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Robert Mugabe's Made-in-Israel Landslide 

By Dave Goldiner – Forward Thinking – Forward.com

You could probably forgive the proprietors of Nikuv for feeling slightly giddy after the final results of Zimbabwe’s election were announced this weekend.

The Israeli company’s client, President Robert G. Mugabe, romped home with 60% of the vote and his ruling ZANU-PF party grabbed more than two-thirds of the seats in the troubled southern African nation’s parliament.

Mugabe, 89, turned back a challenge from longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party, beating the former trade union leader by about 1 million votes, according to official results.

Even better, there was none of the violence or blatant intimidation that marked past elections, like the 2008 vote that Tsvanigirai won and also led to widespread chaos and international condemnation.

So how did Nikuv, a shadowy company headquartered the Israeli town of Herzliya, play such a central role in the vote in a farflung African land?

Why did Nikuv CEO Emmanuel Antebi, and top aide Ammon Peer reportedly jet into the capital of Harare for 90 minutes of valuable face time with Mugabe on Tuesday, just hours before the polls opened?

The opposition and independent watchdogs say it’s because Nikuv was a vital cog in Mugabe’s strategy to massively rig the watershed election and maintain his grip on power.

The strategy apparently succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, with Mugabe and ZANU-PF running up never before seen vote totals in some areas. In some urban constituencies, ZANU-PF increased its vote 10 and 20-fold. In rural areas, some districts recorded more votes than the adult population.

So how did Nikuv do it?

The company has been working for several years to with the country’s notoriously partisan Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede. His office controls the production of all identity documents, like national ID cards, passports, licences, and — you guessed it — voter registration forms.

ZANU-PF has long used the voter’s roll as a political tool to disenfranchise voters in the opposition’s urban strongholds and inflate its own support in the country’s vast rural hinterlands.

After being stung by defeat five years ago, ZANU-PF apparently went back to the drawing board to make sure the people never got the chance to vote it out of office for good.

While the MDC was distracted by the task of trying to stabilize the country’s economy (and enjoying the newfound perks of office, cynics say), ZANU-PF was using the tools Nikuv provided to lay the groundwork for this week’s ‘landslide.’

A voter registration campaign was a barely disguised ZANU-PF get out the vote rally. In rural areas, thousands were signed up overnight while urban voters were forced to wait for hours as partisan workers took up to 30 minutes to process each application.

By the time elections were called, 99.6% of rural voters were registered, while just 67% were signed up in the cities and towns, according to the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network. So the giant and enthusiastic rallies that Tsvangirai drew (including a final one in Harare that was probably the biggest political gathering since Mugabe’s triumphal first victory rally in 1980) were probably mostly attended by those who had no way influencing the outcome.

On election day, nearly 1 million urban voters were turned away from the polls.

Nikuv gave ZANU-PF plenty of cards to play with. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission printed 35% more ballots than there are registered voters, compared to the global standard of 5%. That number raised hackles even among normally pliant African Union election observers.

Some insiders claim thousands of ballots with neatly pre-filled out ZANU-PF votes were simply added to the totals in certain wards. Extra polling stations were set up that were only known to ruling party supporters.

As the scale of the debacle emerges, Tsvangirai is crying foul and the MDC is vowing to continue its uphill battle for democracy in a country that has known only one ruler in the 33 years since independence. (It might have considered fighting for common sense reforms like eliminating the voters roll and making voting based on a national ID card while it had a share of power, but hindsight is always 20/20).

Secretary of State John Kerry has said the election results do not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. That may mean Zimbabwe has little chance of unlocking the Western support that it desperately needs to rebuild its economy, still teetering from decades of mismanagement and a disastrous plan to drive white commercial famers off their land.

But Mugabe will now likely serve as president till he’s 95 — or dies in office.

And that’s why Nikuv’s bosses will likely be flying back to Tel Aviv with a lucrative new contract in their pocket — signed, sealed and delivered.

Contact Dave Goldiner at goldiner@forward.com or @davidgoldiner

via Robert Mugabe's Made-in-Israel 'Landslide' – Forward Thinking – Forward.com.


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Does Africa care?

via email from Vince Musewe

Africa will only begin to care if you and me as proud Zimbabweans can stand up now and be counted.

President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa  Zuma extended his profound congratulations to Mugabe on his landslide victory in the recent elections. The African Union has literally endorsed the elections and the SADC are to follow with a full statement and I encourage my readers not to hold their breath.

I walked around Harare today to get a sense of the mood and people are going on with their lives as normal. They seem unwilling to get involved in a battle that they are most likely to lose. They are not waiting for the MDC to lead because that should have already happened. Rather they are waiting for ZANU (PF) to govern because they are asking how can the same courts that expedited the elections come back and admit that the process was flawed. The die has already cast in their minds that it is another five years of suffering. Should that be so?

Another five years of ZANU (PF) gloating while not delivering is looming. How can they deliver in five years what they failed in 34? A banker friend of mine who supports the MDC received an sms from a ZANU (PF) minister, who advised her that she should get ready to go and heard goats in the rural areas. That is their attitude now and we ain’t seen nothing yet.

An answer to my question above is yes, I do believe that they are Africans, black and white, who deeply care about the political developments in our country. I have had an avalanche of sympathy from Africans, both black and white, who understand the likely implications of our situation and are flabbergasted with ZANU (PF)’s fraud.

I however don’t think that Africa has institutions that really care. Africa is hardly geared to address its institutional incapacity to deal with matters of governance and democracy. In addition, Africa does not have a critical mass of political leadership equipped and ready to manage the complexities of a fast changing socio political landscape. Our leaders are in a comfort zone, and they will not challenge each other or the status quo, even on matters of principle because they are all soiled by their past.

Because of this, Africa still lacks the ability to apply the best solutions to its problems and that is likely to be with us for some time. We still accept mediocre and convenient results. We are full of excuses why we cannot apply world class solutions to the problems we face.

I sat and wondered what conversations will be going on in a ZANU (PF) dominated parliament and what its priorities will be. My mind shut down on the horror we shall see.

But again should Africa really care?

I have also heard and seen the blame game emerging with everyone now analyzing how Morgan got it wrong and what he should have done. Thanks to all of you who now have advice, but where were you when Mai Tsvangirai died, when Morgan Tsvangirai was beat by the police and Tendai Biti was incarcerated? When Nelson Chamisa was beat at the airport and left for dead? Where were you when Roy was hounded out of the country like a dog, when Beatrice was arrested and Elton Mangoma humiliated. Yes we all watched as they killed white farmers and stole their property. Where were you?

Where are you now?

Yes we Zimbabweans stood by and watched so why should Africa care?

Why should Nkosazana Dlamini –Zuma care and compromise her career? Why should Rita Makarau or Tobaiwa Mudede care, they have been paid their meager rewards? Why should Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma rise up on our behalf or Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu basanjo create new enemies he does not need?

Africa will only begin to care of you and me care. If you and me can stand up now and be counted then Africa will begin notice and maybe, just maybe, they will care.

For now, let us not expect others to deal with our problems. Let us take ownership of our circumstances and it is only then that we can expect others to care.

Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You can contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com


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How Zanu-PF stole the election

by Eddie Cross

They have done it again

Like so many conflicts in Africa, the political situation in Zimbabwe is very complex and difficult to interpret into the media and common understanding. I once told the Canadian Ambassador that the conflict in Zimbabwe was a bit like watching a medieval battle. The two sides gather on opposite sides of the valley and then on an agreed day they rush towards each other and engage in savage, no holds barred battle. The leaders of both sides, remaining out of harms way on nearby hills and watching the struggle below them. The battlefield is covered in the dust of conflict and the noise rises up in total confusion, then slowly one side gains ascendancy and eventually the vanquished leave the field and everyone picks up the pieces, buries their dead and goes home.

In 2008, after a savage election campaign, Zanu PF came off the battle field, claimed victory and swore in the President who then rushed off to a summit in Egypt to attend a continental gathering of leaders. I think he claimed 84 per cent of the vote. The only problem was that his colleagues did not accept his victory and sent him back with instructions to resume negotiations to try and patch things up. Without their support, he had no choice and the GPA and another five years of senseless political guerilla war was the outcome.

Knowing full well that on a level battlefield and the normal rules of war, that they had little chance of winning another bruising battle with the MDC, the Zanu PF very carefully planned their next fight. They had plenty of time and were prevented engaging the enemy by the region who were insisting on the next battle being conducted according to regionally acceptable rules and standards.

However, eventually the region ran out of time and using their allies in the Judiciary they were able to get the MDC onto the battlefield of their choosing and the battle was joined on the 31st July.

It's now over and the dust and smoke is clearing and it is clear, the MDC was given a thrashing. There were exceptions, In my own City we took every seat, I got 72 per cent for Morgan Tsvangirai against Mugabe's 20 per cent. I was elected by two thirds against 6 opponents who shared the other third of the vote. But this was the exception, in the rest of the country it was a political massacre.

The question is how did they do it? A picture is emerging and it's not a pretty one. First was the battle field itself. The voters roll had been carefully manipulated by experts. An Israeli company was employed in 2009 to advise the military and the Zanu PF hardliners on what to do to manipulate the roll. The result is astonishing. We went into battle with a roll that had 6,4 million names on it. We have been unable to get a copy of the roll in electronic format (costing about $15 and on one small CD which can be produced in 30 minutes) and therefore have to rely on a copy we obtained some 6 weeks ago.

The analysis we have done on this roll shows that it contains at least 1 million dead voters; goodness knows how many absent voters who now reside in the Diaspora. We know that there are over 350 000 people who are over 85 years old and 109 000 over a hundred years old, one of which - an army officer is 135 years old. We found 838 000 duplicate names - 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. We found 500 000 people had been moved out of their resident areas to other electoral districts, 45 000 people had their ID numbers changed without their consent.

Registering voters was a nightmare for the MDC - on the Zanu PF side they simply drew up lists of people and handed them in for registration. They moved hundreds of thousands of people into strategic areas in preparation for the Poll. Some 250 000 families - over a million people, were settled on farms taken away from their owners in the peri urban areas. They then opened offices there and "sold" small plots of land to homeless people in the crowded towns.

These people were told that they were there by courtesy of Zanu PF and that on the day of the battle they were expected to vote Zanu PF. To reinforce this, their registration details were changed to a selected electoral District and they were told where to vote and that the Party would thereby be able to tell how they voted. Eviction was the threat.

Storm troopers were carefully brought onto the battle field - thousands were accommodated on a farm outside Chitungwiza owned by a Zanu PF company, called Koala Park. They were then registered on target voters rolls in specific Districts. The ranks of the security forces - already over 120 000 people, were swelled to perhaps 200 000 with militia - young adults who were given some form of uniform and paid from Party resources if they could not be smuggled onto the State pay roll. They voted (perhaps, more than once) under instruction.

In the Commercial farming Districts they simply told the 500 000 or so "settlers" that any sign of a vote for the MDC would immediately invite retribution and eviction. The structures of the MDC were smashed and their leadership beaten or killed. In the Tribal areas they told all Chiefs (who were also promised rich rewards) that no voting for the MDC would be tolerated. Headmen - the backbone of rural Africa, were instructed to marshal their people, record names and ID numbers and then arrange for them to vote at a specified polling station. They were told what would happen to them and their families, homes and livestock, if they voted MDC. With three quarters of all seats in the House of assembly in these areas, this alone guaranteed them victory on the day.

Then just to make sure that the battlefield was to their liking, they sold stocks of diamonds (I hear for over $1 billion), used the money to buy lots of things to bribe the locals (just like Livingstone carrying beads and cloth for the "savages" they might encounter), they funded a lavish campaign. They maintained tight control of all media, the security forces and Police, tight control of the Registrar Generals Office, the Electoral Commission and its minions as well as all polling stations.

And so they repeat what they did more crudely in 2008. They pulled off another totally rigged election. They now plan to declare victory ( I am surprised that they have not done so already) and take office.

But it is not business as usual. The MDC has not and will not accept the outcome. Yesterday, confronted with the news coming in from the field, Morgan Tsvangirai said that we would not accept the results. We will not allow the outcome to stand and that he had already informed regional and African Union leaders of this. We could plunge the country into chaos - like Egypt, but that would just play into the hands of the Army and the hardliners who would lock us all up and declare an emergency and run the country through a military Junta (just like Egypt). That we will not allow to happen.

But what regional leaders need to know is that they allowed the Zanu PF to mount what we have called an electoral ambush and just as Mbeki had to step back into the ring in 2008, they must again take responsibility for this mess and sort out a solution. There are several - but they all involve allowing the people of Zimbabwe to make their own choices, without coercion or threats or inducement as to who they want to lead them back to the path of stability and progress.

If they do not, Zimbabwe will again slide back into anarchy and collapse and the collateral damage to the region will be massive. They simply cannot be allowed to permit that to happen. They have a couple of days to make up their minds and move.

Eddie Cross is MDC MP for Bulawayo South. This article first appeared on his website www.eddiecross.africanherd.com  


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Zimbabwe elections: Why is nobody dancing after Mugabe's latest win?

By Wilf Mbanga, Special to CNN

August 5, 2013 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
Editor's note: Wilf Mbanga is the founder and editor of The Zimbabwean, an independent newspaper. He lives in self-imposed exile in the UK after being declared an enemy of the state by the Zimbabwean government in 2004.

(CNN) -- In the absence of a proper voters' roll and credible international observers, no one can honestly say with any degree of certainty whether last week's elections reflected the will of the Zimbabwean people. One thing is certain -- the numbers simply do not add up.

And isn't it strange that there have been no jubilant celebrations by the "winners?" It's as though the Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe, elected to yet another term as Zimbabwe's president, can't quite believe it themselves. The general mood across the nation is one of despondency. Everyone seems depressed. No one knows what to do next. It would seem the will of the people has not triumphed at all. Riot police patrol quiet streets. No one sings or dances.

What happened on July 31 was a demonstration of what can be done by a small group of people who have everything to lose and who have spent more than 30 years cementing their grip on power and wealth. It certainly was not a popularity contest.

Mercifully it was peaceful. Memories of the 2008 election -- burnt and lacerated bodies, weeping girls and women who had been raped, swollen, bleeding feet and dead bodies -- were fresh in the minds of many.

The Zanu-PF's "victory" must be considered in the light of the following: This is a country where 95% of the population is unemployed; an estimated 25% live and work in the diaspora to keep their relatives back home fed and at school; 15% are orphans (largely as a result of the AIDS pandemic). It is therefore pretty easy to buy people -- and votes.

All those in the top echelons of the army, the police, the judiciary and the body responsible for elections are hand-picked, self-avowed Zanu-PF loyalists -- rewarded over the years via a well-orchestrated patronage system with land, farming implements, luxury vehicles, plasma TVs, diamonds and business opportunities.

Robert Mugabe is a very wily politician. After losing the election in 2008, he and his generals threw everything into this election -- determined to win at all costs. They left nothing to chance. They also enlisted the help of the controversial Israeli company Nikuv, which has been accused of manipulating the vote in Zambia during the last election.

The Registrar General's office was used to disenfranchise young people mainly in the urban areas, and to overstate the number of old people in rural areas over 80. According to their own figures, the RG registered just 8% of those in the 18-19 age group -- and 220% of those in the over-80 age group, according to analysis by the The Research and Advocacy Unit, an NGO based in Harare. Younger people tend to vote for the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's main rival, and older people for the long-time president's Zanu-PF party.

The office also disenfranchised millions of people in the diaspora, despite having signed up to the Southern African Development Community election guidelines, which stipulate that provisions should be made for those in the diaspora to vote.

A chaotic registration process registered just 1.8 million voters in the urban areas that are a stronghold for Tsvangirai's MDC, many of whom spent days queuing up to vote. Hundreds of thousands were disenfranchised -- either their names had been removed completely from voter rolls, or they appeared in a different ward or even a different constituency. The voter's roll was only made available to parties other than Zanu-PF on the eve of the election after a High Court injunction had been granted, which meant that other parties did not have the time to raise the alarm about the myriad irregularities. Neither could people check that their names were on the list, and in the right place. This caused enormous confusion on the day and many would-be voters simply gave up.

The opposition MDC party and civil observers have documented thousands of examples of impossible numbers related to the election. In the rural area of Uzumba, for instance, 21,000 people allegedly voted in 12 hours at 15 polling stations -- that's one voter every two seconds. No village in Zimbabwe has that many adults, and the process of finding one's name on the list, dipping a finger in the special ink and placing one's X next to a candidate would clearly take longer than 120 seconds.

There was documented evidence of Zanu-PF bussing rural people into urban areas to vote. Although their names did not appear on the roll, they had voting slips produced by the registrar's office which allowed them to cast their votes. It is believed that this is what led to the MDC losing most of its urban seats.

Zanu-PF covertly continued to enroll more voters right up until the eve of the poll, after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission refused to extend the registration days. The African Union and SADC observers brushed this off as inconsequential.

Matabeleland province consistently voted for Tsvangirai in the past, yet in this election Mugabe made almost a clean sweep. These are people who hate Zanu-PF -- people who have bitter memories of the Gukurahundi genocide allegedly perpetrated by Mugabe's men in the early 1980s. It is inconceivable that they would vote en masse for Zanu-PF.

Intimidation also played a huge role in the contest. In the weeks leading up to the election, and even as early as January when Mugabe first started agitating for elections to take place, The Zimbabwean and other independent media were inundated with reports from all over the country of threats by Zanu-PF's traditional leaders, youth militia, army and police officers of a repeat of the 2008 violence if the party and Mugabe did not win.

There is, of course, some support for Mugabe in the rural areas, where he has given hundreds of thousands of families land, agricultural inputs and food -- which was given as humanitarian aid by the international community and re-bagged and distributed in Mugabe's name strictly to Zanu-PF members during the past 15 years. Many families were threatened with the loss of their land and homes if Zanu-PF did not win in their area.

Police officers and their families were warned that they would lose their homes if Mugabe did not win the election. Add to this the tight control by Zanu-PF of the mass media the constant demonization of Morgan Tsvangirai, his MDC party and Western sanctions, and the exhaustion of a populace ground down by decades of poverty, lack of access to independent information, violence and the threat of violence -- and you begin to understand the toxic recipe for a Zanu-PF "success" at the polls.

The MDC also failed Zimbabweans on several counts during the five years since they won the election but were forced by the SADC into a power-"sharing" coalition with Zanu-PF. These failures included Tsvangirai's indiscretions after his wife died, corruption in urban councils controlled by the party, failure to bring meaningful legislative change through parliament and greed on the part of some MPs who sided with Zanu-PF in pursuit of more pay and perks.

I doubt there will be any serious violence now. People are shell-shocked and Mugabe's loyal forces are well prepared with Chinese weapons and Israeli water cannons. Riot squads are out in full force.

Tsvingirai's options are limited. He seems inclined to appeal to the Constitutional Court for a nullification and a re-run. But it is highly unlikely that judgement would go in his favour given the compromised nature of the judiciary. Just a few weeks before the election, Mugabe packed the courts with hand-picked loyalists.

The MDC could appeal to the SADC to nullify the result. But this is also unlikely to succeed given that the SADC and the AU have already endorsed the results.

Passive resistance in a country where 95% of people are unemployed is a non-starter. Any other resistance would be met with greater force and give Mugabe the chance he is waiting for -- to lock up all MDC leaders.

The opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of Wilf Mbanga.

via http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/05/opinion/zimbabwe-election-mbanga-analysis/index.html?hpt=iaf_t2

 
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“We did not say Zim elections were fair” - Zuma’s Minister

South Africa's Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has contradicted President Jacob Zuma’s position on the Zimbabwean elections.

05.08.13  by Chris Ncube | The Zimbabwean

“We did not say that the Zimbabwean election was fair, we said it was free…we did not use ‘fair’ or ‘credible,’” Ebrahim Ebrahim said in a radio interview on Monday. The interview came a day after Zuma endorsed Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election.

"This profoundly contradicts President Jacob Zuma’s position on the elections. In a press statement yesterday, the President congratulated Zimbabwe on “successful harmonised elections,” Ian Davidson, the Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, said on Monday.

"It seems that given his own cabinet minister's position, President Zuma has opted to put politics ahead of the numerous legitimate concerns that have been raised. In doing so, he has let the people of Zimbabwe down," Davidson added.

Observers and civil society noted serious irregularities with the voters’ roll and voting process.

via “We did not say Zim elections were fair”—Zuma’s Minister | The Zimbabwean.


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Condemnation of Mugabe victory grows

Posted by Alex Bell on Monday, August 5, 2013 | SW Radio Africa

There is growing condemnation of the outcome of last week’s highly disputed election, which saw Robert Mugabe being re-elected as Zimbabwe’s President.

The poll saw Mugabe’s party score a ‘landslide’ victory against its political rivals and so far the outcome is being endorsed by some observer missions, particularly those from Africa.

These endorsements have been in spite of widespread reports of voter fraud and rigging, as well as the declaration by the main opposition MDC-T that the process was a “farce.”

The latest group to criticise the “flawed” electoral process and disputed outcome is the UK based Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), which said “it is not possible to conclude the elections were free, fair, credible and reflected the will of the people.” ACTSA’s Mark Beacon told SW Radio Africa that they are “deeply concerned with what happened in the run up to this election and what happened during the election.”

“It is difficult to see how anyone can endorse what has happened as free, fair and credible,” Beacon said.

He listed a number of irregularities that have been raised by some observers on the ground during the poll, including an observer from the Federation of Unions for South Africa (FEDUSA). That group on Monday also condemned the poll, calling the outcome “a fraud.” Their assessment was based on a report from their member Elias Bila, who was part of the Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) observer team.

“Firstly we must agree that the Zimbabwean elections of 2013 was peaceful and without obvious intimidation, especially in light of what happened in 2008. However, we can categorically state that the electoral processes were not fair. The main cause of this is that the voters’ roll was only released on Tuesday, on the eve of the election. This led to many people who wanted to vote, not appearing on the list,” Bila told SW Radio Africa on Monday.

“Many voters who did not appear on the voters roll were allowed to register there and then on a separate register, while others were not,” Bila continued, adding: “Even more concerning is the cases where ballot counting was not done by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission but by the police.”

These irregularities and others listed by observer missions have led to some international bodies and government’s raising concern, including Australia which over the weekend called for a rerun of the polls. Other Western nations, like the US, the UK and the European Union (EU) have also expressed concerns about the reports of rigging.

This has contrasted sharply with the opinions of mainly African nations that have been quick to endorse the elections. Kenya on Monday became the latest African country to accept the legitimacy of the elections and urged MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to “accept defeat.” (There was widespread criticism of Kenya’s March election and allegations of vote rigging).

Kenya’s position echoed that of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who extended his “profound congratulations” to Mugabe on Sunday. He also called for Tsvangirai to accept the outcome.

South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has since called on Zuma to retract this statement, until proper investigations into the rigging reports have been concluded.

via Condemnation of Mugabe ‘victory’ grows | SW Radio Africa.


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Botswana calls for Zim vote audit

Gaborone - Botswana on Monday said it will lobby southern African leaders for an audit of Zimbabwe's disputed elections, calling into question the fairness of President Robert Mugabe's victory.

Foreign affairs minister Phandu Skelemani said Botswana was concerned that Wednesday's vote had not measured up to Southern African Development Community (SADC) guidelines.

"Various incidents and circumstances were revealed that call into question whether the entire electoral process, and thus its final result, can be recognised as having been fair, transparent and credible," he said in rare African criticism of the vote.

Western nations have voiced serious doubts about Zimbabwe's election - slammed as "fraudulent" by the opposition - after it extended 89-year-old Mugabe's 33 years in power.

SADC said it was "free and peaceful" but stopped short at saying it was fair.

A dossier of irregularities witnessed by Botswana's 80 member observer team will be shared with SADC, the African Union and the international community.

The 15-member regional SADC will then be lobbied to approve an independent audit of the vote during its heads of state meeting later this month in Malawi.

"We need an audit to enable us to pronounce as to whether the elections meet the SADC guidelines," Skelemani told journalists.

Botswana's observers had spotted various incidents prior to the elections though the voting day was "free and peaceful", he said.

President Ian Khama is one of the few African leaders to openly criticise Mugabe.

In 2008, Harare's diamond rich neighbour refused to accept the veteran leader's re-election in chaotic polls.

- AFP

via Botswana calls for Zim vote audit | News24.


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MDC-T prepares to submit dossier on ZANU PF ballot theft

Posted by Nomalanga Moyo on Monday, August 5, 2013  | SW Radio Africa

MDC-T coalition partner and Mavambo leader Simba Makoni says measures are being taken to expose the unprecedented ballot theft which saw ZANU PF winning the Wednesday election.

Makoni, who contested the just-ended poll on a MDC-T ticket, said they were rejecting ZANU PF’s victory as an outcome of a rigged process, and calling for fresh elections.

Last Thursday MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai declared the election ‘null and void, and described it as a ‘farce’ which did not reflect the will of the people.

Makoni told SW Radio Africa Monday that a dossier was being compiled by the MDC-T in a bid to reveal how ZANU PF and its leader Robert Mugabe rigged the election.

He said Zimbabweans should expect other measures aimed at challenging the electoral fraud to be put in motion before “the inauguration of the so-called winner”.

The MDC-T has until Saturday – as required by the law – to take their case to the Constitutional Court, in what is set to be an uphill task. The country’s courts are largely staffed by Mugabe apologists who have consistently ruled in his favour on electoral matters brought before the courts since 2000.  ZANU PF’s Patrick Chinamasa has already challenged the MDC-T to seek recourse through the courts.

Makoni said: “We already have a strong body of evidence to support our case. Most of it is elaborating on the irregularities, which have also been variously expressed by the African Union, SADC, and also by local observers.

“There were irregularities around the voters’ roll, the voting slips, the assisted voters, as well as the turned away voters. All these build up a strong body of evidence that renders the outcome not credible,” he said.

Makoni would not go into great detail about the measures being taken to expose ZANU PF’s rigging mechanisms, but he indicated that the MDC-T will soon be seeking an independent audit of all the election material as part of that process.

Last week Tsvangirai said the dossier of “all irregularities and all the illegalities” will also be submitted to SADC, in the hope that the regional body will intervene.

But observers say this may be another tough call as SADC, together with the AU and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa have endorsed the result and urged the MDC-T to accept it, despite noting the irregularities.

Makoni denied that the MDC-T may have got complacent ‘and slept on the job’ as implied in a Monday NewsDay editorial piece.

“It is not true that we took our eyes off the ball, we continued to raise these irregularities even to SADC. In his final rally, Tsvangirai raised concern about the integrity and credibility of this process, and even called on the Electoral Commission to resign.

“The scale of these irregularities keeps unravelling, and we now know more than we did before polling day,” Makoni added.

One electoral commissioner, Mkhululi Nyathi, has already resigned in protest at the unprofessional manner in which the electoral process was conducted.

Makoni said the commissioner’s resignation is an important part of the evidence that the MDC-T is compiling as they prepare to challenge the electoral fraud.

“We are going to give him (Zuma) and other leaders the detailed evidence of how the election was stolen and we hope they will use that to ensure Zimbabweans get the electoral justice they deserve.”

Once complete the MDC-T dossier is expected to include irregularities such as double voting, use of fake registration slips, the busing in of voters from outside constituencies, the inclusion of ghost voters on the roll, the failure by ZEC to provide political parties with an auditable electronic voters’ roll, as well as the involvement of shadowy Israeli entity Nikuv, among many other issues.

via MDC-T prepares to submit dossier on ZANU PF ballot theft | SW Radio Africa.


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Scale of Zimbabwe vote theft surprised us all

Robert Mugabe’s election victory is a devastating loss for democracy and for the country

By Petina Gappah Published: 20:00 August 5, 2013  | GulfNews.com

Early on Thursday morning, the day after Zimbabweans had gone to the polls to choose a president, I received a panicked call from a friend who works with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. “We are facing a catastrophe,” he said. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was on course to lose eight seats in Harare to Mugabe’s Zanu PF, he said. They had lost 22 of the 26 seats in the Manicaland province, while all the seats in the southern province of Masvingo had gone to Zanu PF.

As the day unfolded and the results trickled in, the extent of the catastrophe became clear. What stood out the most was this shocking result: Zanu PF had won most of the seats in Matabeleland. Just after independence, in the 1980s, in an operation called Gukurahundi, Mugabe sent a North Korean-trained army brigade to the province to quell what the government said were secessionist elements.

The Fifth Brigade killed thousands of people. Thirty years later, Gukurahundi is a sore that has not healed, and the people of Matabeleland have not forgotten. Since the MDC emerged as the only threat to Zanu PF in 1999, Matabeleland has consistently voted MDC. But the results we were receiving suggested that the impossible had happened, that the people of Matabeleland had put aside Gukurahundi and found in themselves a new love for Zanu PF.

Law flouted

They had voted Zanu PF, endorsed Zanu PF, they had embraced the party of the people who had killed their loved ones. 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 (South African Political Economic Series) 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 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 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 laced their rage with eloquence.

Looting of state resources

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, observers for the Southern African Development Community 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 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, my family whole and 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. That means that, come what may, there will be no President Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 2023. That is something to look forward to.

— The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2013

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.

via Scale of Zimbabwe vote theft surprised us all | GulfNews.com.


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Western Backlash Rises Over Zimbabwe Vote

from Voice of America by Anita Powell  August 05, 2013

JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s election is receiving wide criticism after longtime President Robert Mugabe swept the vote in an election the opposition says was rigged.

Australia is calling for a rerun of the poll, and the United States and Britain have said they do not think the results were credible.  In neighboring South Africa, Zimbabwean expatriates are reacting to the results with disbelief.

On Monday, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said dozens of its members were arrested a day after the electoral commission announced that longtime President Robert Mugabe trounced challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, winning 61 percent of the vote.

Those reports follow strong expressions of disapproval from the top diplomats of Australia, the United States and Britain.  Zimbabwe’s largest poll observer mission also said the poll was “seriously compromised” by multiple irregularities, including problems with voter rolls, vote tampering and voter intimidation.

But the African Union and the Southern African Development Community observation missions considered the poll relatively free and fair, though neither has presented a full report. Rugare Gumbo, a spokesman for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, said the party won honestly.

“These people have to accept that their biggest problem was that they didn’t have a program to offer to the people," Gumbo said.  "They were complacent.  As ZANU-PF, we went into the field quietly like old typical guerrilla fighters.  We started restructuring the party from the bottom, while these people [opposition parties] were complaining or [creating their party] constitution, we were organizing the party, and that’s why we came up on top.”

South African President Jacob Zuma sent Mugabe his “profound congratulations” and said the observers had found the poll to be “an expression of the will of the people.”

That opinion is not shared by many Zimbabwean expatriates in South Africa. Mugabe has few fans among the Zimbabwean community here, which is believed to number two million people.  Many of them say he is the reason they fled here and claimed political asylum.

Sox Chikohwero is one of them. The opposition party activist he fled after he was arrested and tortured in 2002.  He said Zimbabweans of all persuasions are questioning the results.

“The elections are not free and fair,"  Chikohwero said. "They’ve tried to force Morgan [Tsvangirai] to accept the results.  Morgan has refused, because he’s not talking for himself, he’s talking for the people.  And even people in ZANU-PF are surprised where this figure came from.  You saw [ZANU-PF chairman] Simon Khaya Moyo commenting after winning so resoundingly, we know how ZANU-PF boasts about winning, but Simon Khaya Moyo was saying, no one is a winner in this election, which means he is also surprised and shocked about the level of winning.  The type of rigging, I think they overdid it," he said.

Chikohwero’s concerns are echoed by top Western officials.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he did not believe the outcome “represent[s] a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people."  British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had “grave concerns.”  Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr is calling for a complete rerun of the poll.

Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing government with Tsvangirai after elections in 2008 turned violent. That coalition has now come to a bitter end.

One thing does appear to be sure: Mugabe, who is now 89 years old, is not a man who is easily defeated. He has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980 and says he is still going strong.

via Western Backlash Rises Over Zimbabwe Vote.


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Zimbabwe Banks Said to Stop New Loans on Policy Concern

By Godfrey Marawanyika - Aug 5, 2013 3:21 PM GMT  - Bloomberg

Most Zimbabwean banks stopped making new loans because of concern over the policies President Robert Mugabe will pursue after he won an election described by his main rival as a “sham,” the chief executive officers of two lenders said.

The banks are concerned that Mugabe, who last month described the lenders as “shylocks” and said they should stop “robbing” Zimbabweans, may press ahead with plans to force foreign-owned lenders to cede 51 percent stakes to black Zimbabweans or the government, the CEOs said, declining to be identified because they don’t want to offend the government.

“Individual banks made decisions that they would not lend during this time, elections,” Sij Biyam, CEO of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, said in an interview today from the capital, Harare. The decisions may also be due to funding issues unrelated to the elections, he said, declining to be more specific.

The CEO of a third bank. who declined to be identified, said the institution had stopped lending several weeks ago because it couldn’t secure funding because of concern about the election.

Mugabe, 89, won 61 percent of the presidential vote in results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on Aug. 3, while his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front won a two-thirds majority in parliament, defeating the Movement for Democratic Change, which said thousands of its supporters were excluded from the voters’ roll. A four-year coalition between Zanu-PF and the MDC had pulled the country out of a decade-long recession, with Zimbabwe posting four consecutive years of growth.

Banks operating in Zimbabwe include units of Standard Chartered Plc (STAN), Barclays Plc (BARC) and Standard Bank Group. CBZ Holdings Ltd. also operates in the country. The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe has 23 affiliated institutions.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe declined to comment immediately when called.

The week before the elections also saw unusually high withdrawals from banks, the CEOs said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Harare at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net; Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

via Zimbabwe Banks Said to Stop New Loans on Policy Concern - Bloomberg.


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Mourning the loss of hope and security in the wake of a shamelessly stolen election: what can we do?

AUTHOR: SOKWANELE

I was ten years old when my two best friends were murdered. I can describe in forensic detail exactly what happened on the day I got the news.

I was playing outside on an adult sized bicycle, propelling myself dangerously forward over homemade ramps constructed from breeze bocks and bits of plank while a cross-breed bull-terrier manically yapped and tried to shred my tyres with her teeth. My mother called me and my siblings into the house and asked us to sit down. We were expectant; the seriousness of the occasion was highly unusual and, in fact, has never been repeated in the rest of my life. My father walked in and with a focussed calmness I will never ever forget said, "I have bad news. There is a possibility that [names withheld] are dead". I remember his hands were shaking and that he lifted one of them to touch his forehead as he spoke. And I remember that just as he said the words he looked away from us over our heads and into the yard outside.

I, the eldest, immediately leapt on the word "possibility"; maybe this was not true. My father dispelled that hope quickly: we had not been officially advised of this news, but reliable sources had seen the bodies of my two best friends - one a year younger than me and the other a year older - and their family members. They were all definitely dead, and they'd all been shot. We were then asked to go outside and play while my parents readied themselves to support the surviving members of the family through their horrendous ordeal.

I remember standing and walking out the room. We had steps that led down to our small yard. The verandah floor was polished red concrete shining bluntly through a layer of dust because the sun was starting to set, and at that time of the day light streamed over the floor and into our main living room. I was looking down at my feet, which were bare and covered in dust up to my knees. There was a drought at that time, and dryness and dust everywhere.

Election abuse card
Election abuse card

My ten year old self had nowhere to go and no idea what to do. I did not know it immediately then, but my life had just been changed forever. The black messenger bicycle with a carrier basket attached to the front was at the foot of the stairs where I had dropped it. I remember standing contemplating it, but knew that to get back on and ride would be wrong. I walked past it. There was a tree in our yard where I had hammered myself a seat from two bits of wood at the very top of its branches. That's where I took myself.

I can distinctly remember sitting, crouched over these planks high above the ground, with my knees to my forehead, my ten year old mind completely ill-equipped to process the profundity of what I had just been told. Up until a year previously I had played with these children several times a week. I wish I could tell you that I cried with a terrible grief, but I did not: at ten, although I knew I should cry, the news was so horrific that I was completely incapable of assimilating the experience into my life experience. As an adult now, I fully understand why when we see these terrible shootings at a school, or a child abduction somewhere, the news is almost always accompanied by information that child psychologists are working with the children to help them cope. I didn't have that. In fact, most of Zimbabwe's children who experience hell and hardship are not supported by experts even today.

So what did I do? With the intensity of a confused and frightened ten year old I made my murdered best friends a promise: I promised that I would never ever forget them. But I also knew, as a ten year old, that I had made many promises and pledges that I almost instantly forget and I was fearful that I would betray them and forget to remember them. That seemed to me to be a terrible terrible thing if I did that.

So what did I do to avoid that terrible possibility? The very next day I formally remembered them: I deliberately re-called to my mind their faces and things we had done together. I ran my mind over the details of our times shared together. I did this again the day after that, and I have done it for every single day after that for thirty years. My ritual of remembering has taken on a form of compulsion. Decades later this memory is as fresh and as much a part of me as my own heart beating in my chest. I remember them, every single day.

The memory became more and more important. I did not know it at the time but my two best friends were the first people I would know who would be murdered. Two seats in my class over the course of the year emptied as two classmates were killed. One of those classmates died along with her entire family and other people in her community as well, in a massacre. I added their names to my memory.

I am slightly uncomfortable about my daily ritual: I know that anyone reading this probably thinks I need some form of psychological help, so I don't talk of it. I find it painful to write about now. But I feel that these are the only important words left in me that I can share in the wake of the elections we have just had.

We all carry scars deep in us: no one in Zimbabwe has emerged emotionally or psychologically intact under Zanu PF rule.

The long struggle for freedom, justice and democracy

I am an 'activist' - whatever that means - because I carry a memory of two smiling children who knew nothing but safety and joy in their lives until the terrible day they were murdered. My promise made the direction of my life inevitable.

I am telling you this to make it clear that all the reasons Zimbabweans have been given for why people fight against Mugabe and Zanu PF are lies.

I am not an activist because I am an enemy of the state. I am not an activist because I have a hero-complex. My head is not filled with Western propaganda and my desire is not to see our nation turned into a colonialist's playground. Contrary to The Herald's proclamations that Sokwanele is part of the MDC-T, this is not true: I am not a member of any political party and I would not be a part of Sokwanele unless it was strictly non-partisan. I have criticisms of decisions the MDCs have made, because I always measure what they do against the profundity of my memory, and the crass day to day of political negotiations never measures up.

When I remember my friends I am frequently struck by the peculiar fact that I lived and they didn't. The only difference between their deaths and my life is that I happened to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time - specifically - I was not in an area where Mugabe's fifth brigade were operating on a given day in the early 1980s, murdering and torturing thousands of civilians, including children.

I will never be rich and I will never be famous but I am blessed, because, given my life experiences in Zimbabwe, I am lucky. We were poor when I was a child, but my father's drive to work hard - and the good fortune his business succeeded - has meant he and my mother ensured that I received a good secondary and tertiary education. My country does not educate its children to even a fraction of what my father gifted me. I am healthy because he was able to find the means to heal me when I was sick: my country fails its citizens on this accord to. My father has done for his family what my country should be striving to do for its citizens. But that has not happened: priorities under Zanu PF, like power for the sake of power, gross corruption and incompetence and patronage, have stripped any hope of a full rich future away from most of Zimbabwe's youth.

In all respects I am an unremarkable and completely ordinary Zimbabwean. The only thing that divides me from those that have suffered through famine, torture and murder is luck and chance that easily translate into privilege. It is a privilege that sits uncomfortably with me because my luck is always counterbalanced in my mind by the awful fate of my two friends. I cannot revel in good-fortune without always being aware of loss and absence and pain.

'Luck and chance' are not a strong foundation for our future. It is not acceptable that some have a privileged existence while others do not. I believe with every fibre of my being that we need a bedrock of fundamental good principles that provide guarantees of security for everyone: we need laws that are upheld, human rights that are respected, freedoms that are protected. And we need a government that makes basic needs a priority: education, health, employment.

Every single person I have engaged with in the fourteen years I have been doing this work has a similar motivation. Yes, there will always be 'big-heads' in any political struggle, but most have strived to build a better future for Zimbabwe. Most are driven by a desire for justice and freedom for Zimbabwean people. To do good.

And I believe that the majority of Zimbabweans know this and, because they share my history in this country, they also understand why so many people have struggled in a way no person living outside Zimbabwe can even begin to understand. They will also understand the devastating sense of anger these same people will be feeling today when they are force-fed a fraudulent result that mocks everything good and decent they have strived for.

These elections

If these elections were won by Zanu PF freely and fairly in a clean democratic contest then I would respect them. If you believe in democracy as powerfully as I do then you are honour-bound to 'take the rough with the smooth'. A Zanu PF victory would sit uneasy with me given my personal life and their track record, but I would respect and accept the result.

But this result is sour and unacceptable. I believe that even the most ardent Zanu PF supporter knows that this election was stolen through fraud and cheating, and not secured by the will of the people. An Al Jazeera reporter commented that he had driven all around Harare after the results were announced looking for signs of celebration from Zanu PF supporters and there were none. He tweeted: "Are people waiting for Mugabe to issue a decree: celebrate!" There were none, because no one voted for Zanu PF or Mugabe in the numbers ZEC claims are true. It made me aware of what a bizarre situation we are in: a manufactured political context where the vast majority of the people in our country are forced to accept control and authority from those they do not want.

And the grief and fear of an uncertain future - which recent history tells us is going to be unpleasant - is palpable among all of us. People who freely talk about politics to me are silent. They don't want to discuss the results because the obvious question 'What now?' is one that only raises fear and uncertainty. We are all so damn tired of feeling fearful and unsure of our futures. One person, blessed to have his exams in the last five years said on Twitter in a message directed to David Coltart - former Minister of Education: "I wrote my O level and A level in a perfect way, no hassle, results came in time, THANK YOU....now I am worried of the future". We worry about the future because our past lives, under Zanu PF rule, were so terrible.

A short five years ago every Zimbabwean was trapped in a daily struggle just to survive. The list of what we endured is simply incredible - no one can begin to understand how awful it was unless they had lived here. We collectively experienced one of the world's worst examples of hyper-inflation; businesses dying on a daily basis; completely empty supermarket shelves and consequently wide-spread starvation; one of the worst cholera epidemics the world has seen as a result of collapsing infrastructure; roads strewn with potholes; divided families as a result of a forced exodus to neighbouring countries; the total collapse of our education and health systems; thousands of businesses and homes deliberately destroyed by ZANU PF government through Murambatsvina; unemployment that is close to 95%; and, on top of all that, grotesque unimaginable violence and torture.

Surely any sane reasonable person can see that it is illogical and inconceivable that a nation that has endured all that would voluntarily elect the party, a amer five years later, the same party that brought us all to our knees and made our lives a living hell? Or does everyone really think Zimbabweans are that stupid?

What is more incredible is the result that Robert Mugabe awarded himself: five years ago the presidential results were delayed for weeks in the wake of a national revolt against his rule. We all knew why - the 'books were being cooked' behind the scenes. The subsequent manufactured results of 31 March resulted in a Presidential run-off, the only chance Mugabe had of still clinging onto power. And the grotesque violence that preceded the run-off was a desperate attempt to literally bludgeon an already brutalised nation into allowing him to stay on.

It is simply absurd and farcical that that same nation would now peacefully and legitimately award him a massive 61% victory, and his party a landslide 2/3 majority in parliament - enough, you note, to allow Zanu PF to reverse all the legal gains that we voted for as a nation in 2008.

Zanu PF would like the world to believe that those legal gains, including our brand new constitution, are things the people have suddenly decided they do not want.

Zanu PF would like the world to believe that the liberation message combined with hate and loathing of western nations has suddenly became appealing in 2013, when exactly those same messages were massively rejected in 2008.

They would like the world to accept that a very very elderly man who makes very long rambling speeches and seldom refers to concrete policies, is suddenly seen as a viable solution to our country's substantial woes, when just five years ago we demanded someone else be given a chance. Zanu PF would like us to believe this improbability when it is a biological fact that Mugabe is only going to get older and more frail, and at a much faster rate given his advanced years.

Zanu PF want the world to believe that even though things become palpably better for Zimbabweans in the last five years - not all of us, but enough to give real hope - that the vast incredible majority of us would suddenly wilfully choose to give Zanu PF the benefit of the doubt again, and that we would all chance a return to what was pure unadulterated hell.

A landslide victory is simply not plausible. To endorse it as credible or fair would be an outrage against a whole population, and a total disregard for the meaning of democracy.

Zimbabweans are not stupid. This election has been stolen. It is an abomination of democracy and a violation of everything sacrosanct to people who believe in the right for people to determine their own futures. In Muzarabani North - a hot-spot area for violence in 2008 - the result speaks for itself: in 2008 nearly 4,000 people voted for MDC-T, but in 2013 only 600 people did. Zanu PF would like us to believe that 85% of the people there suddenly saw the light and saw their party as the future solution. This is ridiculous.

What now?

We received an email in the wake of the results from one Zimbabwean who said: "The burden I have on my shoulders and the pain I feel in my heart are so heavy I was forced to kneel down and pray because I could not think of anything else better to do."

The words "could not think of anything better to do" will resonate with all Zimbabweans. A despairing sense of helplessness that I know the majority of Zimbabweans are feeling today.

Our immediate future now seems to lie in the hands of carefully selected teams of election observers - ones that Zanu PF trusts to turn a blind eye to their crimes against democracy and our people. They arrived with a small handful of observers who, as one activist said, 'didn't seem to stray too far from tar-roads'. In the rural areas, where we know people were being forced to vote with assistance (i.e. someone making sure they voted the right way), where we know peoples' names were checked off by headmen as they entered the stations, where outsiders were bussed in to swell the vote and others refused the right to vote on spurious reasons - there was no one from SADC or the AU present to see this.

Those who did see and hear are our own local community: the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), for example, deployed 7000 observers around Zimbabwe and they and other civic organisations are horrified by the degree of fraud that took place. But Zanu PF, a party that rails against colonialism and outside influences on Zimbabwe's sovereignty, a party that demands 'Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans', will insist that the myopic view of SADC and the AU observer groups is given priority over the words of local Zimbabweans who were there to see and hear clearly.

"Provide evidence", these people will demand. But that heaps yet another level of injustice on us: there is evidence, but who cares? Our courts had another two Zanu PF loyal judges packed into them - coincidentally before the new constitution was signed to avoid the rigour that the new law would have imposed on selection. In the weeks leading up to these ridiculously rushed polls, the court has shown that the rule of law is something to be regarded or disregarded based on political objectives. Someone quipped: 'they use it as a 'rough guide'. Evidence means nothing in this context.

So where does that leave Zimbabweans?

It leaves us in torment.

We need every international body there is to listen to us and hear our plea. We need them to demand that the will of the people is upheld and that these elections are looked at critically in the full context of the months leading up to the polls as well as the full details of injustices all around Zimbabwe.

The voters' roll needs to be forensically examined, and Zanu PF's association with the murky Israeli organisation Nikuv - operating secretly through the Ministry of Defence - needs to be questioned at the highest level by governments that care about democracy and the future of Zimbabwe. How the hell can any business set itself up to earn money by depriving an entire nation of a future?

Zimbabweans need to do what they can, even if it is small, to make an impact now. We need the world to hear our voices. We need to make sure that those who can do something, hear us and believe that we in turn want to be heard. Someone on twitter posted a tweet that made me smile for the first time in days: something to the effect of, 'If you stand with your back too close to the fire, then you will have sit with blisters on your bum'.

Those of us who do nothing, who are usually apathetic about politics and devolve accountability to politicians and civics need to now do what they can. Turning your back on the fire of injustice raging around us will not prevent you from suffering pain.

There is a website set up where civics are asking people to submit everything they know about fraud and irregularities that took place in this election. This is important information. Please visit the website. Please provide as much detail as you can about the things you know. Do not keep this information for disgruntled chatter in the supermarket queue.

If you do not want to visit the site, email us at info@sokwanele.com and we will collate and forward the information on. Tell us exactly where it happened, what happened, which constituency, and the names of people involved if you know them. Detail is important.

Please speak to the people you work with or who work for you, and get their experiences as well. Note them down as well. Get the detail and add it to the website.

I am asking Zanu PF supporters to do this too. I believe that many of you will feel ashamed of the way this 'victory' has been secured, and uncomfortable living among the majority who you know wanted a different government. I believe that you may have a philosophical view that ties you to Zanu PF - I respect that - but that you wish this view to prevail democratically and freely, and you wish to win the conviction of the majority. That has not happened, and the imposition of injustice will only drive people further away.

An activist's job is to bolster spirits, to prevent people from falling into a deep depression, and to chivvy them on with a positive message that calls them to engage. I cannot do that today: like you I am deeply worried and fearful and I am angry.

I am most afraid that apathy and a lack of faith in the international community - understandable given the years of white-washing the region has done over our previously rigged polls - will allow this farce of an election to fizzle into the accepted status quo without so much as a whimper.

I am imploring you, please, do not read this mailing and then do nothing. I am imploring the governments around the world as well to please, do what you can.

Zimbabwe's future right now is almost too awful to contemplate. But this morning, when my mind once again automatically turned to tread its familiar path to my murdered friends, I couldn't help but think everyone who has suffered so much in the past deacdes, and of those who will suffer more under Zanu PF rule. I felt I needed to write this: I felt I needed to try, and I want to encourage all of you to try as well.

Visit https://zimbabweelections.crowdmap.com/


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Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Plunges 11% After Mugabe Victory

Zimbabwe’s main stock index plunged 11 percent, its biggest one-day decline since 2009, after President Robert Mugabe won a presidential election to extend his 33 years in power and his main rival refused to accept the result.

by The Zimbabwean

The benchmark Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Industrial Index fell to 205.6 points from 231.21 by the close of trade in Harare, the capital, paring its decline this year to 35 percent.

Enlarge image Zimbabwe Stocks Plunge Most Since 2009 After Mugabe Victory

Mugabe, 89, won 61 percent of the presidential vote in results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on Aug. 3 while his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front won a two thirds majority in parliament. Mugabe’s party, accused by the rival Movement for Democratic Change of rigging the election, is pushing policies including a law that compels foreign-owned companies to cede 51 percent of their assets to black Zimbabweans or the government.

“It’s the post election panic,” Carla Simleit, an analyst at Harare-based IH Securities said in an interview. “It’s reflective of the uncertainty thats around the elections.”

Delta Corp. the biggest Zimbabwean company by market value, fell 20 percent to $1.20, giving it a market value of $1.48 billion. The brewing company is 21 percent owned by SABMiller Plc (SAB), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Edgars Stores Zimbabwe Ltd., the local unit of a South African clothing retailer, fell 29 percent while Truworths Zimbabwe Ltd., another local unit of a South African clothing seller, fell 17 percent. Only two stocks on the 73-member index gained. It was the biggest decline since Nov. 2, 2009.

No Loans

The mining stocks index fell 2 percent.

Most banks in Zimbabwe have stopped making new loans because of concern about economic policy under the new government, two chief executive officers of lenders said, declining to be identified because they didn’t want to anger the government.

“People are watching Zimbabwe with their finger on the trigger,” said Francois Conradie, an analyst at NKC Independent Economists in Paarl, near Cape Town, said by phone. “The business environment is completely unpredictable. The government that is coming isn’t embarrassed with their indigenization drive.”

via Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Plunges 11% After Mugabe Victory | The Zimbabwean.


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Why Robert Mugabe scored a landslide victory in Zimbabwean elections

Blessing-Miles Tendi in Harare  theguardian.com, 

Supporters of Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and Zanu-PF hold a coffin as they act out a fake funeral for Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party. Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images
There is a phenomenon in African politics called the preponderance of incumbency. Simply put, it maintains that it is difficult to defeat an incumbent president in an election because they control the state institutions, which they can use to retain power. Consequently, only in Zambia, where presidents Kenneth Kaunda and Rupiah Banda lost in the 1991 and 2011 respectively, is there an established record of incumbents losing to an opposition challenger.
Supporters of Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and Zanu-PF hold a coffin as they act out a fake funeral for Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party.
Supporters of Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and Zanu-PF hold a coffin as they act out a fake funeral for Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party. Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

Many analysts have blamed this for Robert Mugabe's latest victory in Zimbabwe's presidential election, and his Zanu-PF party securing a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's main challenger and the outgoing prime minister, has described the result "null and void". Tsvangirai maintains that his crushing election defeat was the result of rigging by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the registrar general's office, which manages the voters roll.

Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party went into a power-sharing government in 2009 hoping to reform various institutional reforms so as to nullify this preponderance of incumbency in Zimbabwe. Mugabe's party certainly obstructed and subverted the implementation of such reforms – anything other than this would have been political suicide.

But to say that the preponderance of incumbency continued in the latest election entirely because of Zanu-PF's obstruction and subversion of reforms would be incomplete. All opinion polls on the likely outcome of the 2013 election demonstrated a rise in Zanu-PF support while that of the MDC-T was shown to be declining.

Tsvangirai's party lost sight of the need for rapid and comprehensive institutional reforms in the early years of power-sharing. It expended most of its energies in fighting for appointments to the ministry of agriculture, attorney general, the central and provincial governors. By the time it refocused on institutional reforms, the period to elections had shortened significantly. There was little time, energy and external goodwill left for the MDC-T to pursue what should have been its main pursuits from the beginning.

However, the MDC-T from early on sought to reform one particular institution: the military, which it saw as having blocked its ascent to power in the 2008 election. According to Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe underwent a "de facto coup d'état" in 2008 and was now run by "a military junta", making security sector reform necessary. But the MDC-T's pursuit of this reform was based on a misunderstanding of the military's relationship with Zanu-PF. The military does not and never has ruled Zimbabwe; the MDC-T has never presented evidence to the contrary, despite its passionate claims.

Mugabe wields effective control of the military because of his power as commander in chief. Zimbabwe's liberation history also shapes the relationships of civilian and military elites in a manner that maintains the former's control over the latter. The MDC-T's mistaken focus on the perceived lack of civilian authority over the military resulted in it needlessly haranguing and antagonising military generals with no real political power. The MDC-T's energies and years would have been better spent by trying to eclipse Zanu-PF's ideological appeal to the military and Mugabe's authority over the generals.

I followed the election contest closely throughout July and had unique access to some of the individuals involved in the campaigns. The Zanu-PF campaign was run by a network of party officials, youth and retired military officers who fought in Zimbabwe's liberation war. The party's commissariat department was an important nerve centre in its campaign and had as its principal directors the retired air vice-marshal Henry Muchena and the former director internal of the Zimbabwean intelligence service Sydney Nyanungo. On one of my visits to Nyanungo, I found him and Muchena making plans for a campaign rally by the vice-president, Joice Mujuru, in Binga. She was going to there to campaign on behalf of Mugabe.

Why did you guys retire to work for the party, what is in it for you, I asked. Nyanungo rolled up the sleeve on his left arm to reveal a deep scar and burn marks, and answered: "I operated the anti-aircraft equipment in the 1977 Rhodesian attack on our Chimoio camp during the liberation war. I almost died during that attack. I cannot allow this country to go to people [the MDC] who do not connect to that liberation legacy. That is why I came back to the party. I am not even paid to do this job. It is my duty."

There was a greater sense of unity, purpose and discipline in the Zanu-PF campaign than in the MDC-T one. For instance, 29 members of the MDC-T who were disgruntled with the manner the party's primaries were conducted defied the leadership and ran as independents. Only three disaffected Zanu-PF candidates did likewise. MDC-T divisions were particularly stark in Manicaland province, where imposition of parliamentary candidates by Tsvangirai resulted in a serious rift between him and the provincial executive. Manicaland – unlike in 2008 — voted for Zanu-PF this time.

A largely unstated factor so far in debates about how Zanu-PF won this election is that for the first time in years the MDC-T ran a less effective campaign because of financial constraints. As MDC-T insiders have revealed to me, the party's traditional western backers were not as forthcoming with financial support as they were in 2008. During the campaigns Tsvangirai publicly criticised the west for giving up on removing Mugabe from power in preference for eventual accommodation with the Zimbabwean president. The west has been unequivocal in its public condemnation of Zanu-PF's victory but in the coming weeks it must answer hard questions about why it abandoned the MDC-T financially prior the election.

Zimbabwe is largely calm and peaceful in the aftermath of the election. But debate about the result is continuing behind closed doors. I have been part of furious debates among Harare's middle-class intellectuals. A clear fissure has emerged between those who maintain that Mugabe's election win is entirely down to the preponderance of incumbency and those who argue that this does not tell the whole story. I'm one of this latter group, who take the view that a multiplicity of factors converged to ensure Mugabe's election win last week. The challenge in the coming days is for these intellectuals and indeed the MDC-T to produce hard evidence demonstrating that Zanu-PF's victory is explained by rigging alone.

Even in the MDC-T there is no consensus that rigging was to blame. Some of its senior party officials have quietly sent messages to Zanu-PF conceding defeat and making clear their public pronouncements to the contrary are a means of managing disillusioned supporters. Some of the leadership of the smaller MDC party, which broke away from Tsvangirai's group in 2005, have even broken ranks. Paul Temba Nyathi, for example, states: "I got a feeling that Gwanda North [my constituency] was unwinnable. People who used to come to our rallies and support us suddenly could not look me in the eye. They started vacillating. We had a free and fair contest, everyone was free to canvass and the vote was peaceful in Gwanda North. Hand on heart, I think Zanu-PF beat us fair and square. There is something that made people to fall in love with Zanu-PF again."

• Blessing-Miles Tendi teaches African politics in the University of Oxford's Department for International Development and is the author ofMaking History in Mugabe's Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media

via http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/05/robert-mugabe-zimbabwe-election-zanu-pf?