By STEPHEN GLOVER 4 August 2013
So William Hague has ‘grave concerns’ about Zimbabwe’s grotesquely rigged elections.
Instead of expressing his anxieties, the Foreign Secretary could offer the Zimbabwean people a heartfelt apology on behalf of the British Government for inflicting Robert Mugabe on them in the first place, and then standing aside as he pillaged his country, murdered his enemies and ruined the economy.
What has happened in Zimbabwe is to Britain’s eternal shame. When the Foreign Office handed power to him after the 1980 Lancaster House Agreement, its mandarins muttered that Mugabe was probably a decent chap. So decent that within years he had massacred thousands of Matabele supporters of his arch-rival, Joshua Nkomo.
As the size of the economy halved, Mugabe’s henchmen began printing money on a scale that made Germany’s Weimar Republic look amateur. By the summer of 2008, inflation had reached 231,000,000 per cent. A hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollar note was being printed when the currency finally collapsed. Throughout the illegal seizure of farms, hyper-inflation and murders of Mugabe’s opponents, the Blair Government merely watched. By contrast, it was prepared to intervene in our former colony of Sierra Leone, for which Britain has less moral responsibility. It keenly joined American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Within years of coming to power Mugabe had massacred thousands of Matabele supporters of his arch-rival, Joshua Nkomo
Such modest economic recovery as there has been recently in Zimbabwe owes nothing to Britain. In 2009, Mugabe was forced into an uneasy coalition with Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – the party he has just stitched up in the elections by blatant vote-rigging and intimidation. Less lunatic economic policies were introduced.
At the same time, the Chinese, with their inexhaustible hunger for minerals, have been moving into Zimbabwe. Gold, diamond and nickel mines are being developed. Members of Mugabe’s regime have been enriched, and there has been a small ‘trickle down’ of new wealth to ordinary people.
Having ‘won’ 61 per cent of the vote to Tsvangirai’s 34 per cent, Mugabe will probably change the constitution to give himself and his twisted regime all the powers he wants. The MDC will be written out of the political process.
In practical terms, there is little Britain or any other western nation can do, other than to maintain sanctions preventing Mugabe and his cronies from travelling to Europe and the United States.
China, which has no interest in democracy, is the foreign power calling the shots in Zimbabwe. As elsewhere in Africa, its only concern is that there should be a strong regime with which it can do business.
Meanwhile, to their enormous discredit, most other African governments are eager to pat Mugabe on the back, implausibly claiming on the basis of reports from a small number of their own election observers that the election was fair.
Yet the Zimbabwean Election Support Network, with 7,000 observers on the spot, says that up to one million people were unable to cast their ballots, mainly in urban areas regarded as MDC strongholds.
Most demeaning of all has been the response of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who has extended his ‘profound congratulations’ to Mugabe following ‘successful, harmonised elections’.
There may be little that Britain can do, but William Hague should at least speak like a decent human being appalled by the activities of a man who was put into power by a British government, and has caused so much suffering to a once bountiful country.
Most whites have long since left Zimbabwe. They have a long list of justifiable grievances against successive British governments. But so, too, do millions of blacks who remain in the country, or have been driven out of it. Their lives have been blighted.
This 89-year-old self-serving tyrant, who oddly calls himself a Catholic, is not immortal. The only hope for Zimbabwe is that, where Britain and everyone else have failed, his maker will finally take action.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2384582/Shameful-stain-Britains-conscience.html
Press Statement by Ian Davidson 04 August 2013
South Africa’s DA party MP Ian Davidson says President Jacob Zuma has failed Zimbabwe by congratulating Mugabe on his ‘stolen election’ victory. Davidson said Zuma should call for a meeting of SADC heads of state to discuss the very serious concerns that have been noted in this election.
Davidson’s comments come after one of Zimbabwe’s election management commissioners Mkhululi Nyathi resigned in protest over the way the elections management body had conducted the July 31 harmonised elections.
By congratulating Robert Mugabe on his stolen election, President Zuma has failed Zimbabwe, failed Zimbabweans and failed the Southern African Development Community by not providing the leadership that the region desperately required.
President Zuma’s congratulations are not only extremely premature, given the very serious irregularities that have been noted in the elections, but shamefully legitimises undemocratic practices during elections, and sends a message that significant irregularities will be tolerated by his administration.
Both observer missions and civil society noted serious irregularities with the voters’ roll and voting process. Parties were denied timely access to the roll and the roll itself was clearly flawed. The DA’s observer also saw people being allowed to vote with registration slips which opens up the process to abuse and fraud.
I will request that President Zuma provide Parliament with all the reasons for why he is recognizing the elections results, including whether he has applied his mind to all the evidence.
I will also ask that President Zuma exercise leadership in SADC by seeking an urgent meeting of all heads of state to discuss the very serious concerns that have been noted in this election.
The bottom line is that President Zuma has failed Zimbabwe. Instead of taking a tough stance at SADC to ensure that reforms such as free media and a change in the security apparatus were in place and that Zimbabweans were ensured a free and fair democratic election, especially in his position as facilitator of the monitoring group of the Global Political Agreement, Mr Zuma has allowed Mugabe to get away with a farce of an election.
Statement issued by Ian Davidson MP, DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, August 4 2013
via Zuma Has Failed Zimbabweans By Congratulating Mugabe – DA Party | ZimEye.
AUTHOR:SIMON MOYO DATE:AUG 04, 2013 | Sokwanele
For many the nightmarish prospect of enduring the next five years under a Zanu PF administration are just too galling to contemplate and nowhere is this more apparent than in the streets of Harare where posters of Mugabe and Tsvangirai remain defiantly reminding all and sundry that Zimbabwe had a chance to decide its destiny on July 31.
For many, a Zanu PF victory just does not make sense, they accuse the 50 year old party of being too old and exhausted, of ruining the economy and driving millions of brothers and sisters into exile.
The questions many are asking include how can a party that destroyed the homes of close to a million people’s in 2005 at the height of the winter season, win an election in Harare? The memories of a gory and horrible 2008 are still fresh in many people’s minds, and yet the same government that brought that upon them sees no contradiction to the logic of a landslide victory.
Crestfallen and with sunken spirits Zimbabweans recall the long winding queues for almost everything from gasoline to basic commodities such as salt just a few years ago—and none would like a return.
Since Thursday morning when results of the general elections began to filter to Zimbabweans in Harare, people have are walking about like zombies, drowning in dark shadows of pain and disbelief.
Buts it’s real, with the prospects of a Zim dollar return under Mugabe, now growing larger. During his campaign the 89 year old strongman indicated that he wants the country to reintroduce its own currency that was defaced by runaway inflation in 2009.
We will never forget the cholera outbreak in 2008, which claimed over 4000 people under Mugabe’s regime.
As results trickled in none from either side, vanquished or victor, celebrated as people in hushed tones asked just how Zanu PF could win with a landslide when just four years ago it was on the brink of sinking into oblivion.
In commuter omnibuses, among vendors and even at functioning hospitals (they were closed in 2008) there is a palpable sense of dismay and dejection.
via It’s a nightmare... | Sokwanele.
After the predictable failure of the MDC in the elections, Morgan Tsvangirai must consider his position. The custom in most countries is that a losing candidate stands aside – particularly if he has lost several elections.
The Vigil believes that Tsvangirai must take responsibility for a succession of decisions which have been fatal to the opposition in Zimbabwe. We don’t want to rub salt into wounds, but here are a few of the MDC decisions which have puzzled us, as we have clearly recorded in our diaries:
1. The mad split over the Senate.
2. Pulling out of the Presidential run-off in 2008.
3. Joining in the flawed GNU (‘we demand an end to sanctions and foreign broadcasts’) when there was an opportunity to form a government in exile in Botswana at a time when Mugabe was on his knees.
4. Failure to pull out of government when Mugabe immediately disregarded the GPA and showed that the MDC had no power whatsoever.
5. Being distracted by the ludicrous 4-year-long constitution-making exercise, which produced an abortion of a document that has proved completely useless, especially as a new constitution can be expected within a year. The MDC should have spent the time concentrating on getting a level playing field for elections.
6. Allowing vital roadmap issues to be delayed until they were impossible to implement.
7. Agreeing to take part in the latest elections when none of the MDC or SADC requirements had been met.
Tsvangirai has issued a statement after an MDC National Council meeting in Harare saying ‘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’.
The Vigil applauds this decision and hopes that MDC MPs will refuse to take their seats in this rigged Parliament. We would hope that they would stand outside when parliament is convened with banners saying ‘we object’. Sadly we do not believe that this will happen. We can’t see them giving up perks for principles.
It gives the Vigil no satisfaction that our prediction of a rigged election
turned out to be true. As we began our last diary: ‘with only 4 days to go
before the election the Vigil ‘commends’ President Mugabe on his ‘credible’
re-election’. (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-
Gloomy Vigil supporters gathered after the Vigil for our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum. Although we had known the result would be fixed , there was shock at the audacious scale of the rigging. Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa said he expected Tsvangirai to throw in his lot with Mugabe. ‘There have been so many opportunities along the road when the MDC could have left the bus.’ The MDC had totally lost credibility and it was now up to the diaspora which had been denied the vote by agreement between Tsvangirai and Mugabe. Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu asked ‘Has any dictator been removed by the ballot box?’
We can’t end the diary without lamenting the retirement of our tireless friend Barbara Goss who has for years produced the daily compendium of news, the Zimbabwe Situation. It has been an invaluable resource and we owe her deep gratitude for her hard work. We are relieved to hear that someone else has taken over the baton.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
FOR THE RECORD: 50 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.
- ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/
- ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/
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.
Election Irregularities – What Can be Done about Them?
There have been many allegations of election irregularities, not only during the run-up to yesterday’s polling, but also while voting was going on and since polling stations closed. Prime Minister Tsvangirai has said the elections were invalidated by “monumental rigging”. Minister Chinamasa has invited Mr Tsvangirai to go to court if he is dissatisfied:“The Constitutional Court is there, the Electoral Court is there.” The head of the SADC Election Observation Mission, at the conclusion of the mission’s preliminary statement, released at midday today, thought it appropriate to urge that “whoever is aggrieved with the results should not resort to violence but should rather should go to the court of law, or engage in dialogue”. This bulletin outlines briefly what courses are open to aggrieved persons, both with ZEC and in the courts.
An important point is that any action has to be taken without delay, particularly over the Presidential election. The State, and the courts, are under a constitutional obligation to“ensure the timely resolution of electoral disputes” [new Constitution, section 155(2)(e)].
Seeking the Nullification of the Harmonised Elections as a Whole
The Electoral Act gives the Electoral Court a wide and exclusive jurisdiction to hear election petitions and to review decisions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] or anyone else made under the Electoral Act. Nevertheless, a court application seeking the nullification of the whole harmonised election process – Presidential, Parliamentary as well as at provincial council and local authority levels – would have to be made to the Constitutional Court. This follows from the fact that any such application would challenge the Presidential election process, and the fact that section 167 of the Constitution provides that only the Constitutional Court may hear and decide a dispute relating to election to the office of President. Moreover, such an application would be bound to rely on alleged breaches of the constitutional rights of citizens and the constitutional obligations of the State with regard to elections. The Constitutional Court would therefore be the right court for a full frontal attack on the entire harmonised elections process. But the seven-day deadline for challenging a Presidential election [new Constitution, section 93(1)] may pose great practical difficulties for any political party contemplating such an attack.
Challenging the Presidential Election
A Constitutional Court matter Only the Constitutional Court has power to hear and decide a challenge to election of a President [new Constitution, section 167(2)(b)].
7-day deadline for lodging petition A challenge to the validity of a Presidential election must be commenced by lodging a petition or application with the Constitutional Courtwithin 7 days after the day on which the winner of the election is declared elected to the office of President by the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC].
Deadline for Constitutional Court’s decision The court must hear and decide any such petition or application within 14 days after the petition was lodged.
Effect of petition on swearing-in of President In the absence of a petition challenging his or her election, the swearing-in of a President must take place on the ninth day after he or she is declared elected. If a challenge is lodged and the Constitutional Court declares a winner, that person must be sworn in as President within 48 hours of the court’s declaration. If the Constitutional Court, however, invalidates the election as a whole, a fresh election must be held within 60 days of the court’s decision.
Constitutional Court’s decision is final [new Constitution, section 93(3)]
Remedies Open to Dissatisfied National Assembly and Council Candidates
Challenges to individual National Assembly and council election results are matters for the Electoral Court alone. If an unsuccessful candidate believes that he or she should have won, or that the election in the constituency/ward was so flawed that it should be nullified and re-run, that candidate has a limited choice of remedies:
– a request to ZEC for a recount where the complaint is that there the votes were miscounted, or
– an “election petition” to the Electoral Court in the case of other complaints.
In both cases, there are strict time-limits to be observed and procedures to be followed, and failure to do so will usually result in rejection.
Request to ZEC for a recount
Provision for recounting votes counted at a particular polling station is made by section 67A of the Electoral Act. ZEC has power to order a recount either on its own initiative or on a request by a political party or candidate in the election concerned.
48-hour deadline for making request A request for a recount must be lodged with ZEC, in writing, within 48 hours of the declaration of the successful candidate by the constituency elections officer or ward elections officer. The 48 hours runs from the time of the declaration to the same time two days later.
Contents of request A request must state specifically the number of votes believed to have been miscounted and, if possible, how the miscount may have occurred, and state how the results of the election have been affected by the miscount.
When ZEC can order recount ZEC can order a recount only if it considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that votes were miscounted and that, if there was a miscount, it would have affected the election result. So it is no good for a candidate defeated by a 1000-vote margin to complain that 100 votes were missed out of the count or awarded to the wrong candidate.
Recount to be completed quickly If a recount is ordered, candidates, agents and observers must be notified so that they can be present, and the recount must be completed within 5 days of the announcement of the last result in the Parliamentary or local authority election. Recount results must be announced within 24 hours.
Election Petition to Electoral Court
Where the alleged problems with an election in a ward or constituency raise issues other than a “miscount” [e.g., where the complaint is violence or intimidation or bribery], the remedy for a dissatisfied candidate is to petition the Electoral Court by means of an “election petition”. The judges of the Electoral Court are High Court judges assigned by the Chief Justice. An Electoral Court judge may in a particular case ask for the assistance of two advisory assessors appointed by the Registrar of the court from a panel of at least ten persons compiled by the Chief Justice and the Judge President.
Who can lodge an election petition and on what grounds? Any unsuccessful candidate for the National Assembly or council seat in question may lodge an election petition complaining of an “undue return or an undue election” of the successful candidate “by reason of want of qualification, disqualification, electoral malpractice, irregularity or anyother cause whatsoever”. There is a definition of electoral malpractice in section 3 of the Electoral Act: “electoral malpractice” means an intimidatory practice, corrupt practice, illegal practice or other offence in terms of Part XX” of the Act. For example:
14-day deadline for lodging election petition An election petition complying with the rules of court must be lodged within 14 days of the declaration of the contested result by the constituency elections officer or ward elections officer, as the case may be.
Service of notice on successful candidate Written notice of a petition must be promptly served on the person whose election is challenged, either on him or her in person or by leaving it at his or her usual or last known dwelling or place of business. In previous elections many petitions were summarily dismissed for being served late or at the headquarters of the successful candidate’s political party.
Evidence needed Before upholding an election petition, the Electoral Court will need to be convinced by evidence proving the allegations made by the petitioner.
Scope for setting aside result limited The scope for complaint is wide, but the Electoral Act makes it clear that not every malpractice will result in an election result being changed:
a. no malpractices were committed by the candidate personally or by his or her chief election agent and that the malpractices were committed without the sanction or connivance of the candidate or his or chief election agent and
b. the candidate and his or her chief election agent took all reasonable precautions to prevent malpractices, and
c. the malpractices mentioned in the Electoral Court’s finding were “of a trivial, unimportant and limited character”.
a. the election was not conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in this Act; and
b. such mistake or non-compliance did affect the result of the election”.
So, a mistake or non-compliance will not only have to qualify as a matter of principle, but will also have to be shown to have affected the result of the election. It would be no good therefore to be able to show that 100 voters were wrongly turned away in breach of the Act, when the successful candidate’s majority was so large that 100 more voters couldn’t possible have made any different to the outcome of the poll.
Decisions to be given promptly Every election petition must be decided within 6 months of its presentation Electoral Act, section 182].
By Andrew M Manyevere per email 4 August 2013
Posted to ZimbabweSituation on Facebook
I suppose it is fair to say that there should be Questions that need reviewing and answers given where possible. Why did the SADC advice the GNU Zimbabwe government to consider extending elections preparation time by two weeks? Why would Mugabe not take the AU advice in good faith and fulfill the two-week window request in the interest of openness and fairness? It begs a further question, namely, if there were no advanced plan on Zanu drawing boards to rig, why would it be hard to take SADC advice? Why is AU observing team unable to declare that elections were, in public view peaceful, nothing more? Is the Zimbabwe 7000 inside observing team’s notes of irregularities a farce or true observations of what people are saying as they go through threats and intimidation? Why the AU and SADC teams are playing blind eye to these irregularities remains a question not answered?
If the AU and SADC were to be truthful, which sometime lacks in bad politics, they would hold a view that elections were peaceful but by no means free and fair. Examples that come to mind are numerous: When Zanu buses brought in unregistered voters in an attempt to rig elections by increasing voters falsely, no arrests instituted, but they were to go free. When the MDC brought to ZEC evidence of rigging elections showing voters’ papers found thrown into a dustbin, authorities arrested the complainant.
When ballot papers are over printed and not accounted for the AU says the issues do not cause upsets in people’s expressing of their will at voting. The political parties other than Zanu did not receive copies of the voter’s roll to inspect and make relevant corrections but both ZEC and AU play a blind eye to it. Even when the court ordered that ZEC give voter’s roll to MDC, the AU does not want to consider this irregular. Might it be that the AU came in with preconceived ideas of what is free and fair? Does the leader of AU observers have to justify rigging by alleging that no situation is perfectly free and fair, suggesting that anomalies by Zanu’s ZEC are admissible?
Given our history of thirty years under one president and the subsequent failed economy under this president, Zimbabweans would be blind and lacking in judgement of history to concede to a no change in government. Even if Morgan was the poorest of leaders as alleged by Zanu, the mere change in leadership would take the country to a different level in democracy and the freedom to exercise of choices. As is now, if Mugabe overturns the constitution, throws us into diplomatic isolation again, he will die to leave us a poor country riddled with factions of extreme poverty and petite bourgeois champions who struggle to get richer irrespective.
By refusing or endorsing Mugabe’s rejection of international observers in 2013 Zimbabwe elections, Africa has shown a deep sense of mistrust on the world democratic system and a serious incline towards dictatorship due to how governments wish to control ordinary masses in their favour.
Talking of indigenous entrepreneurship empowerment, we run into snags of discriminating people according to their political beliefs and/or faith. History will prove that only Zanu supporting kids are entitled to get jobs, eligible for Mugabe national funded scholarships and join government jobs. Zanu could not act fairly on appointment of people into jobs and the developing of an equal distribution fund method, what guarantees would she give for change of approach in 2013? If Zanu in the immediate past rally used derogatory slogans such as “Down with MDC” how much love is in their language, let alone thinking process, to drive a free and fair economic development plan? If Matebeleland went backward while Harare was going forward parked with funds taken from minerals and embezzled by Zanu officials, do we have to bring AU to inspect discrepancies?
Would current conditions on election in Zimbabwe encourage investors to put their money or attract Zimbabweans to come home? It is a fifty-fifty case, which means there will be a long wait and see period from all serious investors to come into Zimbabwe and take risk alone. A party that uses unfair practice to build one sector of its people at the expense of another sector cannot make it in the world of free and fair development. Economies built on such whapped policies, only deepens dependency when tyrants hide their savings in western citadels and continue milking home economies at the expense of ordinary people.
It is fashionable today to open off shore accounts. Auditing on offshore accounts held from Africa, if done would show that many of these accounts hold funds that have no traceable receipt on sources. Politics is and has been good business in economies where accountability is not critical to transparency and good governance. Mr. Mugabe that Zimbabweans ‘trusted’ for over thirty years is no exception from the rot of Mabuto Seseko of former Zaire, Arab invested funds from Idi Amin, or Museveni western tacked wealthy. These irregularities no wonder do not seem too obvious as a betrayal of the confidence reposed in leadership who swindle their countries of big fortunes. Such disgrace is lamentable; more so, when Africa continues to nakedly betray masses of their only source of political power through rigging of elections.
While MDC may have made mistakes, such were common as could be improved upon. People could criticize neither Mugabe nor his party. To think that people liked him during the voting when many ordinary people paid the price of jail sentences without bail, yet still called Mugabe names, as a sign of anger and protest, is hard to accept. Fears govern the population when it comes to speaking openly against Zanu or blame Mugabe. Ironically, one even gets the feeling that the world is afraid of him. For example, Mugabe criticized Zuma openly and instead of questioning Mugabe, Zuma gave him an open apology. General Obasajo took a quarrel with Mugabe in early 2000s and this time he came as though to pay open homage. How else can one explain the legendary fear that harbour in the hearts of Africa on Mugabe? This proves true the hypothesis that African leadership does not respect the masses, takes sides with leadership in a manner contributory to increasing the African problematic condition.
We need a study that puts pieces of intelligence together to find the underlying method of how Zanu, China and Israel worked smart rigging system on Zimbabwe elections in 2013. China/Zanu appointed rural chiefs’ to take charge of people in each rural zone in order to control their thinking, on voting and check on loyalty to Zanu. When this proved difficult, they designed different but similar voting papers. The Chinese printed voting papers were different from those printed through ZEC. One of the versions used where MDC had high support achieved Zanu victory. To detract MDC attention on rigging, Baba Jukwa a Zanu creation came into the political scenery in time. Zec in the meantime printed voting papers in excess of numbers required and would not show MDC voter’s roll, until ordered to do so by the court as voting was already going on. The fact that AU or SADC are not prepared to investigate into these discrepancies can only highlight the degree of electoral fraud.
The investigation is for Zimbabweans to carry and get the facts underlining Zanu legendary legacy on rigging of elections for the last two decades. The traumatic condition on many Zimbabweans, including those kept in Zanu by bribery and corruption, will increase as more corruption cultures under China watch. China’s callous human rights at home make them an ugly partner for developing country irrespective of how we look at it. China will emerge the most powerful colonial empire in the 21 century and beyond if Western nations continue to watch them muzzle democratic strides in developing countries. Africa will be in a worst economic state if its economies are going to be used to fuel China growth after many centuries of supporting the colonial empire.
The Zimbabwean leader's claim to have won a landslide victory is not credible, and the troubled country faces more strife because of it
By Telegraph View9:32PM BST 04 Aug 2013 - Telegraph
Robert Mugabe is claiming an overwhelming mandate for a seventh term in power after elections which ostensibly gave him and his Zanu-PF party a majority of more than 60 per cent in both presidential and parliamentary polls. Of the main foreign monitoring teams, that from the African Union, despite having expressed “grave concerns” about the electoral rolls, declared the exercise to be “credible”. A similar stance was taken by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which expressed relief that the poll had been peaceful. And yesterday Jacob Zuma, the South African president, congratulated Mr Mugabe on a “harmonised” achievement.
Compare those dubious endorsements with allegations by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change that the elections were a “farce” marred by massive vote-rigging; and with the statement from John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, that the results announced did not “represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people”, a conclusion at which William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, had already hinted.
Last week’s elections may not have been marked by the violence of 2008, but the fact of their being hotly disputed threatens a renewed outbreak of civil unrest. Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader and prime minister, has been outmanoeuvred by a wily old autocrat who, despite the 2009 power-sharing agreement, kept his grasp on the levers of hard power (the army, the police and the courts) and railroaded his supposed partner into accepting an earlier election date, thus leaving insufficient time for proper electoral procedures to be put in place. Perhaps the most startling result was Zanu-PF’s apparent capture of most of the seats in Matabeleland, the province where Mr Mugabe’s North-Korean-trained Fifth Brigade carried out a series of massacres in the Eighties.
Mr Tsvangirai says he will challenge the elections in the courts, but he is unlikely to get satisfaction. The African Union and SADC have basically endorsed the result, despite the misgivings expressed by Messrs Kerry and Hague. In light of Mr Mugabe’s latest violation of democratic practice, the EU, which eased sanctions earlier this year, should tighten them again. If he trots out the old charge of neo-colonialism, so be it. Zimbabweans have long seen through that ploy, made all the more ridiculous by the adoption of the dollar and sterling as legal currencies. Mr Mugabe’s continuance in power threatens further to wreck the economy, and shames those countries that have endorsed the manipulation and intimidation through which he clings to power. The claim of a landslide victory is, simply, incredible.
via Mugabe's hollow victory will do more damage - Telegraph.
Washington, DC August 3, 2013
Zimbabweans voted in their country’s first national elections this week since the violent and disputed polls in 2008. These elections were an opportunity for Zimbabwe to move forward on a democratic path and provide a foundation for growth and prosperity.
The people of Zimbabwe should be commended for rejecting violence and showing their commitment to the democratic process. But make no mistake: in light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people.
Though the United States was restricted from monitoring these elections, the balance of evidence indicates that today’s announcement was the culmination of a deeply flawed process. There were irregularities in the provision and composition of the voters roll. The parties had unequal access to state media. The security sector did not safeguard the electoral process on an even-handed basis. And the government failed to implement the political reforms mandated by Zimbabwe’s new constitution, the Global Political Agreement, and the region.
We urge the Southern African Development Community and the African Union to address their concerns with the electoral process, as well as those raised by domestic monitoring groups. The Government of Zimbabwe needs to chart a way forward that will give the people of Zimbabwe the opportunity to express their most fundamental democratic right in a free and fair environment. We further call on all parties to refrain from violence during this period.
The United States shares the same fundamental interests as the Zimbabwean people: a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Zimbabwe that reflects the will of its people and provides opportunities for them to flourish. For that to happen, the Government of Zimbabwe should heed the voices of its citizens and implement the democratic reforms mandated by the country’s new constitution.
Only then will Zimbabwe truly embark on a path towards democracy that reflects the aspirations of its people.
via Zimbabwe's Presidential Election.
by Staff Reporter Bulawayo24 NEWS 04 August 2013
HARARE - Opposition Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) leader Simba Makoni has rejected election results alleging his former party Zanu PF has rigged the outcome.
The former Finance minister, who entered into an anti-President Robert Mugabe coalition with Morgan Tsvangirai, told the Daily News on Sunday that Zanu PF engineered the results of the just ended crunch harmonised elections.
"Vakabirira zvavo zviri pachena. Hazvisi izvo zvakaitwa nevanhu uye hatizvitambire izvozvo. (It is known that they rigged the results without doubt.
"I reject the results because that is not what the people said)," Makoni said.
Makoni, who came third in the 2008 presidential race, contested as an aspiring legislator for Makoni Constituency but was defeated by Zanu PF's Patrick Chinamasa.
Makoni said they were working on measures to expose the "rigging done by Zanu PF" in the just-ended July 31 elections.
"We are taking different measures to unmask the rigging techniques used by Zanu PF to win these elections," Makoni said.
"We will engage with the general public and as well as engaging with the courts of law in so much that we disclose the rigging done by Zanu PF."
Meanwhile, Sadc, African Union (AU) and Sadc PF observer mission have said the election was peaceful.
Olusegun Obasanjo, head of the AU observer mission admitted that the Zimbabwean elections had flaws but rather concluded in his report that they were free and fair; a conclusion reiterated by Sadc Election Observer Mission (Seom) and Sadc Parliamentary Forum (Sadc PF).
Tsvangirai has alleged that military intervention played a crucial role in fixing the election in Zanu PF's favour.
He maintained that the elections were not credible.
"I was going to consider defeat in an honest and credible election. Being peaceful does not add up to a credible election," said Tsvangirai.
via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Simba Makoni 'to unmask the rigging techniques used by Zanu PF'.
Sapa-AFP | 04 August, 2013 11:27 - Times LIVE
Robert Mugabe looked Sunday to a seventh term as Zimbabwe's president after winning elections denounced by the opposition as "stolen" and criticised by Western powers.
Mugabe, 89, who has run the country since he helped end white rule in 1980, trounced his long-standing political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, in Wednesday's election, Zimbabwean election officials said.
By the time he completes his new tenure, he will have ruled the former British colony in southern Africa for 38 years.
Official results showed Mugabe won 61 percent of the presidential vote and his party got a super majority in parliament that will allow it to change the constitution. He routed Tsvangirai who trailed heavily with 34 percent.
But 61-year-old Tsvangirai, who has unsuccessfully tried to unseat Mugabe three times, condemned the vote as "fraudulent and stolen".
The reaction in the Sunday press was divisive with state-controlled newspaper The Herald proclaiming "President Mugabe romps to victory", while the independent Daily News said "It's a crisis".
US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile described the election as "deeply flawed" and said the US "does not believe that the results ...today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague added his own "grave concerns" over the conduct of the vote in the former colony.
On Sunday, Australia called for Zimbabwe to go to the polls again.
"Given our doubts about the results, Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified and agreed voters roll," Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement.
Tsvangirai vowed to challenge the result in court and said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would boycott government institutions.
"We will not join government," he said. "We will go to court."
"The fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis."
With gentler assessments from African observers who nonetheless noted flaws, President Jacob Zuma of powerful neighbour South Africa offered his "profound congratulations" to Mugabe on Sunday.
"President Zuma urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the elections as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people," a foreign ministry statement said.
Tsvangirai has been in a coalition with Mugabe since 2009. He defended the decision then to enter into an uneasy power-sharing government with Mugabe, who has had him arrested, beaten and charged with treason.
"Our participation rescued this country. Schools had closed, hospitals had closed. We were using the Zimbabwe dollar which was worthless, there were no goods in the shops, everyone was desperate," he said.
But Mugabe's ZANU-PF party says there is no more need for the MDC in the new government.
"We have received over 60 percent of the vote, we have two thirds majority, why would we want to bring someone else on board," State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said to AFP.
The MDC now has until Wednesday to present evidence of fraud to the high court, but finding a smoking gun may prove difficult. Inauguration is expected within 48 hours of the court's decision.
Tsvangirai said he would submit a dossier of "all irregularities and all the illegalities" to the influential 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) and called for an urgent summit.
The European Union, which had been moving toward easing long-standing sanctions, expressed concern about "incomplete participation, as well as the identified weaknesses in the electoral process and a lack of transparency".
But Emmerson Mnangagwa, defence minister and a key Mugabe lieutenant, hit back at these accusations and argued the result was a game-changer.
"The West will now have to climb down, they must find a ladder and climb down... A democratic election has taken place in Zimbabwe," he told AFP.
The SADC, which engineered the power-sharing government, said it was "free and peaceful".
"We did not say it was fair ... we didn't want to jump to a conclusion," said top SADC election observer Bernard Membe.
However, the poll's credibility was further called into question by the resignation of one of the nine official electoral commissioners.
In a letter seen by AFP, Mkhululi Nyathi quit over "the manner" in which the polls "were proclaimed and conducted".
Tsvangirai stopped short of calling his supporters onto the streets, fearing a repeat of the bloody crackdown that followed his win in the first round of 2008 polls.
There was calm in the capital late Saturday, with little sign of protests or pro-Mugabe victory rallies. Streets remained quiet on Sunday.
Even before the official election results, Mugabe followers were planning how to use a parliamentary majority.
"The new constitution will need cleaning up," said Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, referring to a text approved in March that introduced term limits and curbed presidential powers.
Chinamasa said Mugabe's government would also press on with controversial efforts to bring firms under black ownership.
Investors have expressed fears that may mean rolling back the power-sharing government's efforts to stabilise the economy after crippling hyperinflation and joblessness.
via Mugabe faces growing fallout after disputed election win - Times LIVE.
Gibbs Dube 03.08.2013 Voice of America - Zimbabwe
WASHINGTON DC — The United States says election results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Saturday showing an outright win by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party do not reflect the will of the people.
In a statement, the U.S. State Department said the people of Zimbabwe should be commended for rejecting violence and showing their commitment to the democratic process.
“But make no mistake. In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people,” reads part of the statement.
It says though the United States was restricted from monitoring these elections, the balance of evidence indicates that Saturday’s announcement was the culmination of a deeply flawed process.
“There were irregularities in the provision and composition of the voters roll. The parties had unequal access to state media. The security sector did not safeguard the electoral process on an even-handed basis. And the government failed to implement the political reforms mandated by Zimbabwe’s new constitution, the Global Political Agreement, and the region.”
Zimbabweans at a polling station Wednesday
The U.S. further says, “We urge the Southern African Development Community and the African Union to address their concerns with the electoral process, as well as those raised by domestic monitoring groups. The Government of Zimbabwe needs to chart a way forward that will give the people of Zimbabwe the opportunity to express their most fundamental democratic right in a free and fair environment. We further call on all parties to refrain from violence during this period.”
The United States said it shares the same fundamental interests as the Zimbabwean people - a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Zimbabwe that reflects the will of its people and provides opportunities for them to flourish.
“For that to happen, the Government of Zimbabwe should heed the voices of its citizens and implement the democratic reforms mandated by the country’s new constitution. Only then will Zimbabwe truly embark on a path towards democracy that reflects the aspirations of its people.”
The U.S. further noted that these elections were an opportunity for Zimbabwe to move forward on a democratic path and provide a foundation for growth and prosperity.
According to ZEC, President Robert Mugabe won 61 percent of the total vote while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai only managed to get a meager 1.2 million votes or 33.9 percent.
via U.S. Says Zimbabwe Election Not Credible.
HARARE | Sun Aug 4, 2013 7:17am EDT
(Reuters) - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma on Sunday congratulated Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe on his re-election, in sharp contrast to Western governments which questioned the credibility of a rushed, disputed vote.
African monitors broadly approved the conduct of the election but Mugabe's main rival, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has said he will challenge the results in court with evidence of massive vote-rigging, irregularities and intimidation.
The sharply divergent views of Wednesday's vote surfaced after Zimbabwe's election officials declared a landslide win for Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, giving Africa's oldest president five more years at the helm of a nation he has ruled for 33.
The standoff raises some fears the southern African nation risks repeating the turmoil that followed another contested vote in 2008. Election violence then forced Zimbabwe's neighbors to broker a shaky unity government between ZANU-PF and the MDC.
But Sunday's "profound congratulations" extended to Mugabe by Zuma, leader of Africa's economic powerhouse, reflected a willingness by the continent's diplomatic bodies to swallow the re-election of Mugabe, 89, for the sake of regional stability.
Mugabe, one of the grand old men of southern Africa's liberation fight that ended white minority rule, is admired as a defiant nationalist by some Africans, though others share the West's view of him as a ruthless despot who wrecked Zimbabwe.
"President Zuma urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the elections, as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people," the South African leader said in his statement.
Zimbabwe's capital Harare was calm on Sunday, with many residents going to church. Newspaper billboards proclaimed "ZANU-PF gloats over victory", "Mugabe romps to victory" and "Tsvangirai disputes election results".
Western observers were barred from Wednesday's elections.
Monitors from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) who observed them made a point of stressing that they were peaceful, in contrast to the violence of 2008 polls, and also endorsed them as broadly free.
In contrast, the United States and European governments, which have sanctions in place against Mugabe over past election-rigging, listed a litany of alleged flaws in the vote, from lack of availability of the voters' roll to pro-Mugabe bias in the media and security services that skewed the election run-up.
In Zimbabwe, independent domestic monitors had described the election as "seriously compromised" by registration problems that may have disenfranchised up to a million people.
Anti-corruption watchdog Global Witness, citing links between mining companies, ZANU-PF insiders and Zimbabwe's pro-Mugabe military, has also alleged that state diamond revenues may have been spent on securing the Mugabe re-election.
ZANU-PF has angrily rejected all vote-rigging allegations.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spelled out Washington's distrust of the result in no uncertain terms.
"Make no mistake: 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 strongly worded statement on Saturday.
Former colonial power Britain expressed "grave concerns". Foreign Secretary William Hague said the reported irregularities "call into serious question the credibility of the election".
The 28-nation European Union has also pointed to "identified weaknesses in the electoral process and a lack of transparency," completing a picture of general Western skepticism.
WHAT NOW FOR SANCTIONS?
It remained to be seen how energetically the West, with little public appetite at home for overseas interventions and facing muscular Chinese trade and investment rivalry in Africa, would press its questioning against the apparent African endorsement of the vote as imperfect but acceptable.
China is already a significant investor in Zimbabwe, which has rich reserves of chromium, platinum,coal and diamonds.
Mugabe had defiantly ignored a request by SADC in June to delay the election beyond July 31 to allow more time for steps to create a "conducive environment" for a free and fair vote.
At issue now will be the future of the Western sanctions against Mugabe and Zimbabwe, where theeconomy is still struggling to recover from a decade of slump and hyperinflation that ended in 2009 when the Zimbabwe dollar was scrapped.
Trevor Maisiri, senior analyst for southern Africa of the International Crisis Group, said the priority of the African Union and its regional satellites like SADC was avoiding conflict and civil strife. This often took preference over technical perfection in electoral processes.
"I don't think there is going to be any major social unrest. Some people are disappointed but they have already gone back to their lives," he told Reuters by telephone in Harare.
The MDC, facing political annihilation after its third failure to oust Mugabe through the ballot box, has said it could consider challenging Mugabe's win through street protests.
But this could trigger a crackdown from pro-Mugabe security services, militias and supporters. In the 2008 electoral violence, 200 MDC followers were killed in such a crackdown.
In Harare, after the tense, rushed weeks of electioneering, many seemed anxious to get on with their daily lives.
"The elections have come and gone, and people have different opinions about the outcome but we still need to pray for our welfare, for national peace," said one woman as she went into a service at the main Anglican Cathedral in the city.
"Politics is important, but it's not everything," she added, declining to give her name.
(Additional reporting by Xola Potelwa in Johannesburg; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Andrew Roche)
Posted by Alex Bell on Sunday, August 4, 2013 | SW Radio Africa
Masizole Mnqasela said he and 14 others observers rejected the SADC mission’s claim that the elections were ‘free and fair’
The main opposition party in South Africa has rejected the preliminary endorsement of Zimbabwe’s elections by a regional observer mission, saying the polls were not free, fair or credible.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) refused to sign off on a report on the polls which was compiled by the SADC Parliamentary Forum observer mission. The DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Masizole Mnqasela, who was part of the mission, said on Saturday that he and 14 others observers had rejected the mission’s claim that the elections were ‘free and fair’.
“Last night (Friday night), the DA was asked to sign off on the statement declaring the elections free and fair. I refused as my observations indicate that the credibility and fairness of the elections are questionable due to irregularities with the voters’ roll,” Mnqasela said.
He told SW Radio Africa that he was not alone in raising concerns, saying observers from Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and others were not happy with what they saw during the elections last week.
“SADC has a tendency to arrive at a conclusion without reaching a consensus that would correctly represent the aspirations of the observer mission on the ground,” Mnqasela said.
He listed problems with the voters roll and restricted access to it, among the serious issues that should lead to the vote being “nullified.” He also raised concerns that voter registration slips were allowed as ‘proof’ of registration, even if names did not appear on the voters roll. He said this created “a serious loophole and an opportunity for fraud.”
“This intensifies my argument as to why it is wrong to say the elections are credible and free. It is nonsense. The election in Zimbabwe was not free and fair, and it lacked credibility,” Mnqasela said.
The DA official explained that his dissenting view was included in the SADC Parliamentary Forum report. But he said this is still not good enough
“There is this tendency (in SADC) …where people think that liberation movements must protect each others’ interests. And that cannot be right at the expense of millions of Zimbabweans,” Mnqasela added.
The DA meanwhile will be releasing an independent list of its observations next week.
via SA opposition ‘rejects’ SADC endorsement of Zim poll | SW Radio Africa.
Posted by Alex Bell on Sunday, August 4, 2013 SW Radio Africa
South African President Jacob Zuma has endorsed the results of Zimbabwe’s elections and called for ‘acceptance’ of the outcome from opposition parties.
Zuma, in a statement on Sunday, extended his “profound congratulations” to Robert Mugabe, who was declared the overall winner of last week’s poll.
“President Zuma urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the elections as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people,” the statement said.
Zuma’s endorsement is already resulting in angry reactions from some Zimbabweans, because his statement effectively shuns the complaints of vote rigging and fraud raised by civil society and the opposition MDC parties.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said Zuma’s endorsement “is a betrayal,” because, as the regional facilitator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis, “he was supposed to guarantee a free and fair vote that reflects the will of the people.”
Zuma’s position has been prompted by observer mission reports from the SADC region and the African Union (AU), which have so far moved to accept the polls results as ‘free and peaceful’. SADC and the AU have both congratulated Zimbabwe for the peaceful election period, while saying the fairness of the polls cannot yet be decided.
The endorsements from South Africa and the rest of the region come as Western nations have been raising serious doubts about the credibility of the vote, which was marred by serious irregularities.
Australia’s government has called for a re-run, warning that Australia won’t lift its targeted sanctions on ZANU PF unless free and fair polls are held. Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Sunday echoed concerns raised about the problems with Zimbabwe’s voters roll. He said in a statement that “Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified and agreed voters roll.”
The statement from Australia followed that of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who called on SADC and the AU to address the concerns over the election, saying it was not credible and ‘deeply flawed’.
“In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people,” the US statement read.
The UK’s Foreign Minister William Hague has also voiced “grave concerns” about the conduct of the election.
“The preliminary statements of the AU and SADC observation missions, and those of the domestic observer groups, have outlined many of these significant concerns and I hope that their final assessments of the elections will take into account the full impact of these irregularities on the outcome,” Hague said.
The EU meanwhile has been slower to criticise the elections. In a statement, the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, congratulated “the people of Zimbabwe for a peaceful vote and for turning out in high numbers,” and welcomed “the generally peaceful and orderly manner in which the elections were conducted.”
“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. The EU encourages all parties to maintain calm and order,” Ashton said.
Analyst Mashiri said the Western nations and their concerns will not be taken very seriously, because “ZANU PF knows who its trading partners are, and they are Russia and China especially.”
“When ZANU PF allowed observers from China and not from the West, this was simply an acknowledgement and a strong message that ‘these are our friends’. So ZANU PF doesn’t really care what the West says when they know countries like Russia and China support it,” Mashiri.
He agreed that the West, which has been attempting to re-engage with ZANU PF in recent months, “has also lost some credibility in criticising what is happening now.”
via Zuma urges ‘acceptance’ of poll results as West expresses doubt | SW Radio Africa.
Written by staff reporter. Posted in Opinion, Top
Published on August 04, 2013 The Zimbabwe Mail
Despite President Jacob Zuma’s rather premature congratulatory message to Robert Mugabe (89) as validly elected in Zimbabwe’s sham election, attention should focus on an analysis of the electronic voters roll rather than obsess with the absence of violence as if it is the only benchmark for credible polls.
See the full note on ZimbabweSituation Facebook page
via Zimbabwe: Is the electronic voters’ roll the smoking gun? | The Zimbabwe Mail.