyn Dixon August 3, 2013
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who at 89 has ruled the country for 33 years, was reelected president in an election declared a "farce" by rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe's electoral commission announced Saturday that Mugabe received 61% of the vote, compared with 34% for Tsvangirai, the current prime minister and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.
The vote has been condemned as seriously compromised by the largest local observer group, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network. African observers have commended the election for being peaceful — in contrast with past violent elections — while expressing mild concern about voting irregularities.
The European Union on Saturday raised doubts, citing voting irregularities and a lack of transparency.
"The EU is concerned about alleged irregularities and reports of incomplete participation, as well as the identified weaknesses in the electoral process and a lack of transparency. The EU will continue to follow developments and work closely with its international partners in the weeks to come," said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in a statement.
Tsvangirai said the results should be "null and void" but ruled out violence, calling for a new election.
"The fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis." he said. "The MDC is resolved to pursue peaceful, democratic and constitutional remedies to this crisis."
He said his party had evidence of massive rigging.
"People of Zimbabwe must be given another chance to participate in a free, fair and credible election. They have been shortchanged by a predetermined election," he said.
For Tsvangirai's party, the parliamentary vote was catastrophic. It won 50 seats, compared with 158 fior Mugabe's ZANU-PF, giving the ruling party the power to change the constitution at will. Two other seats went to independents.
via Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe reelected; opponents cry foul - latimes.com.
By Susan Njanji Published August 03, 2013 AFP
HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe's veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has once again been outsmarted and beaten by his arch foe President Robert Mugabe.
Many believe it was his last shot at dethroning the shrewd Zimbabwean strongman, whose emphatic election victory on Saturday marks the third time he has trumped Tsvangirai in an election.
This time Tsvangirai won only 34 percent to Mugabe's 61 percent, a result he fiercely contests, alleging his rival rigged the vote.
Tsvangirai has spent the past 14 years building up his Movement for Democratic Change party to make it the only credible alternative to Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
But some analysts said the election was do-or-die, and that the bricklayer's son -- who grew up the eldest of nine children -- may not bounce back from another defeat.
Even Tsvangirai's closest supporters may believe Mugabe has outplayed him one too many times.
It has been a long journey for the 61-year-old.
Born to a large family in grinding poverty in the eastern district of Buhera, he had to quit school early and earn a living so as to enable his younger siblings to get an education.
After working for 10 years at Bindura Nickel Mine, he became leader of the country's largest union, spearheading national strikes in the 1990s against Mugabe's economic policies.
The teetotal, non-smoking Tsvangirai quickly rose to political prominence.
Under Mugabe's rule, he was detained twice for his political activism and was twice cleared of treason charges.
Yet unlike most of Zimbabwe's politicians of his age and older, Tsvangirai did not take part in the Chimurenga liberation war against white colonial rule.
He was 28 when Zimbabwe won independence from Britain in 1980.
Despite a strong following among urbanites and Zimbabweans in the rural west of the country, Tsvangirai also lost the race for the presidency in 2002 and 2008, despite running Mugabe close.
Five years ago he won 47.9 percent of the vote to Mugabe's 43.2 percent, which necessitated a runoff.
In a fair race, he may well have won outright. But a spate of violence against his allies forced Tsvangirai to bow out before the final round of voting.
For his troubles, he has been arrested repeatedly, been charged with treason and faced four suspected assassination attempts.
In 1997 assailants tried to throw him out of his office window.
His bodyguard has been killed and his wife died in a suspicious car crash that left him hospitalised.
But even among supporters, there is a lingering sense that Tsvangirai has repeatedly been outplayed by Mugabe, even when the international community forced the veteran leader to accept him as prime minister.
After more than four years of a forced unity government, Zimbabwe's most meaningful levers of power -- from the security services to the judiciary -- remain under Mugabe's control.
Tsvangirai has been criticised for offering Mugabe legitimacy by participating in polls that have repeatedly been rigged -- and for failing to mobilise mass protests that could shift the terrain in his favour.
And on his watch, the MDC has split into two rival factions, draining energy and valuable votes.
Despite this, he has managed to forge an alliance with Simba Makoni, a former finance minister and senior official of Mugabe's party, who came third in the first round of the 2008 elections.
While he is widely seen as a champion of democracy, recent scandals surrounding his love life, including a public divorce, have put a dent in his popularity.
He "gets distracted by a whole lot of things, including personal issues," said South African analyst Moeletsi Mbeki, who has known Tsvangirai since the 1980s.
That does little to help strengthen his fight especially facing a "very powerful adversary" like Mugabe.
"Morgan has been learning on the job while fighting against... Mugabe (who) is the one of the cleverest politicians in Africa."
Mbeki thinks that "in fact Morgan has done reasonably well given the lack of experience he started off with."
In March 2007, he was among dozens of opposition activists assaulted by police as they tried to stage an anti-government rally, and suffered head injuries.
Just three weeks after taking office as the premier, his first wife Susan died in a car crash that also left him hospitalised.
There are increasing signs his long struggle has taken its toll.
"I don't have the 'I-will-not-go' attitude. When my days are done, I will go and leave these young ones (to it)," Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters before the election.
via Tsvangirai: outfoxed by Mugabe yet again | Fox News.
Zimbabwean analysts have expressed mixed views on the future, especially economic future, of the country following the re-election of President Robert Mugabe and his party into power.
Mugabe's Zimbabwe African Nation Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu- PF) party also secured two-thirds of the seats in the parliament, giving it the power to amend the constitution without the support of other parties.
Nhamo Mhiripiri, a media studies lecturer with the Midlands State University, told Xinhua on Saturday that Mugabe and his party's victory in the July 31 elections will give Zimbabwe stability and certainty to move forward.
"There will be more stability, less bickering and a pursuance of polices that will be easy to deliver," he said.
He said Zimbabweans had decided to give the revolutionary party another chance to deliver, following poor performance by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party during the time it was in the inclusive government.
"For now that's what Zimbabweans need. If Zanu-PF messes up again, Zimbabweans will vote wisely and so the party has to deliver on its promises," Mhiripiri added.
He said Zanu-PF's promise to economically empower Zimbabweans through greater control of natural resources was deliverable, compared to MDC-T's promise to build the economy and create jobs through external assistance.
Zimbabwe's economy has gone through a roller-coaster past from one of Africa's most prosperous countries to a near collapse economy. The economy began to recover in 2009 after the government dumped the hyperinflation-crashed Zimbabwe dollar and adopted the U.S. dollar as currency. Mining and agriculture sectors are also booming.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai were forced into a coalition government after the disputed polls in 2008. Both claimed credit for the economic recovery and criticized the other's strategies to boost development.
Zanu-PF has been pushing for local employment through "indigenization" drive, while MDC-T is more in favor of attracting foreign investments by opening up wide.
"The MDC-T's plan to get investment from countries that have let us down during the time of the inclusive government is not realistic. They went to the West with a begging bowl, asking for assistance and investment, but this was not forthcoming," Mhiripiri said.
However, outgoing Education Minister David Coltart said Zanu-PF will face a mammoth task to rebuild the economy because its win was not legitimate.
"It will be very difficult for them to govern the country. Zanu- PF has the challenge of attracting domestic and international investment. It has to resuscitate business confidence and I think it will be a big battle for them to achieve that," Coltart said.
Tsvangirai has described the elections as a "huge farce" that did not reflect the will of the people. He said the elections were marred with irregularities that affect the legitimacy of its outcome.
Coltart, who lost to a member of Tsvangirai's party in the July 31 parliamentary elections, said Zimbabwe would find it difficult to attract foreign capital if Zanu-PF insisted on its policy to transfer foreign ownership of companies to black Zimbabweans.
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a member of Mugabe's party, said on Friday that his party will push ahead with the indigenization program to ensure the country's resources "are exploited by Zimbabweans for the benefit of our people."
"We want to enhance participation of locals in industry from the current levels (51 percent) to 100 percent. We want to have an economy that is Zimbabwean," he said.
Chinamasa said Zimbabwe's economy was currently a British economy as major banks were British-owned.
Under the program that started in 2010, foreign-owned mining companies have given up stakes to locals and the banking sector is next in line.
Local governance advocacy group, the Harare Residents' Trust said it wanted quality services delivered from the Harare City Council (HRT).
"To the HRT, the issues have not changed. Residents want clean water, effective representation by elected officials, accountable leadership and transparency in the utilization of public resources, and more engagement among the citizens and their elected representatives and service providers," the group said.
Updated 4 August 2013, 7:12 AEST
By Africa correspondent Ginny Stein, wires | ABC Radio Australia
Zimbabwe's 89-year-old president Robert Mugabe has won another term in office amid the fury of the opposition, which alleges the election was stolen. Electoral officials have confirmed Mr Mugabe's ZANU-PF party won more than two-thirds of all seats. But leader of the opposition MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, is defiantly claiming victory and says he will challenge the result in court.
Zimbabwe's 89-year-old president Robert Mugabe has won another term in office amid the fury of the opposition, which alleges the election was stolen.
Electoral officials have confirmed Mr Mugabe's ZANU-PF party won more than two-thirds of all seats following the national poll last week.
It now gives the long-time president sweeping powers, including the right to change the newly-written constitution.
Leader of the opposition MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, is defiantly claiming victory for his party in the parliamentary elections, despite results showing a landslide defeat.
Mr Tsvangirai says the election has been stolen and he will challenge the decision.
"We are not rejecting these results because the MDC has not won, we are rejecting these results because the election was fraudulent," he said.
He says his party will present a dossier to the regional organisation that urged his party to work with Mr Mugabe to get to these elections.
"We don't want a situation where the referee throws the whistle away and joins the other team," he said. "That's what we are seeing."
Election observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have urged Mr Tsvangirai to accept the result.
They expressed relief that the elections had so far avoided the kind of violent turmoil that marred a vote in 2008, when 200 MDC supporters were killed by ZANU-PF supporters.
'Grave concerns' about election fraud
Mr Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony in southern Africa since its independence in 1980, was formally proclaimed re-elected for a five-year term barely an hour after Mr Tsvangirai announced his planned legal challenge.
The US and European Union, which have imposed sanctions on Mr Mugabe over previous flawed elections and alleged abuses of power, say they are concerned over reports of irregularities in the July 31 poll.
Britain's foreign secretary William Hague said he had "grave concerns" over the conduct of the vote and called for all allegations of electoral fraud to be thoroughly investigated.
"The irregularities in the lead up to the elections and on election day itself, reported by the observer missions and in contravention of SADC's guidelines, call into serious question the credibility of the election," he said.
Mr Hague expressed particular concern over evidence that the voters' roll was not made available to all Zimbabwe's political parties, describing it as a "critical flaw" in the election.
US secretary of state John Kerry said the election results were the culmination of a deeply flawed process and did not represent the will of citizens.
"In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people," he said in a statement.
Mugabe was one of the guerrilla leaders who helped end white minority rule in the former Rhodesia, renamed Zimbabwe after a peace deal brought independence.
The southern African state has rich reserves of chromium, platinum, coal and diamonds.
Reaction from the West will be key to the future of Zimbabwe's economy, which is still struggling with the aftermath of a decade-long slump and hyperinflation that ended in 2009 when the Zimbabwe dollar was scrapped.
via Zimbabwe opposition furious over Robert Mugabe's 'fraudulent' election victory | ABC Radio Australia.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has won a seventh term in office, officials say, amid claims of electoral fraud.
Mr Mugabe, 89, won 61% of the vote, against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's 34%.
Mr Tsvangirai earlier said the elections for parliament and president were fraudulent and promised to take legal action.
He said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would no longer work with Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
The two parties have been in a coalition since 2009, after the last election sparked widespread violence.
Results from this week's parliamentary election showed the MDC had been trounced, winning just 49 seats compared with Zanu-PF's 158.
In a news conference before the presidential result was announced, Mr Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was "in mourning".
MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai called the election ''fraudulent and stolen''
"The fraudulent and stolen election has launched Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis," he said.
He said he would produce a dossier of the alleged electoral fraud and he called on the southern African regional bloc, Sadc, to investigate.
His MDC colleagues had earlier called for a campaign of civil disobedience to isolate Zanu-PF.
The European Union, which maintains sanctions on Mr Mugabe and his senior aides, said it was concerned about "alleged irregularities and reports of incomplete participation" in Wednesday's election.
Former colonial power the UK said it had grave concerns about the conduct of the election, and urged a thorough investigation of all allegations of violations.
The US state department also called for an investigation and said the results were not a "credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people".
Monitoring groups disagreed over the conduct of the election.
The most critical account came from the largest group of monitors, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), which had 7,000 workers observing the vote.
The organisation said problems with voter registration had left up to one million people unable to cast their ballots, mostly in urban areas regarded as MDC strongholds.
On Saturday, one of the nine members of the election commission resigned over the way the election was conducted.
Commissioner Mkhululi Nyathi said in his resignation letter: "While throughout the whole process I retained some measure of hope that the integrity of the whole process could be salvaged along the way, this was not to be."
However, the African Union, which had 70 observers, said its initial report suggested the election was "free and credible".
The AU's mission chief Olusegun Obasanjo said there had been "incidents that could have been avoided" and asked Zimbabwe's election authorities to investigate claims that voters had been turned away from polling stations.
Sadc, with 600 observers, broadly endorsed the election as "free and peaceful", but said it would reserve judgement on the fairness of the process.
Major Western groups were not invited to send observer missions.
Mr Mugabe has been president since 1987. He became prime minister when Zimbabwe won independence from the UK in 1980.
via BBC News - Zimbabwe President Mugabe re-elected amid fraud claims.
By Andrew Harding, BBC News Africa 3 August 2013
The turnout was high, but the result has been confusion
Most elections provide answers. Zimbabwe's seems to be generating questions. As President Robert Mugabe romps to a devastating victory, here are a few that spring to mind…
Does the sheer size of Mr Mugabe's majority mean it's unlikely he could have rigged the vote to that extent, and therefore must have won legitimately?
What does this mean for Zimbabwe's economy? Will Zanu-PF match its campaign rhetoric on indigenisation with aggressive moves against foreign banks and other companies? And might that risk triggering a new crisis?
Can the MDC control the anger and frustration in its ranks? And can its leader Morgan Tsvangirai survive another defeat?
Mr Tsvangirai said his party wouldn't take part in any state "institutions". Will he stick to that promise?
Given that its concerns about the voters' roll were being articulated long before the election, would the MDC be in a stronger position if it had withdrawn from the ballot altogether?
Why, given its "grave concerns" about the voter roll (now echoed by the British government) did the African Union observer team rush to conclude that the election was "credible"?
How many arrests - particularly of civil society activists and MDC cadres - do you foresee in the coming days?
Will anyone even notice when Sadc finally rules on the "fairness" of the election sometime in September?
If conclusive evidence of rigging comes to light, will any parliamentary seats change hands?
Would Zimbabwe be better off if the MDC concedes defeat in the interests of harmony, or should it fight on?
How many British diplomats are cursing the day they ever pushed for sanctions against President Mugabe, given the astonishing propaganda value he's extracted from them?
Will anyone in the opposition ever get an electronic copy of that voters' roll - and work out exactly what happened to it?
Exactly what did Zanu-PF's Patrick Chinamasa mean when he said the new constitution "may need cleaning up"?
via BBC News - Zimbabwe's perplexing election.
A comment from Silence Chihuri, a lawyer and Zimbabwean political analyst who writes from Scotland.
Excerpt: "For the last 14 years Zimbabweans have been waiting to be taken to an imaginary “promised land” by the merchants of self enrichment and womanisers in the MDC party. The reason why the MDC in general and Morgan Tsvangirai in particular failed to realise their common but utopian dream of taking charge of Zimbabwe was nothing to do with any form of obstruction but rather down to their outright failure to grasp the gist of national politics and governance. In the history of African opposition politics, the MDC party received a level of support at home and abroad that was unprecedented and unrivalled. But as can now be concluded, it is one thing for a political party to get as much support but if they do not have any clue as to what to do with that support then they will never realise their mission. The MDC has died an inevitable political death and ZANU PF has realised an inevitable resurrection."
See the full note on ZimbabweSituation's Facebook page
Posted by Tichaona Sibanda on Saturday, August 3, 2013 SW Radio Africa
The level of electoral fraud by ZANU PF, allegedly with help from the Israeli Nikuv company, has left many losing MDC parliamentary candidates more ‘astonished’ than ‘shocked’.
Take for instance the case of Julius Magarangoma, the MDC-T parliamentary candidate for Buhera North in Manicaland. There is one ward in which he was assured he would get all the votes. This is his home turf where his wife, family, friends, party colleagues and extended family members voted.
The party’s polling agents were there and are 100 percent sure the ballot boxes never left the room. The provincial chairman of the MDC-T kept a keen eye on the station as he knew this was where he would win every vote.
But once the voting ended and counting started, Magarangoma says he nearly suffered a heart attack. Why? Because all the votes cast in the polling station came out in favour of Robert Mugabe and the ZANU PF parliamentary candidate.
‘Even those that voted, including my family, are still shocked and think the ballots were moved. We had more than five people monitoring the boxes, they never moved an inch,’ Magarangoma said. He told SW Radio Africa on Saturday that something sinister happened, but he does not know what.
In Matabeleland North and South, ZANU PF made shocking inroads, grabbing almost all seats in a region where Mugabe and his party are hated to the core because of the 1980’s Gukurahundi massacres.
There is growing speculation that Nikuv designed a special watermarked ballot paper that gave a resounding victory in areas where Mugabe has failed to win an election since independence. These unconfirmed reports allege that the ballot used on Wednesday had a clever water mark against Mugabe’s name, that was activated by any ink used against any other candidate, making him the winner.
There is no way of proving these allegations, but there are many other clear reports of rigging that are in the process of being collated.
Speculation about Nikuv’s involvement in the rigging increased even further when the founder and CEO of the company, Emmanuel Antebi, visited Zimbabwe on Wednesday to meet President Robert Mugabe and other senior ZANU PF officials.
The weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported that Antebi flew into Zimbabwe from Tel Aviv to meet Mugabe, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, former State Security and now Transport Minister Nicholas Goche, and Central Intelligence Organisation’s deputy director-general Aaron Daniel Tonde Nhepera. The meeting with Mugabe lasted for an hour and half at State House.
via Level of rigging ‘stuns’ MDC parliamentary candidates | SW Radio Africa.
Posted by Gerry Jackson on Saturday, August 3, 2013 SW Radio Africa
More details continue to be received that provide analysis of how Wednesday’s election was rigged.
It’s already well known that the voters roll contains at least 1 million dead voters and there are a large amount of voters who are now living in the Diaspora.
There are over 350,000 people who are over 85 years old and 109,000 over one hundred years old. An impossibility in a country with an average life expectancy of 50.
Additionally 838,000 duplicate names have been found: same name, same address, same date of birth, different ID numbers. All the ID’s checked were genuine and had been issued by the Registrar General.
500,000 people had been moved out of their residential areas to other electoral districts, 45,000 people had their ID numbers changed without their consent.
Reports received also say ZANU PF moved hundreds of thousands of people into strategic areas ahead of the poll. A million people were settled on farms taken away from their owners in peri urban areas. ZANU PF then opened offices there and “sold” or gave small plots of land to homeless people in the crowded towns. These people were then told that they were there courtesy of ZANU PF and were expected to vote for the party. They were threatened with eviction if they didn’t.
We can expect more to be revealed as information is gathered and collated.
One newspaper in the UK has described this election as ‘a masterclass in electoral fraud.’
via More details on how the rigging was done | SW Radio Africa.
Posted by Gerry Jackson on Saturday, August 3, 2013 SW Radio Africa
ZANU PF has made their position clear on any plans for SADC mediation in the controversial election results.
Speaking to SABC news Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that ZANU PF will not entertain any further Southern African Development Community mediation.
He said the MDC must accept their election defeat. He also told them that they should go to the courts if they have a problem.
Speaking to Newsday he said: “If there is any Presidential candidate or National Assembly candidate who is dissatisfied with what happened, the courts are there, the Constitutional Court is there, the Electoral Court is there and we have set up these courts jointly in order to address these disputes and the requirement is that these courts would give their decisions expeditiously . . . So I want to invite Mr Tsvangirai to please avail himself to these constitutional provisions so that he can get the remedies that he thinks he deserves.”
Chinamasa then became angry when Newsday asked him how MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai would get a fair hearing in a court run by ZANU PF sympathisers.
“That is rubbish, rubbish. The truth of the matter is we don’t even decide who the judges are. They come from the Judiciary Service Commission. Some of them I meet them at the swearing-in. As minister, how do I know a competent lawyer? I don’t go into court . . . They only rubbish the courts when decisions are against them . . . That is why they went to rubbish the courts to the Sadc extraordinary summit in Maputo,” Chinamasa responded.
The MDC has said that it planned to approach President Zuma with evidence of the rigging that took place.
It appears unlikely that they will get a sympathetic hearing, after both the African Union and SADC observer missions on Friday urged the parties to accept the results of the election. Both observer missions had also already stated that the election was free and peaceful. They still haven’t made up their minds about the ‘fair’ bit.
via Chinamasa says no to SADC mediation | SW Radio Africa.
Posted by Nomalanga Moyo on Saturday, August 3, 2013| SW Radio Africa
Harare residents have reported an unsettling presence of heavily-armed police and soldiers who have set up roadblocks on all major roads leading into the city.
Results of Wednesday’s elections already show that ZANU PF has a two thirds parliamentary majority, in what has been described as “the mother of all electoral frauds”. ZESN has said the presidential results would be announced at 5pm on Saturday. At the time of writing these results were not yet available.
A message posted on Facebook Saturday said some soldiers were stopping vehicles “just off the intersection of Sherwood Drive and Princess Road (old Bulawayo Road). What is going on?”
Another message from Friday said: “This afternoon at approx 1500hrs five lorry loads of riot police and 2 water cannon trucks seen parking up at freedom square behind rainbow towers (old Sheraton hotel) across the road from Harare show grounds.
“We saw police setting up tents at freedom square. Also Harare is full of road blocks and in particular we have just seen at the intersection of Sherwood drive and Princess Road (old Bulawayo) heavy police presence stopping all vehicles and searching them, with army present.”
Observers said the heavy presence of armed security personnel appears to be a pre-emptive move by the police in view of the simmering anger at the way the elections were conducted.
Other reports have suggested that the police were stopping vehicles and searching them for weapons, as reported by the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper.
Harare-based SW Radio Africa correspondent, Simon Muchemwa, said the police had already issued a warning against what they said were ‘premature celebrations or protests’.
“There are armed officers, complete with anti-riot gear, and some of them are being assisted by armed military personnel. All vehicles coming into the city centre are being searched, with only a few waved on just to clear the congestion.
“There seems to be a fear that people may rise up in protest following the MDC-T’s rejection of the poll result. Police Commissioner Charity Charity has already threatened to arrest any people who react with protests against this, or any future government.”
An official from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told SW Radio Africa Saturday that Zimbabweans should engage in civic protests to demonstrate their anger at the way the election has been stolen, in violation of their democratic right to choose their own leaders.
via Anti-riot police increase patrols ahead of poll result | SW Radio Africa.
Posted by Gerry Jackson on Saturday, August 3, 2013 SW Radio Africa
On Friday the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, refused to answer press questions on the contentious issue of the voters roll.
The MDC have still not received an electronic version of the roll and could only access a hard copy after a court ordered they should have it by mid day on the actual day of the election.
The hard copy of the voters roll contains 6.4 million names and is many thousands of pages, in numerous boxes. It is almost impossible to audit such a hard copy.
The Electoral Act clearly states that Mudede was obliged to furnish candidates with the hard and electronic copies of the roll “within a reasonable period of time.”
At a press conference in Harare, Mudede said the electronic version of the roll had become a “contentious” issue, and handed the question over to one of his officers.
The officer said: “The time we had was short. We had to prioritise the hard copy so that we could send them to the polling stations”
When journalists pressed Mudede on this question he said: “I am entitled not to answer certain questions. You can’t have a perfect system. There is always a 10% margin of error.”
via Mudede refuses to answer questions on voters roll | SW Radio Africa.
The MDC National Council met today and debated extensively on the election held on 31 July 2013.
The National Council resolved:
1. The MDC totally rejects the 31 July elections on the basis of the process the absence of reforms
2. From the evidence available, discounting all omissions and commissions the MDC won that election
3. The MDC thanks and acknowledges the AU and SADC missions in this regard at their request will submit a dossier of all the irregularities and illegalities
4. The fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a Constitutional, political and economic crisis. In this regard, the MDC expects that the SADC and AU shall meet urgently to deal with this crisis in order to restore Constitutional, political and legal legitimacy in the country
5. The MDC calls for a forensic audit of the electoral process in particular the voters roll, the ballot papers and where they were printed, the special vote, voter displacement, voter registration certificates
6. Further, the MDC national council resolved that the SADC Organ Troika must investigate the role of the security sector and the militarization of the election
7. The MDC national council noted with great concern the frog-marching and captivity and oppression of the rural population through the abuse of traditional leaders and the high incidents of assisted voters
8. Given the illegality of this election, the MDC national council resolved that it will not legitimize institutions created by an illegal election and therefore will not engage in institutions of government
9. The MDC is determined to pursue peaceful, legal, political, constitutional and diplomatic remedies to resolve the current crisis
10. The MDC national council resolved that once all remedies have been exhausted, the people of Zimbabwe should be allowed a fresh opportunity to freely and fairly elect a government of their choice. In this regard, a credible, free, fair and legitimate election must be held as soon as possible
via President Tsvangirai’s statement to the press after the MDC national council meeting, Harare, 3 August 2013.
Courtesy Vince Musewe Posted On : August 3rd, 2013
The fire of liberty and freedom within us can never be extinguished.
As I write this article the fraudulent results of our elections are being announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission; a body that has proven once more, that in Zimbabwe, even judges can break the law and get away with it.
Yesterday hope has turned into today’s despair. God help us.
I think that the SADC should have never have allowed these elections to proceed. All they should have said is that ZANU (PF) could go ahead if they wish, but the SADC would not recognize the outcome because the conditions of the electoral Act were not met.
I guess it is easy with hind sight to offer solutions on what should have happened, but one thing must be clear to all of us: ZANU (PF) will never contest in a free and fair election as long as they are in control of the army, the police, the media and now Rita Makarau.
I am embarrassed at how the ZEC has carried out its mandate at the expense of millions of ordinary suffering Zimbabweans. I am ashamed to be Zimbabwean and somehow related to those who have contributed to the theft of our hope. From the touts that were sent on dubious errands, to those high ranking officials at the top of all organizations, be they private and public; all have contributed to this monumental crime against the freedom and liberty of Zimbabweans.
The Guardian newspaper quoted Olusegun Obsanjo, the head of the African Union observer mission as follows; “Yes the election is free, Fairly? Fairly. I have never seen an election that is perfect.” This was after Nkosaza Dlamini-Zuma literally scoffed at the idea of rigging. Therein lies our problem; the expectations of our black African brothers and sisters from the continent are not high and we shall continue to suffer for it. Our flippant approach to high standards in all we do, including the fact that ZANU(PF) was never sincere since the GPA, shall continue to compromise African standards of governance and living- poverty and inequality shall be our fate.
I watched with curiosity as rag tag unemployed and most probably broke youth, jumped up and down and ululated at ZANU (PF)’s victory. This while their “chefs” were opening champagne bottles and imported whiskey to celebrate. The poor have delivered to their “chefs” once more, and they must now return to face their poverty.
If anything, I have now realized that maybe I have assumed too much. I assumed that those poor Zimbabweans in the rural areas who have had a major influence on our future have the same aspirations as I have and that they know what I know. I assumed that they are ready to fight to the death for freedom, even in the face of threats. I assumed that they are aware of ZANU (PF)’s ethics and that they have learnt their lesson well from the last 34 years. I thought that they know that their vote is secret. I was wrong. Fear and ignorance took over and that dangerous cocktail has ploughed my country back to pre 2000 levels, where ZANU (PF) has unfettered access to power and our national resources and are accountable to none but themselves.
I have also realized that, as long as millions of smart Zimbabwean sit by the sidelines and do clever academic analyses on events and criticize from their comfort zones overseas, our nation will never progress and degenerates will continue to rule us. The battle can only be won on the ground.
The burden of a ZANU (PF) dominated government with unfettered political power for the next five years lays so heavily on my shoulders, I could not think of anything better to do than to kneel down and pray. God help us.
In dark days such as these, we need faith and incessant hope. We need deep courage that must not take into account the challenges and hardships ahead. Truly, the things that we thought evil have been confirmed as so. The men and women who have presided over this evil must know that, as they celebrate their “victory”, the fire of liberty and freedom within us can never be extinguished. The political ideals upon which ZANU (PF) is based cannot be celebrated nor will they stand the test of time.
It is easy I guess to give up now and go with the flow as many of us have chosen to. It is easy for people like Rita Makarau ,Tobiwa Mudede and many others, including those from foreign lands, complicit in this fraud, to look into their bank accounts and derive satisfaction from their bulging bank balances for a job well done. How pitiful.
As they enjoy their “victory”, my message is; know that we are a nation deeply wounded and that wound can only be healed by our total freedom from oppression. Although it may tarry, as clear as day is from night, it will surely come to pass.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” (Marianne Williamson)
Let that light shine now.
Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare; you may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
via Zimbabwe: When a nation’s hope turns into a nightmare | IndepthAfrica.
August 3, 2013, 8:41 am
Dear Family and Friends,
Election day started at a very chilly 6 degrees centigrade in my home town with heavy, overcast skies and a biting wind. The grey, cold morning of election day 2013 was such a contrast to the blue skies and sunshine of the days before, that you had to wonder if the oppressive weather wasn’t a warning for what lay ahead.
Right up to election day 2013 everything looked to be against Zimbabwe’s desperate need for change and yet we didn’t heed the warnings and hurtled headlong into it.
Two chaotic voter registration exercises had left multiple thousands unable to get their names on the electoral roll. There was no vote for the estimated 3 or 4 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. There was no vote for the thousands of born and resident Zimbabweans who had taken up dual citizenship after being classed as ‘aliens’ by the Registrar General. Stipulated media and security sector reforms had not been undertaken. And then there was the mayhem of the actual voters roll. But wait, what voters roll? None of us could believe that we were actually going into an election when political parties hadn’t even got the voters roll, let alone had a chance to inspect or verify it. What utter insanity was this? As it turned out the MDC only managed to get a hard copy of the voters roll on election day and then only after a Judge had intervened. The MDC have still not been able to get an electronic copy of the roll.
Surely this was a recipe for disaster? For months people were warning that a free and fair election in Zimbabwe was impossible if we went to the polls with the same rigged voters roll that has kept the 89 year old President and his party in power for 33 years. They were right. It was impossible. SADC and the AU turned a blind eye to all the breaches and didn’t stop us from going to the cliff edge. The MDC saw the huge multitudes at their election rallies, called for a massive turnout on election day, shut their eyes and urged us to the precipice; we trusted them and followed.
‘What on earth’s going on?’ was the question so many people were asking on election day in my home town when they found out they were in the wrong queues and weren’t able to vote at their usual polling stations. Married couples living in the same house, same Ward and same Constituency braced the freezing weather and went to the polling station they’ve voted at for the last twenty years. Their names weren’t there; one was sent to a different ward on the other side of town in an unknown area, the other to a polling station in a completely different constituency. Those that were patient and determined, queued again and found themselves looking at strange faces on ballots slips because they were no longer in the wards or even constituencies that they live in.
As the day wore on more and more people had the same problem; either their names weren’t on the voters roll at all or they couldn’t find or get to the ‘right’ polling station. Calls for help to Councillors and MP’s to assist in finding the ‘right’ polling stations were useless because they didn’t have a voters roll to check on. When most polling stations were virtually deserted by 3pm in my home town, the writing was on the wall. With such a muddled mess of ‘wrong’ polling stations and ‘right’ polling stations, it was obvious people had given up and yet the reports continued to tell of a massive turn out. Who were all these masses? Confused? So are we.
At the time of writing the results are still coming in but it seems Zanu PF have taken 75% of the vote. The MDC have called the election null and void and said they won’t recognize the results. SADC observers described them as free and fair.
Our hearts ache for our country. We had dared to hope. We were poised and ready to surge forward. We were waiting to call four million of our family and friends to come home. 2018 is a long, long way away. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
via Cathy Buckle News from Zimbabwe.
Commissioner Mkhululi Nyathi has resigned from the ZEC, citing the unprofessional manner in which the elections were run.
Nyathi confirmed his resignation to the Mail & Guardian on Saturday morning. He said he resigned on Wednesday, the day Zimbabwe held its general elections, but declined to speak much because his mobile phone battery was low.
Nyathi resigned through a letter to President Robert Mugabe which was copied to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube. In his resignation letter, Nyathi implied the elections were not free and fair despite the peace and calm throughout the country.
“I hereby tender my resignation from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with immediate effect. I do not wish to enumerate the many reasons of my resignation, but they all have to do with the manner the Zimbabwe 2013 harmonised elections were proclaimed and conducted,” reads the letter.
“While throughout the whole process I retained some measure of hope that the integrity of the whole process could be salvaged along the way, this was not be, hence my considered decision to resign.
“Please note that my resignation has nothing to do with the outcome of the process, which I am still unaware of. I wish to through this letter, salute the people of Zimbabwe for conducting themselves with dignity and calm throughout the whole process. However these are not the only benchmarks of free, fair and legitimate elections.”
According to the ZEC website, Nyathi is a lawyer with over 10 years experience and is a senior and managing partner at Mabhikwa Hikwa and Nyathi Legal Practitioners in Bulawayo. Commissioner Nyathi has written and presented several academic papers especially in the area of constitutional law. He graduated with a bachelor of law degree and master's in law degree from the University of Zimbabwe and the University of the Witwatersrand in 1999 and 2005 respectively.
His resignation has put ZEC in the spotlight with numerous questions arising from the manner in which the elections were run. There have been allegations that the poll was rigged through the manipulation of the voters’ roll, which resulted in thousands of people failing to vote. Zanu-PF is heading for a landslide victory and is almost assured of getting a two-thirds majority in the House of Assembly, while President Robert Mugabe is certain to win the presidential election without a run-off.
Tsvangirai has however said the elections were a "sham" and the results are "null and void". His party’s national council is in a meeting to decide on a plan of action and is in the process of compiling a dossier to present to South African President Jacob Zuma, the SADC appointed facilitator in the Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
via Zim electoral commissioner resigns over unfair elections | News | Africa | Mail & Guardian.