A few people have been asked about the
voting system and in particular whether one has to vote for a single party of
whether one can vote for different parties. We hope this
Each voter will be given 3 separate
ballot papers: one for the Presidential election, one for the Parliamentary
election and one for the Council election. They will be different colours
although we don't know what those colours will be at this
The Presidential ballot will only have
the Presidential candidates on it. Each voter must then vote for their choice of
President by marking a cross inside the box next to the candidate of their
choice. No other mark must be put anywhere on the ballot - if there are any
other marks then the ballot may be disregarded and treated as a spoilt ballot.
Some have asked for example whether they can tick the person they like and put a
cross against the name of the person they do not like. If they do that their
ballot will be disregarded - SO ONLY PUT ONE CROSS IN THE BOX NEXT TO THE NAME
OF YOUR PREFERRED CANDIDATE.
Once the Presidential ballot has been
marked each voter must then move on to mark the Parliamentary ballot. In most
constituencies there will be over 5 candidates - the names of all those standing
in that constituency. Each voter must once again put a single cross in the box
next to the name of their preferred candidate. No other marks must be put
anywhere on the ballot.
Some have asked whether a voter can vote
for a person from a different party from the Presidential candidate they have
voted for. For example people wonder whether they can vote for e.g. Morgan
Tsvangirai for President but for a person from another party (ie from a party
other than MDC T) for Parliament and/or Council. The answer is YES. You can vote
for a candidate from a different party for Parliament and for Council. So a
voter has 3 choices - for example he or she can vote for the MDC T President,
the ZANU PF MP candidate in that Constituency, and the MDC Council candidate in
that Ward. Of course a voter can also vote for the Presidential, Parliamentary
and Council candidates all from one party if he or she chooses. But the
important point is that each voter has three completely separate choices to make
and if they like one Parliamentary or Council candidate for example from another
party it is each voter's right to elect the individual.
In fact one could argue that it is
important for Zimbabweans to elect the best persons to all offices and they will
not necessarily all come from one party.
Once the Parliamentary and Presidential
ballot have been completed each voter must then complete the Council ballot in
the same way.
After completing the marking of all 3 of
the ballots each voter must then fold each of the 3 ballots separately and then
place them in the correct boxes for President, Parliament and Council
Tererai Karimakwenda SW Radio Africa 30 July 2013
political rivals made last ditch efforts to mobilize support in the last
couple of days, ahead of Wednesday’s crucial election.
Morgan Tsvangirai, and ZANU-PF’s Robert Mugabe, both held their final
rallies in Harare, a key constituency in this election which many believe
will determine the future of the country.
Although both rallies were
well-attended, they differed very much in tone and in some ways reflected
the drama that defined the uneasy coalition which the two leaders presided
over for the last five years.
The MDC-T rally had all the makings of a
major festival. Supporters took over the streets of the capital on Monday,
jamming traffic with convoys that brought loud singing and toy-toying on the
way to “Freedom Square”, an open space near the Rainbow Towers Hotel where
the rally took place.
Addressing supporters in a fiery red suit,
Tsvangirai focused on forgiveness and a desire to move forward, saying he
had been victimized but did not want to be consumed by this. He said that he
hoped Mugabe would retire peacefully and urged supporters to wish him good
Stressing that the electoral procedures had so far been chaotic,
Tsvangirai blasted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and urged them to
retire if they were incapable of organizing the poll.
“What is the
electoral environment and what is the role of ZEC? In the last couple of
weeks we have raised concern and sort information which we are supposed to
have in line with the law,” the MDC-T leader told supporters.
added: “It is clear that ZEC is either complicit or they have abdicated
their responsibility to other forces,” and that he had told SADC election
observers and other monitors “the credibility of this election lies “in the
behavior and in the conduct of ZEC”.
In contrast, Mugabe’s last rally on
Sunday is reported to have been less festive. The event took place at the
National Sports Stadium, where many people are reported to have been bused
in from around the country.
Mugabe repeated his familiar rant, threats
and anti-western rhetoric. The ageing leader also warned Tsvangirai that he
will be arrested if he announces poll results independently, before ZEC made
Speaking to a correspondent from ITV at the
rally, Mugabe insisted that the election was free and fair and no-one was
being forced “to vote one way or the other”. He denied there had been any
violence, saying “we are a peaceful people”.
Showing the more
charismatic side he sometimes reveals, Mugabe joked that he would “suffer
heart failure” if the results went against him in Harare.
on the ground have reportedly witnessed some of the pre-election abuses
perpetrated by ZANU-PF and its supporting institutions. But Zimbabweans no
longer believe the regional grouping has their best interests at
This will be the third time that Mugabe and Tsvangirai square off
at the polls. It is widely accepted both elections, in 2002 and 2008, were
“stolen” by Mugabe.
“I’ve got a very clear message for him today.
Don’t dare do it again,” Tsvangirai told supporters at his final
It is now up to us Zimbabweans, who have endured 33 years of the
same oppressive regime, to decide the future of our own country and hold
accountable those we choose to represent us.
Incidents of intimidation and
threats of violence against supporters of the MDC-T have continued to grow
ahead of Wednesday’s election, with ZANU PF members and supporters said to
be responsible for the threats.
The most recent incident involved a
Retired Brigadier-General Livingstone Chineka who reportedly threatened
post-election ‘war’ if ZANU PF loses the elections on Wednesday. According
to a report by the NewsDay newspaper, Chineka said on Monday that former
liberation war fighters would take up arms against the MDC-T if it
Addressing hundreds of villagers who were reportedly force-marched
to Charumbira shopping centre, Chineka told the “visibly frightened
villagers” that the former fighters were “never too old” to dislodge MDC-T
leader Morgan Tsvangirai from power if he beats Robert Mugabe.
went to war at the tender age of 16. I did not enjoy my adolescence period.
Do you think I enjoyed it? We had no food, no healthcare, it was all
problems,” Chineka said.
SW Radio Africa was then told on Tuesday
about an incident involving what were thought to be MDC-T supporters wearing
party t-shirts, who had asked a Zim family for help to transport their
workers to the polling stations on Wednesday.
“Once they had got
their good will they took off their MDC shirts and had ZANU shirts and said
they were CIO and became very intimidating that the workers must all vote at
the local polling station so that they would know if there were any MDC
votes,” a source said.
The Heal Zimbabwe Trust meanwhile has also listed
a growing number of reports of intimidation and threats across the country,
ahead of the poll. This includes an incident in Buhera West, Ward 14 on
Saturday, when Deputy Police Commissioner Oliver Mandipaka (who is also the
ZANU PF aspiring candidate for Buhera West) forced villagers to attend his
rally at Marume Primary School. During his address, Mandipaka said is a
current recruitment and training process of police and soldiers who will
beat up people if MDC- T wins the election.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust also
reported that in Mudzi North, Ward 9 on Sunday, a group of ZANU PF activists
led by John Karonga forced people to attend a meeting where 48 MDC-T
activists were each ‘assigned’ a ZANU PF supporter who is supposed to
‘assist’ them while they vote on Wednesday.
Another incident reported on
Sunday was in Hurungwe North, where a group of soldiers threatened to kill
an MDC-T activist identified as Passmore Mugera. This was after they had
seen him putting up MDC-T posters. At the same time in Gokwe a ZEC election
official identified as Auxilia Nyamusoko was reportedly threatened by a
group of ZANU PF youth who said that if she allows MDC-T activists to vote,
they will beat her after the election.
Meanwhile, the ZBC reported
Tuesday that heavily armed riot police were being deployed in potential
election ‘flashpoints’ ahead of Wednesday’s poll. ZBC radio said thousands
of officers had been sent to the central Midlands province, while trucks of
police carrying automatic rifles and grenade launchers patrolled in the
Harare townships of Highfield and Mbare.
With just a few hours to go until Zimbabwe’s
crucial elections, civil society organisations and other watchdog groups
have all said that the possibility of a free and fair poll is
Polling stations open on Wednesday morning amid serious concern
that once again, Zimbabwe is facing a disputed election outcome. Reports of
suspected vote rigging are increasing, along with incidents of politically
motivated intimidation that have seen MDC-T supporters being targeted by
ZANU PF supporters and members.
Civil society groups have also been
warning that the credibility of the polls is in doubt, for a number of
reasons. The latest warning has come from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), which said in a pre-election report released on Tuesday that
it has noted “continued incidences of intimidation and politically-motivated
“What has been of more concern in the pre-election period is
the nuanced, strategic and malevolently intentional targeting of political
activists and human rights defenders in efforts to undermine and disrupt
their activities. As such, ZLHR has recorded increased instances in which
mobilisers, educators, human rights monitors and those providing critical
legal and psychosocial support services have been intentionally sought out
for intimidation, harassment and attack,” the ZLHR said.
listed a number of other serious issues, including the ‘disgraceful’ role of
the state media and the lack of reforms within key electoral commission. The
ZLHR also slammed the imposition of the election date as ‘destabilising’ and
“ZLHR is of the considered view that the imposition of the
31 July 2013 election date by way of presidential decree usurped the role
and function of Parliament and the investment made by the region and
continent in the GPA. It destabilised the Inclusive Government and could
easily have had the effect of destroying the considerable efforts made to
ensure continued peace in the country on its way to fresh elections,” the
Another warning about the Wednesday’s poll came on Tuesday
from the research and advocacy group, Good Governance Africa, which said in
a statement that the elections “will be neither free nor fair.” The group
cited “deplorable conditions for free and fair voting,” a “rigged voters
roll,” and the fact that some credible observers have been denied access to
the polls Wednesday.
“Zimbabweans have been denied the change that they
have demanded before, and it would be indefensible to allow democracy to be
circumvented again,” the group said
A Zimbabwean coalition on civil
society groups on Monday also warned that the chances of a free and fair
poll are remote. According to the Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism
(CISOMM), which released its pre-election report on Monday, Zimbabwe could
be facing real danger in this election period.
“Despite some legal
reforms and procedural adjustments, the realities of our history, including
significant factors such as the attitudes of the incumbents and their
well-documented subversion of State power and resources to service their
partisan interests, coupled with the shockingly limited access of people to
a diversity of opinion, lead to a conclusion that the immediate future may
be fraught with danger for the Zimbabwean people,” CISOMM said.
warning coincided with a report released by the International Crisis Group
which on Monday warned that the country could face extensive violence and a
return to a ‘protracted political crisis’. These warnings were contained in
the Group’s latest report on the elections titled: ‘Mugabe’s last stand’. It
said the country is ‘inadequately prepared’ for the polls on Wednesday and
the conditions for a free and fair poll do not exist.
“Confidence in the
process and institutions is low. The voters roll is a shambles, security
forces unreformed and the media grossly imbalanced. The electoral commission
is under-funded and lacked time to prepare. Concerns about rigging are
pervasive, strongly disputed results highly likely,” the report states.
Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe, vowed Tuesday to step down if he lost the
fiercely-contested election, as his rivals charged they had concrete
evidence of vote rigging.
"If you lose you must surrender," the
89-year-old firebrand said at a rare press conference in Harare on the eve
of Wednesday's presidential and parliamentary vote.
Mugabe, through a
series of violent and suspect elections, has ruled Zimbabwe for 33 years
uninterrupted since it gained independence from Britain.
denied any attempts to rig the election, declaring: "We have done no
He faces a major challenge from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, his reluctant partner in an uneasy power-sharing government
forged after the last bloody polls in 2008.
Although tainted by sex
scandals and allegations of party corruption, Tsvangirai has rallied tens of
thousands of supporters on to the streets ahead of the vote.
Mugabe's foes fear the wily old crocodile of Zimbabwean politics will seek
to win what is likely his final election by hook or crook.
the military -- which remains squarely behind the independence hero -- would
recognise a Tsvangirai victory.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change on Tuesday handed what they claimed was documentary evidence of plans
to rig the election to observers from the Southern African Development
The dossier, which was seen but not verified by AFP,
listed around 125 duplicate or questionable voters gleaned from a first
examination of the electoral roll.
The MDC said it had received a
copy of the roll less than 24 hours before polling stations open, and only
in printed -- non-searchable -- form.
"It is very clear to us there are
shenanigans to try and rig this election, to try and interfere with the
outcome of this election and to subvert the will of the people of this
country," junior minister Jameson Timba told AFP.
"We have seen a lot of
duplicate names in the roll where you see somebody is registered twice, same
date of birth, same physical address but with a slight difference in their
ID number," Timba said, adding this had occurred across various
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials were not
available to respond to the allegations.
However, an SADC observer,
who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak
to the press, said the MDC dossier raised serious questions.
not normal. If the roll had been released two weeks ago, these kind of
problems would have been fixed."
Among sceptics, the dossier will
only serve to confirm long-standing suspicions that the chaotic state of the
voters' roll could be used to mask any low turnout by Mugabe's
In June, the Research and Advocacy Unit, a non-government
group, reported that the roll included one million dead voters or people who
have emigrated, as well as over 100,000 people aged over 100 years
Around 6.4 million people are eligible vote in Wednesday's first
round and results are expected within five days.
polls are rare, but according to one survey by the US-based Williams firm in
March-April, Mugabe could be in for a rough ride.
Out of a survey of 800
Zimbabweans, 61 percent said they had a favourable view the MDC compared to
27 percent for Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
The poll showed Tsvangirai leading in
seven out of 10 provinces and that only 34 percent of those who voted for
Mugabe in 2008 back him for president this time around.
from an economic crisis that saw mass unemployment and some of the highest
rates of inflation ever recorded, Mugabe loyalists insist their hero is
"tried and tested".
"We have won already. It's a walkover," said ZANU-PF
supporter Jestara Mziwanda.
At a final campaign rally Sunday, Mugabe
promised further indigenisation of white and foreign-owned assets.
has also painted his rival as a foreign stooge and warned Zimbabweans
against change, citing the fallout after uprisings in Egypt and
"See what is happening in Egypt. They were fooled and advised to
remove their leaders."
On Monday, Tsvangirai drew a vast crowd who
directed a chant of "game over" at Mugabe.
He has promised to create
one million jobs and has used Mugabe's advanced age as campaign fodder,
saying: "How can you let an old man push a plough when there are young
"I want Mugabe to enjoy his retirement in peace and
quiet," hinting that Mugabe may be granted immunity if he relinquishes
But with the backing of state media, the military and control of
most other levers of power, Mugabe remains odds-on favourite.
expect a Mugabe victory, because 'ZANU doesn't lose elections'," said the
International Crisis Group.
"Conditions for a free and fair vote do not
exist," it said. "A return to protracted political crisis, and possibly
extensive violence, is likely."
President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe’s generals will not
interfere with the smooth transfer of power, should he lose Wednesday’s
Speaking to journalists at a rare press briefing at the
state house on Tuesday, Mugabe said his generals were disciplined and
law-abiding persons, who would follow the rule of law.
service chiefs, among them Zimbabwe defence force Commander Constantine
Chiwenga, commissioner general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Augustine
Chihuri and Major Generals Trust Mugoba, Douglas Nyikayaramba and Martin
Chedondo have recently declared their loyalty to Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
to know more about the Zim elections? Zimbabwe's elections explained Some of
the service chiefs have vowed not to "accept or salute" any leader without
“You are putting it as if all the generals said so [they
would not accept a person without liberation credentials]. It’s just one or
two and they are not the army. They are law-abiding people, very law abiding
and it's military discipline they obey,” said Mugabe, in response to a
question on whether the generals would interfere with the transfer of power
if he lost the election.
Mugabe denied military generals were forcing
him to stay in power and said such statements were being spread by his
rivals as part of the "political game".
Post-election war On
Monday, retired brigadier general Livingstone Chineka threatened
post-election war if Zanu-PF lost the election, saying voting for anyone
other than Mugabe was the same as recolonising the country.
to war at the tender age of 16. I did not enjoy my adolescence period. Do
you think I enjoyed it? We had no food, no healthcare, it was all problems,”
"Then you want to give the country back to the whites? No.
The revolution is still on, the war continues. I may be old, but I know how
to use a gun, I can load it and dismantle it. Even if I am old, I still know
how to handle it, all those coming on my way will be gone,” he said, while
chanting Zanu-PF slogans in between.
Mugabe said he was confident of
a victory but would accept a loss.
"That’s a normal thing. If you go into
a process and join in a competition where there are only two outcomes, a win
or a loss, you can’t revolt. You either win or lose. If you lose you must
surrender to those who win … We will play by the rules," he said.
2008, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission withheld presidential election
results for a month, amid allegations that they were doctoring numbers. When
the results were finally released, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was said
to have outpolled Mugabe by 48% to 43%. Tsvangirai however needed 50% plus
one vote to be sworn in as president.
The army then took over the
Zanu-PF campaign and unleashed violence during the presidential election
run-off, forcing Tsvangirai to pull out of the race.
government Mugabe said he had worked well with his rival in the inclusive
government and hinted there could be a possibility of another unity
“Well, that circumstance is not envisaged … I think we will
have an outright winner, if not we can discuss. It will depend on what we
get from the voters, what the voters want us to do, we will do," he
The election is expected to be a close race between Tsvangirai’s
MDC-T and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF.
Preparations for the polls have been
marred by allegations of vote rigging. Mugabe’s rivals say with a day to go
before polls, they have yet to access the voters' roll. There have also been
allegations that the voters' roll was manipulated with the help of a shadowy
Israeli company Nikuv, but Mugabe denied any knowledge of
If re-elected, Mugabe said he would carry on with the
indigenisation programme and also look at ways of bringing back the
Zimbabwean dollar in the long term.
Mugabe said he wanted good
relations with Britain and said relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa
were sound, despite him publicly ridiculing President Jacob Zuma’s
international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu.
Zanu (PF) spin doctor Jonathan Moyo who appears to
have accepted the possibility of his party being defeated by MDC-T, last
night declared that President Robert Mugabe will not give up power even if
he loses in tomorrow’s crunch elections.
The former Information
and Publicity minister who is an integral part of a Zanu (PF) faction that
includes the military junta, made the declaration while concluding an
uninterrupted 45 minute long address on national television, ZBCtv, last
“If you do not vote wisely, the baton will not be passed. The
baton is with Mugabe,” said Moyo.
Moyo’s statements were complimented
by a similar vow made on the same television station by War Veterans leader
Jabulani Sibanda that the ex-fighters “will not accept or endorse a person
who does not have a history for the struggle to become the country’s
With only a day left for Zimbabwe to go through the national
election process, the two’s statements are bound to bring about memories of
kidnappings and murders during the 2008 election period. Mugabe lost in
those harmonised elections to MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai but the military
junta under the Joint Operations Command, immediately launched a bloody
violent campaign in support of Mugabe which saw Tsvangirai pulling out of
During his lengthy address on ZBCtv last night, Moyo said
in the post-election era, Zanu (PF) intends to tighten the controversial
indigenisation drive so that “we unlock the real economic value of
“Foreign companies in the country have an asset value of
$ 14.3 billion. If we could be strict and enforce the 51/49 percent
shareholding policy, it means we will realise $ 7 billion. That money is
enough to boost the economy,” he said.
Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s polling officer Morgan Komichi will not be able to vote
Wednesday, after he was denied bail in a case in which he exposed
irregularities in the way the Electoral Commission handled the Special
Komichi’s lawyers applied for bail Monday but in her ruling
Tuesday, Harare Magistrate Anita Tshuma dismissed the application, arguing
that police needed time to complete their investigations.
will remain in custody until his next court appearance on August 14th,
unless his lawyers decide to appeal the decision at the High
Defence lawyer Tarisai Mutangi told SW Radio Africa that the
magistrate based her ruling on the State’s case that Komichi would interfere
“The magistrate ruled that the matter of was of great
public interest as we are on the verge of an important election. She added
that since Komichi’s so-called accomplices were still at large, he was
likely to interfere with police investigations if released,” Mutangi
Mutangi said his team will be meeting to decide on the way forward
in light of the ruling, which he said violated Komichi’s rights.
law clearly states that anyone who appears in court facing criminal charges
is entitled to immediate bail unless the State can prove that the ends of
justice will not be met if that person is granted bail.
“The State failed
to provide any evidence to support their argument that Komichi would either
abscond or interfere with witnesses or commit a similar offence.
will be discussing our options including an appeal. We feel that this is a
great inconvenience not only to Komichi but also to the MDC-T party whose
key officer has been taken out of the elections context in very dubious
Despite the bail setback, Mutangi said Komichi was
taking his incarceration “in his stride, buoyed by support from his family
and colleagues in the MDC-T.”
Komichi, who is also the MDC-T deputy
minister of transport, is accused of fraudulently acquiring and tampering
with an envelope containing ballot papers.
His party says Komichi
responded to an anonymous tip-off that some ballots had been retrieved from
a dustbin located at the Harare International Conference Centre, which was
being used as a Special Vote processing centre.
Komichi then passed the
ballots on to ZEC, which admitted that the papers were authentic. However on
Sunday ZEC complained to the police about the credibility of Komichi’s
version of how he got the ballots, leading to the arrest.
MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said it was not possible for Komichi to
reveal details of the anonymous source. The police have already said “as
long as he refuses to disclose the identity of this person, he becomes the
Both the MDC-T and the defence team say the arrest is a
classic case of “shooting the messenger”, and is meant to deflect attention
from the gross electoral irregularities that Komichi exposed.
ought to be the complainant in this matter and ZEC must be the one in the
dock explaining how crucial voting material was found in a dustbin outside
of their Command Centre,” defence lawyer Makoni told the court
His sentiments were echoed by both Mwonzora and MDC-T
national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa.
The stage is set for a battle as the country gears
up for Wednesday’s historic elections between ZANU PF’s long time ruler
Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
The harmonized elections will be the first to be held under the
new constitutional dispensation, that limits the President’s time in office
to two terms of five years.
On Tuesday, Mugabe told a live televised
press conference that he will accept defeat and stand down if he loses the
‘If you lose you must serrender to those who would have won. We
will do so to comply with the rules. If you go into the process where there
are only two outcomes, you either win or lose,’ he said.
to be seen if he will abide by this statement.
Apart from voting in a new
president and members of parliament Zimbabweans, hoping for change, will go
to the polls to elect senators and councillors.
But preparations for what
promises to be the toughest presidential race in the country’s history have
been blighted by what has been described as the gross incompetence of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, (ZEC).
The electoral body, described as a
toothless dog by the MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora, is yet to provide the
political parties with an electronic copies of the voters roll, so that they
can audit it.
Mwonzora said ZEC’s bungling of the electoral process has
escalated to unprecedented levels. He said their sources had also informed
them that before announcing the results, ZEC will first brief the country’s
Joint Operations Command (JOC), made up of military commanders fiercely
loyal to Mugabe.
He claimed the party has discovered that ZEC wants
to slow down the voting process in urban centers, particularly in Harare, by
reducing the number of voting areas in each polling station. The number of
polling stations in Harare have also been reduced.
‘We are told that some of the polling officers will deliberately embark on a
go slow just as they did during the voter registration exercise. This will
definitely disenfranchise millions of voters.”
In rural areas there
are reports ZANU PF is forcing traditional leaders to hold meetings with
villagers, instructing them to vote for the party.
In Masvingo, retired
Brigadier-General Livingstone Chineka on Monday threatened post-election war
if ZANU PF loses in the harmonised polls.
The Newsday newspaper reported
that Chineka said former liberation war fighters would take up arms against
the MDC-T if it wins.
In an address at Charumbira shopping centre,
Chineka told the visibly frightened villagers that the former fighters were
“never too old” to dislodge MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai from power if he
beats arch-rival President Robert Mugabe.
Tendai Biti the
secretary-general of the MDC-T has also blasted ZEC for not providing a full
list of polling centres.
SADC’s chief observer to Zimbabwe, Bernard
Membe, said they were gravely concerned that a voters’ roll has not been
released before the elections.
He said this is despite the fact that it
is the most important document for the poll. In a damning assessment of ZEC
blunders Membe, who is Tanzania’s foreign minister, said the voters roll was
not a ‘top secret’ document and its release was overdue.
‘It has to
be made available for the people to see; for the people to verify their
names; for the people to know where they’re going to vote,’ Membe
Itai Dzamara, a journalist and political analyst, told SW
Radio Africa’s Election Watch program on Tuesday that the way ZANU PF
planned to rig was to delete names of voters who reside mainly in MDC-T
strongholds, mostly urban areas. There is speculation that the
registrar-general’s office, which compiled the roll, is working with Nikuv,
an Israeli company with offices in Harare, to manipulate the register, but
so far there is no proof of this.
No proper explanation has been given as
to why ZEC printed 8.7 million ballots for 6.4 million voters on the roll.
There were also attempts by some officials within the ZEC secretariat to
change the procedure for the counting of votes.
The electoral law
requires that votes be counted and results tabulated at each polling
station, but there were attempts to change this and transport the ballots to
be counted at ward level.
The move would have created opportunities to
tamper with the ballot boxes. ZEC has since stated that votes will be
counted at polling stations.
But sources within the MDC-T told us they
are confident Tsvangirai will get more than 1.5 million votes, making it
extremely difficult for ZANU PF to stuff the ballots and outpoll him.
An MDC-T official says
the party is concerned about the electoral context as the Zimbabweans go to
the ballot Wednesday.
Addressing the press Tuesday, MDC-T spokesman
Douglas Mwonzora said that the thousands of people who attended the party’s
‘Cross-Over Rally’ Monday were testimony that the MDC-T was headed for
However, he said the party was aware that ZANU PF was putting in
place mechanisms through which they intend to steal the
Mwonzora said information gathered by the MDC-T indicated that
elections results will be handed over to military chiefs, who operate as the
Joint Operations Command (JOC), before they are announced.
we have gathered, the results would be handed over to JOC first before they
are announced. We will obviously resist this as it is not their mandate to
do so,” Mwonzora said.
Mwonzora also raised concern at what he said was
the involvement of intelligence operatives in selecting polling
The JOC is blamed for President Robert Mugabe’s continued
stranglehold on power, after allegedly manipulating the result of the 2008
presidential elections, which was won by Morgan Tsvangirai.
that disputed poll and the subsequent three-party unity government, there
have been calls for real security sector reforms, which have been resisted
by ZANU PF.
Going into the election tomorrow, military chiefs have
repeatedly said that they will not salute anyone without war credentials, a
veiled threat that they will not let anyone other than Mugabe to come into
Discredited war vets leader Jabulani Sibanda has also been going
around the country threatening villagers and announcing that his group will
not “accept anyone without national values”.
In what observers say is
an indirect indication that the ZANU PF regime will do ‘a 2008’, politburo
member Jonathan Moyo told the state broadcaster ZTV that only a Mugabe
victory will be recognised.
Speaking on Monday, Moyo is quoted telling
the nation that: “If you don’t vote wisely, the baton will not be passed.
President Mugabe has the final say in it all.”
In response, Mwonzora
said this was a malicious attempt at intimidating Zimbabweans from
exercising their democratic right to choose their own leaders.
object strongly to these utterances, coming on the eve of the election.
Jonathan Moyo’s posturing is not only primitive but downright archaic and
undemocratic,” he added.
Mwonzora urged Zimbabweans to disregard the
threats and ensure a crashing defeat for ZANU PF by turning out in large
numbers to vote for the MDC-T Wednesday.
The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum issued a statement Tuesday to say
that three of their regional observers were detained for 6 hours last night,
denied access to Zimbabwe, and deported back to South Africa.
Forum said that through the offices of the Action Support Centre they had
planned to support a regional group of election observers with delegates
drawn from Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Lesotho,
Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.
happened despite having obtained the necessary accreditation from the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Immigration officials said that the three
observers needed a specific letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
giving them permission. The rest of the team were given entry, without this
formality being requested.
The observers intention was to visit areas
that have a history of pre-election violence and intimidation and where
concern has been raised, ahead of these elections, that intimidation is once
again being used.
The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum said they were ‘gravely
concerned that even those observers from within the region, who have no
agenda other than to provide support to their civil soiciety counterparts,
and to produce an impartial account of the election process and the
announcement of the results, have been denied access.’
Zimbabwean Government has nothing to hide, and is confident that these
elections are going to provide Zimbabweans with an opportunity to freely
express their political will then there should be no concerns regarding the
intention of civil society to monitor these election processes.’
Forum went on to call on SADC and the African Union to uphold the principles
enshrined in the SADC guidelines on elections and said they plan to embark
on a program of mass action in support of the desire of Zimbabweans for a
free and fair election, and against any violence and displacement.
Three journalist associated
with the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) were
arrested for allegedly violating the Broadcasting Services Act and the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Maseko (Reporter), Paul Gundani and Howard Masaninga (Board Members) from
Radio Kwelaz, an affiliate of ZACRAS, were arrested and taken in for
questioning by police concerning the operations of their radio
Maseko was arrested while doing recordings with people about the
election, while Gundani and Masaninga were summoned by officers from the law
and order section, who demanded the registration documents of the company.
Gundani and Masaninga were released after signing a recorded
On Tuesday Maseko was granted $100 bail but faces charges of
contravening AIPPA, while Gundani and Masaninga were also granted $100 bail
each and will face charges of contravening the Broadcasting Services
Maseko face up to six months in prison if convicted, while Gundani
and Masaninga face 3 months each.
ZACRAS has condemned the arrests
and called on the government to stop the persecution of journalists.
XOLISANI NCUBE, WENDY MUPERI AND BRIDGET
MANANAVIRE • 30 JULY 2013 8:17AM
HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(Zec) is yet to remove police officers who voted during the special vote on
July 14 and 15.
This emerged after observers asked Zec officials at a
press briefing yesterday when names of police officers and Zec officials who
participated in the two-day special vote will be deleted.
response, Zec commissioner, Theophelous Gambe said the commission has since
dispatched the voter register to polling stations for those who voted in the
chaotic special vote in a bid to avoid double voting come July 31.
have already dispatched the register to all polling stations,” he
The commission also admitted to duplicating ballot
Zec chairperson Rita Makarau said the ballots had been duplicated
“Yes we used the same serial numbers we used in the
special votes, the serialisation was done by our printers, but we want to
assure you that those ballots will not be used in the harmonised election,”
“I want to tell you that our printing was done by two main
printers, presidential, Fidelity, National Assembly done by Fidelity while
local authority was done by Printflow. During the printing, it emerged that
Printflow had challenges in numbering ballots, thus they subcontracted
police printers, but only the numbering was done by police printers,” she
Zec said they printed 35 percent more ballot papers than needed
to cover for mistakes and that “each and every ballot will be accounted
for.” A total of 8.7 million ballots were printed against 6.4 million
“35 percent is a large number, but it’s our duty to account for
each and every ballot, all 8,7 million ballots will be accounted for, that
is what will make for a fair election,” Makarau said.
however, shielded the registrar general Tobaiwa Mudede from answering
questions over the unavailability of the voters’ roll.
Meanwhile, the MDC
has alleged that voter registration is still surreptitiously
MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a news conference at
Harvest House that one of the reasons why the Zec was not availing the final
voters’ roll was because voter registration was still underway.
have people who are prepared to swear on affidavits to the effect that voter
registration is still taking place in some areas,” Biti said.
to Zec on Friday and brought to their attention the on-going voter
registration exercise at places like Manresa, Harare East and Mash West and
so on. We have not received any response from Zec.”
HARARE - Head of the African Union (AU) observer mission
Olusegun Obasanjo said yesterday his mission will be constantly alerting the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on electoral irregularities to ensure
Zimbabwe has a credible, free and fair election on July 31.
address to journalists after meeting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in
Harare yesterday, the former Nigerian President said the AU will not only
observe elections but constantly interact with the electoral
Tsvangirai has alleged the election is being
“We can be in our own little way faithful transmitters to that
which needs to be transmitted to make sure that we have a free fair and
credible election which actually reflect the will of the people of
Zimbabwe,” Obasanjo said.
“And yesterday when we met the electoral
commission, we did mention to them that as we go along, they may be need for
us to pass information along because we are here not to conduct an election,
we are here to observe the election but if we find something or if something
is brought to our attention that need to be passed to them, how do we pass
it to them and they gave us a contact which we can reach to them, and we are
already making use of that,” he said.
Tsvangirai’s MDC challenged Zec
to prove to political parties that the electoral body is independent and
impartial by hastily rectifying irregularities the party had noted to the
commission including duplication of ballot papers, withholding of the
voter’s roll and the proposed counting of ballot papers away from polling
The AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a
report despite the glitches faced during voter registration and the special
vote, the AU was confident that Zec will on July 31 successfully run the
Obasanjo said the 80-member observer team is yet to
meet other stakeholders and other observers to get a diverse
“We have met Zec, civil society organisations, we have met some of
the ambassadors particularly some of the African ambassadors, we are going
to meet other observer teams and we are hoping for the best,” Obasanjo
“Whoever we meet, we try to find out what are the areas that need
to be corrected.”
THELMA CHIKWANHA, POLITICAL EDITOR • 30 JULY 2013
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC said yesterday
they had unearthed a plot to stuff ballot boxes in nine constituencies in
Mashonaland, the Daily News has learnt.
MDC secretary-general Tendai
Biti said his party had received reports from reliable sources within the
intelligence about the well-knit plot that he said will be executed in
Mutoko South, Uzumba, Maramba Pfungwe, Mudzi North, Zvimba West, Mhangura,
Hurungwe East, Hurungwe North and Mount Darwin constituencies.
interview with the Daily News, Biti said the reports vindicated MDC fears
concerning vote rigging. “We have been constantly saying these people can
only cheat and right now they are trying to brew the mother-of-all electoral
rigging to avoid the mother-of-all electoral defeats,” Biti said.
have received these reports of the grand stuffing which will allow grand
stuffing of already cast ballot papers. Fortunately, we are alerting
observers and we are also strengthening our internal monitoring
Zec has repeatedly denied charges it was plotting to rig the
According to a local research organisation, 63 constituencies
had registered more voters than inhabitants at the close of voter
registration, while 41 constituencies deviated from the average number of
voters per constituency by more than the permissible 20 percent.
MDC and highly-placed sources within Zanu PF told the Daily News the plan
involved planting ballot papers in four constituencies in Mashonaland East,
West and one constituency in Mashonaland Central.
The plan is said to
have been hatched after an opinion poll reportedly commissioned by Zanu PF,
according to our source, revealed that 61-year-old Tsvangirai was tipped to
poll 65 percent of the vote, with his arch rival polling only 25
A plan was then hatched to counter the devastating results, said
our deep throat source.
“Extra ballots have been printed and will be
duplicated and these will be sent to the constituencies,” the source, who
spoke on condition of anonymity citing security reasons, said.
source added: “There is going to be violence which will be the tactic used
to scare away polling agents from the polling stations. This mishap will
last for about half an hour and after that, the police will intervene, but
that will give enough time to tamper with the ballots.”
The plan will be
executed when polling stations are opening and will be carried out
simultaneously at different times, our source said.
traditionally Zanu PF strongholds where the revolutionary party recorded a
high number of votes in the last election.
BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF’s desperate efforts
to buy votes has gone over the edge as the party is handing out teapots and
Chinese torches in a bid to charm the support of the impoverished Gwanda
As the nation hurtles towards the elections, the former ruling
party is leaving no stone unturned and uses anything it can to gain support
of the disaffected Zimbabweans.
“Zanu PF enjoys the poverty in
Gwanda,” MDC aspiring candidate for Gwanda South Ekem Moyo told the Daily
“The party gives people small things instead of developing them.
People are getting teapots and torches so that they vote for the
Last week, First Lady Grace Mugabe promised food hand-outs to
villagers in Gwanda which governor Angeline Masuku confirmed to have
received at a party rally in Bulawayo on Saturday.
there has been poor rainfall and the people of this province have nothing in
their granaries. So I have brought food for you and I pledge to provide
regularly so that you do not starve,” Grace said.
On Saturday, Grace also
promised food hand-outs for Bulawayo residents gathered at White City
Stadium, a desperate move to exorcise the demon of rejection for the past
Masuku said the region which is prone to perennial drought had
received 10 tonnes of mealie meal, 10 tonnes of sugar beans, two tons of
salt and 5 040 litres of cooking oil.
Moyo said Zanu PF is taking
advantage of poverty in Gwanda.
“Those people live on promises all the
time. Nothing has happened,” Moyo said adding that it was a carrot and stick
approach because people of Gwanda do not support Zanu PF.
He said his
constituency requires real development which could only be done by his
Historically, Matabeleland is well known for rejecting Zanu PF,
hence the party is making frantic efforts to get votes.People receive
kitchenware donated to them by Zanu PF.
WASHINGTON — The Ncube-MDC formation alleges
that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is trying to rig Wednesday national
elections in favour of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party.
party says the city of Bulawayo has received ballot papers that are three
times more than the number of registered voters.
MDC spokesman Nhlanhla
Dube told VOA at least 900,000 ballot papers had been sent by ZEC to
Bulawayo which has slightly over 300,000 registered voters, sparking fears
of a plot to steal the vote.
ZEC officials were not immediately available
for comment. Dube said the ballot papers were discovered when all political
parties were tallying the numbers sent into their area by ZEC.
says his party is closely monitoring the movement of the ballot boxes to
counter any possible rigging.
“It is curious though that ZEC printed
duplicate ballot papers in addition to the ones which have been verified by
the election agents of political parties," said Dube. "Needless to say that
we have rejected these duplicates and we demanded that they be destroyed
Meanwhile, Morgen Komichi, the chief election agent for
MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been remanded in custody after the
State refused him bail on charges that he opened a ballot paper used during
the special vote for members of the uniformed forces early this
Komichi is also the MDC deputy national chairperson and deputy
The ballot paper was found dumped in a dustbin at
the Harare International Conference Centre weeks after the special vote by
civil servants who will be on duty Wednesday. The case was to
"What the MDC finds puzzling is that Honourable Komichi was
arrested when he is the one who made a complaint to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission on how the ballot paper had found its way into the dustbin," the
MDC-T says in a statement.
HARARE - Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and African
Union (AU) diplomatic intervention will be required to manage the fragile
and potentially explosive aftermath of the July 31 vote, an influential
think tank warned yesterday.
The International Crisis Group (ICG)
said as the country heads to the polls on Wednesday, the conditions in
Zimbabwe — the polarisation, the skewed balance of power and the apparent
determination of those with power not to give it up — mean that the
elections are unlikely to prove a satisfactory mechanism for determining who
“Depending on the specific nature of shortcomings at the
polls or with regard to the results and their domestic acceptance, Sadc and
AU diplomatic intervention will almost certainly be required,” the
Brussels-based ICG said in a report released yesterday.
The ICG said
five years on from the violence and chaos that fundamentally flawed the 2008
elections, Zimbabwe’s main political actors President Mugabe’s Zanu PF and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, each retain substantial national
support and a claim =to exercise primary responsibility for the nation’s
However, they have made little if any genuine progress towards
the mutual trust or at least tolerance that might enable them to agree on a
solution to their political deadlock, including the necessary reforms of
law, the media and especially the security sector that should precede
recourse to the ballot box to decide their differences.
places a heavy burden on the two African inter-governmental organisations
that are the only outside entities with sufficient standing, self-interest
and on ground presence to have a chance of managing the fragile and
potentially explosive situation,” it said.
A summit of the 15-nation Sadc
in the Mozambican capital Maputo was unable to press for a delay of the vote
after the Constitutional Court upheld the date after Mugabe declared July 31
as election day, a date immediately rejected by Tsvangirai, his coalition
partner and his main political rival.
“They badly want both to uphold
basic democratic and rule-of-law standards and to welcome Zimbabwe back into
their fold,” it said.
“It is likely, however, that these elections will
be so deeply flawed or its results so sharply contested as to make those
goals incompatible by ushering in an exacerbated crisis rather than the
beginning of political stability.
“In either event, the region, the
continent and others like the EU that have indicated they will follow an
African lead will have to make difficult choices in August.
would be free of costs, but a renewed effort to uphold basic standards — by
candour, public and private diplomacy and perhaps even further sanctions —
would stand the best chance eventually to cure Zimbabwe’s dangerous
Averting a slide into brutality and repression or open conflict
is essential if Sadc is to fulfil its regional responsibilities, ICG said.
Though characteristically the immediate pre-election period has not
witnessed extensive violence, the prospect of violent push back,
particularly from frustrated youths, is increasing, especially if the
democratic process fails to deliver.
More likely, as in 2008 if the
vote goes against them, there will be violence from hard-line Zanu PF
elements and “securocrats”, who stand to lose most from a change in
ICG said Sadc gave Zanu PF the benefit of the doubt
in 2008 and has not developed visible deterrence to such tactics in
“Sanctions, suspension of membership or even expulsion are largely
untested options,” the ICG report says.
“Threats to employ them have
little credibility, given tepid responses to past violence and intimidation.
It is unclear whether, how and to what extent member states have supported
the Sadc facilitation team’s push for reforms by exerting bilateral pressure
via incentives and warnings.”
The think tank said the least likely
outcome was an uncontested victory by either MDC or Zanu PF.
and the AU take the low road with respect to a vote on July 31 that is
clearly deeply flawed — regardless of which political camp appears to ‘win’,
though realistically the Zanu PF side is more likely to be able to employ
and benefit from gross manipulation — their ability to maintain regional
stability as well as to promote democratisation and good governance will be
undermined,” it said.
The think tank said Sadc and AU should be prepared
to declare the results illegitimate and press for the elections to be run
again after a minimum of three months.
In this interim period, said
ICG, Sadc and the AU should continue to recognise the current GPA
power-sharing administration as the legitimate government.
elections are held after October 2013 — the constitutional deadline in view
of the end of June dissolution of the Parliament, or the parties prefer to
avoid elections for the time being, either an extension of the current
arrangement or negotiation of a reconfigured power-sharing deal — described
by some as ‘GPA 2’— would be required,” it said.
“If the government
refuses, Sadc and the AU should consider such options as non-recognition,
suspension of membership and targeted sanctions to enforce
“Sadc and the AU will also need to be strong and
pro-active — both threatening and using a similarly wide-range of diplomatic
tools and pressing for more extensive presence of their personnel in
specially vulnerable areas, including observers competent to keep watch on
the security services — if a surge in violence begins or appears imminent
either in immediate consequence of July 31 balloting or, as in 2008, in
process towards a presidential run-off.”
HARARE — The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday claimed that the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been relegated to mere spectators by
state security agents that the party says are now in charge of Wednesday’s
Addressing a news conference at his party’s
Harvest House headquarters, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the
electoral commission has already failed in its mandate to run the polls in a
With only a few hours before the elections, Mr. Mwonzora
said the prime minister was yet to get access to the voters roll.
announced Monday that the roll was now ready to be accessed through the
Registrar General’s Office. But the MDC-T says they are still to access the
voters’ register that critics say is littered with
Mwonzora also claimed that his party has received
information that inhabitants of Nketa and Nkulumane constituencies in
Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, would be required to cast their
ballots in both areas
He said this was being done deliberately to
disenfranchise people, especially those living in urban areas.
these and other irregularities, Mr. Mwonzora said it is now clear to the
MDC-T that state security agents are now in charge of the running of
ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau could not be
reached for comment as she was said to be attending a meeting with
representatives of political parties.
Meanwhile, Mwonzora claimed that
Zanu PF is using chiefs and other traditional leaders to force villagers in
the countryside to vote for the former revolutionary party.
Studio 7 failed to get comment from the president of the Chiefs Council,
Fortune Charumbira and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.
also accused the intelligentsia of interfering with mobile and internet
communication systems ahead of the elections.
Several people failed to
communicate for the better part of Tuesday as the mobile networks were
Despite all these claims, Mwonzora said his party remains
confident that it will romp to victory in the polls.
He urged his
party’s supporters to go out in large numbers to cast their ballots, asking
them to be patient if they find themselves in long queues.
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has refused to accredit
the Joint Implementation and Monitoring Committee (Jomic), set up under the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) to monitor the implementation of the
power-sharing deal between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, to supervise
general elections tomorrow.
In an interview with
Zimbabwe Independent, MDC-T representative in Jomic Thabitha Khumalo said
despite Zec’s refusal to accredit them, Jomic will still deploy three people
to every polling station, who will be stationed at least 300 metres
“Yes, they have refused to accredit us and they gave no reasons for
their refusal. We decided as Jomic to deploy three representatives, one from
each political party, to all polling stations. We were told to be at least
300 metres away from the polling stations,” she said.
Asked if Zanu
PF will deploy their Jomic representatives, Khumalo said: “That is the
agreement we came up with as the three parties in the inclusive
Zec sources confirmed yesterday that they had not
accredited Jomic for the elections.
“They wanted to be accredited as
who, as what and from where and sent by who. Who are they representing,”
said one Zec official.
Zanu PF does not want Jomic to monitor elections,
saying the GPA, including Jomic, must be replaced by a national process that
includes all political parties interested in contesting in next
Zanu PF recently pulled out of Jomic citing the alleged abuse
of the vehicles by MDC-T and MDC officials.
President Robert Mugabe
has directed all political parties representatives seconded to Jomic to
surrender their allocated vehicles to his office following reports of their
The GPA does not mention the lifespan of Jomic or its
extension beyond the expiry of the inclusive government.
WITH only a few hours to go to the crucial general elections,
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora laid out a litany of rigging accusations
aimed at President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF at a press conference
Hazel Ndebele/Carlos Vieira
Mwonzora told a large
contingent of local and foreign journalists that Zanu PF plans to
deliberately slow down tomorrow’s voting process in Harare and Bulawayo
where MDC-T maintains a massive support base.
Mwonzora also alleged that
polling stations were being reduced in its urban stronghold
“Just like they did in the voter registration exercise,
some of the officers are going to embark on a go-slow exercise. This is
calculated to disenfranchise people, particularly in urban areas,” said
“We do not have an environment for a free and fair election
because Zanu PF has different rigging tactics, among them is the traditional
leaders in rural areas who are, as I speak, having meetings with villagers
directing them to vote for Zanu PF. This is a violation of the law according
to Chapter 15 of the constitution,” he said.
He said his party is in
the process of gathering names and locations of chiefs who had received
incentives to force villagers to vote for Zanu PF.
Mwonzora said state
security agents have also been made election officers to rig in favour of
MDC-T election agents, he said, had been reduced to two per
polling station as opposed to four the party wanted to deploy.
addition, MDC-T had still not received a copy of the voters’ roll, whether a
hard copy or electronic version, on the eve of the elections.
also charged that aspects of social media such as WhatsApp and bulk SMSes
had been tampered with further eroding the environment for a free and fair
“We are prepared to accept the results of a free and fair election,
but we are not prepared to accept fraud,” he said.
THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has deployed over 7
000 trained and accredited citizen observers to all the 210 constituencies
for the crucial elections tomorrow.
elections to be credible, however, they must be more than just peaceful. At
a minimum, citizens must have an equal chance to register to vote, to inform
themselves about all the candidates, to cast their ballot free from fear and
for their votes to be properly counted,” Zesn chairperson Solomon Zwana
Since the proclamation of the July 31 election date, the
organisation’s observers have observed the nomination court process, the
mobile voter registration exercise and the special voting process, raising
issues needed to be addressed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
“Observers will be at polling stations in every corner of the
country to help safeguard the process so that all eligible citizens can vote
and that their votes are properly counted,” added Zwana.
observers have been accredited by the Zec; have attended a training session
on election observation and have pledged to behave at all times in a
non-partisan manner and to adhere to both Zec and Zesn’s codes of conduct in
the observation of elections.
Zesn expressed concern over the
challenges faced with voter registration and logistical problems during the
special voting process, unequal coverage by state media and harassment of
Although it is impossible for Zec to address some of the
outstanding issues with only a few hours before the polls, Zesn however
encouraged all eligible voters, regardless of political affiliation to
peacefully exercise their right to vote as enshrined in the Constitution.
Harare - Heavily
armed riot police deployed in potential election flashpoints in Zimbabwe on
Tuesday on the eve of a poll showdown between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that remains too close to
State radio said thousands of officers had been sent to the central
Midlands province, while trucks of police carrying automatic rifles and
grenade launchers patrolled in the restive Harare townships of Highfield and
The run-down districts of the capital are hotbeds of support for
Tsvangirai and were at the centre of several weeks of post-election violence
in 2008, in which 200 people linked to his Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) were killed.
Elections 2013 - HAVE YOUR SAY Please e-mail or
upload your stories and photos.
This year's presidential and
parliamentary race brings the curtain down on four years of fractious unity
government. It has been marked by allegations of threats and intimidation by
security forces but there have been no reports of violence.
reliable opinion polls, it is hard to tell whether 61-year-old Tsvangirai
will succeed in his third attempt to unseat his 89-year-old rival, who has
run the southern African nation since independence from Britain in
Both the MDC and Mugabe's Zanu-PF party predict landslide
victories. However, it is possible neither leading candidate will emerge an
outright winner, triggering a Sept. 11 run-off. That is a nightmare scenario
for many of Zimbabwe's 13 million people who remember the 2008
Western election observers have been barred, leaving the task
of independent oversight to 500 regional and 7 000 domestic monitors. The
final results must be released within five days but may come
World’s oldest leader
In an editorial in the domestic News
Day newspaper and the Washington Post, Tsvangirai urged African monitors not
to give the vote a seal of approval merely because they do not witness any
"Mugabe is the world's oldest leader and one of its
longest-ruling dictators. He is fixing this election in a more sophisticated
fashion than previous Zanu-PF campaigns of beatings, killings and
intimidation," the prime minister wrote.
antics have been documented throughout Zimbabwe and beyond. Yet the
international community seems apathetic; perhaps Mugabe has been stealing
elections for so long the world just rolls its eyes and moves
Rallying supporters he calls "soldiers", Mugabe has termed the
election a "do or die" contest, suggesting he recognises that his historical
legacy is at stake.
Given irregularities and problems that have
dogged the election process so far, including failure to publish an updated
voters' roll, the result is highly likely to be contested, raising the
prospect of another long political stalemate.
In 2008, South Africa
and other countries in the region brokered a unity government between Mugabe
and Tsvangirai to break a deadlock caused by the MDC's withdrawal from a
second-round runoff because of the violence and killings.
to protracted political crisis, and possibly extensive violence, is likely,"
the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based political risk think-tank,
said in a report issued on Monday entitled "Mugabe's Last Stand".
also criticised the chaotic organisation of the election.
Around a third of 63 000 police officers and civil
servants allowed to vote two weeks early were unable to cast their ballots
because voting materials did not turn up on time.
The existing list
of the 6.3 million registered voters has also attracted criticism from the
MDC and analysts.
In a study comparing the list to a 2012 census, the
Research and Advocacy Group, a non-governmental organisation, said young
people - the main support base for Tsvangirai - were under-represented,
while old people - more likely to be Zanu-PF supporters - were curiously
numerous on the roll.
In particular, it cited the presence of more than
116 000 people aged over 100 and said that in almost a third of
constituencies there were more registered voters than residents.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has rejected charges the voters' register is a
shambles and has accused critics of seeking to discredit the election out of
But the alleged irregularities, combined with openly
partisan security forces and biased state media clearly backing Mugabe's
Zanu-PF, have intensified doubts in Western capitals about declaring the
elections free and far.
That verdict is crucial to the lifting of
Western sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle, a move that would
allow Harare to normalise relations with the International Monetary Fund and
World Bank and access the huge amounts of investment needed to rebuild its
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Monday he
doesn’t trust the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to conduct free and
fair elections on Wednesday and called for the commission's
Speaking to more than 50,000 supporters at his last rally in
downtown Harare, Tsvangirai said he feared the same vote-rigging that marred
previous violent and disputed elections in 2008.
He said ZEC had
shown its lack of preparedness after chaos marked early voting on July 14
and 15 for uniformed services on duty July 31.
“We are on the eve of the
elections yet, as a presidential candidate I have not received a copy of the
voters roll,” he said. “As a party we don’t know who is printing the ballot
papers and the number being printed. Repeated efforts to get information
which, at law, we should be given have been in vain. My chief election
agent, Senator Morgan Komichi, is in court because of ZEC’s
“It is clear that is either complicit or has abdicated
responsibility to other forces. If ZEC is not up to the task then they
should resign. The credibility of this election lies in ZEC.
appointed them with the hope that they will run credible elections. But as
we move closer to the election, it is clear they are not up to the
“I want to state here, Gentleman and Ladies at ZEC, if you are not
the ones responsible for this mess then just do the honourable thing:
He added: “This is not a threat but for a long time the people of
this country have been shortchanged with the manner elections have been
“I am sending this message ‘don’t do it again’. I respect
national institutions. I respect ZEC if they are doing their work properly.
But I will not respect the deliberate attempt to subvert the will of the
Tsvangirai, 61, faces President Robert Mugabe, 89, and two other
minor candidates in presidential polls.
He warned of political unrest
if people are turned away from the polls and if rigging is
suspected. “There is potential of unrest if people are not given chance to
vote and results don’t reflect their will,” Tsvangirai told The Associated
Later Monday, head of the state Electoral Commission, Judge Rita
Makarau, defended the electoral body and said it was ready to hold to
Makarau said the commission has established 9,
735 polling stations across the country. She said the printing of ballot
papers, one day away from voting, is now “99 percent complete” and voters’
lists are being dispatched to the provinces.
Polling stations will be
open until everyone in line has cast their ballot, she said.
our duty to serve everyone. No voter will be turned away,” Makarau
said. Tsvangirai told his supporters on Monday that “Zimbabweans have
been short-changed” by the way polls were being administered by the
“No one will get away with stealing from the people,”
The elections on Wednesday will be the Tsvangirai’s third
attempt at the nation’s presidency since 2002. He claims Mugabe rigged
the elections contested by him. The disputed and violent poll in 2008 led to
an acrimonious coalition with Mugabe that was brokered by the leaders of
“Mugabe lost in 2008 but found a way to come back
through the back door, but this time there will be no coalition,” Tsvangirai
About 13,210 election observers have been accredited to monitor the
vote, some 800 of them from neighbouring African counties and the
continent-wide African Union headed by former Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo, a respected African elder statesman, according to electoral
commission chair Makarau.
She said ballots will be counted at polling
stations and will be displayed outside each voting post.
officials were expected to be “firm on the ground” by the end of
No campaigning is allowed Tuesday, the day before the
Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe addresses an election rally in Bulawayo, about 439km west of the capital
Harare, July 27,2013. Image by:PHILIMON BULAWAYO /
With many international
observers barred from covering Zimbabwe’s crunch election Wednesday, two African
blocs are becoming the eyes and ears of the world in a stern test of their
Mugabe’s government released the list of roughly 50 countries and groups invited
to observe this week’s crunch presidential and parliament elections, there were
It was, in essence,
a handpicked list of nations — Russia, Venezuela, China, Sudan, Cuba, Belarus
and Iran — not usually known for their commitment to
While all embassies
in Harare will be allowed five observers, fully blown missions from the United
Nations, the United States, the European Union and anyone considered hostile to
Mugabe’s attempt to extend his 33-year rule were blocked.
Hopes for a
substantial and credible account of the election rest with the African Union
(AU) and the 15-member Southern African Development Community
But even before an
early civilian vote earlier this month ahead of the election had been cast, the
AU’s 60-strong mission to monitor the vote appeared at risk of losing its
democratic bona fides.
Amid the chaotic
early vote for police and security personnel, serious doubts about the state of
the electoral roll and rampant partisanship by state media, the AU expressed
confidence in a free and fair vote.
“On the whole we
got the impression that the preparations were satisfactory,” said AU commission
chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
eyebrows across the continent. Mugabe’s perennial challenger Morgan Tsvangirai
went as far as to describe Dlamini-Zuma’s account of events as
For many, her
comment had troubling echoes of the AU and SADC’s performance in previous
Both declared a
2011 vote in the Democratic Republic of Congo successful, despite outside
observers reporting a panoply of problems.
In Zimbabwe itself,
SADC declared the recent constitutional referendum “peaceful and credible”
despite the detention of prominent human rights lawyers and Tsvangirai
“The reason you
want international monitors is to have actors that are more likely to be
neutral,” said Judith Kelley, author of ”Monitoring Democracy”, a book on
“Both the AU and
SADC are likely to enter this election with some bias because of their
membership countries’ affiliation with Zimbabwe.” But for SADC in particular,
much is riding on its take on the vote.
The EU, after
decades of playing bad cop, seems set to defer to SADC’s verdict on the
“We don’t have the
right to continue with (sanctions) if the elections are acceptable,” Roeland van
de Geer, the EU’s ambassador to South Africa, said recently. “But it has to be
clear that’s true.” And in many ways these elections are of SADC’s
Fed up with chronic
instability and a flood of Zimbabwean economic refugees across their borders,
the bloc forced Mugabe and Tsvangirai into a power-sharing government following
the bloodshed of the 2008 vote.
It also forced both
men to agree a new constitution which paved the way for the
But SADC still has
to prove it is dependable.
African Development Community and the African Union face severe credibility
tests,” the International Crisis Group said in a report published
“There is growing
concern, however, that both organisations may opt for a narrow evaluation of the
elections.” “If the vote is deeply flawed, they should declare it illegitimate
and press for a re-run after several months of careful preparation or, if that
is not possible, facilitate negotiation of a compromise acceptable to the major
parties.” In the coming days as election reports are released, many will be
closely monitoring the monitors.
notification of breaches of the Electoral Act and Constitution in Bulawayo
I am writing this letter as the MDC candidate for
Bulawayo East Constituency and as Secretary for Legal Affairs of the MDC. The
main purpose of the letter is to update you on our views regarding the electoral
process in Bulawayo East Constituency and to draw your attention to what in our
view are very serious breaches of Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act and Constitution in
the conduct of this election.
At the outset I am pleased to advise that there have
been no reports of violence in the constituency which constitutes a marked
change from previous elections I have been involved in either as a candidate or
as a lawyer representing political parties since 1985.
However I regret to advise that the election has
been marked by repeated and serious breaches of the Electoral Act and
Constitution some of which are set out below.
Illegal proclamation of
the Election itself
President Mugabe’s proclamation of the election date
was in breach of section 31H of the previous Lancaster House Constitution (which
provision was still in force at the time the proclamation was made) in that he
did not consult Cabinet before making the declaration as he was obliged
Illegal use of the
Presidential Powers Act and regulations to promulgate amendments to the
On the 13th June President Mugabe purported to amend
the Electoral Act by means of three Electoral Amendment Regulations (Statutory
Instruments 87, 88 and 89 of 2013) he made in terms of the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Act. In doing so he was in breach of Section 157(1) of the
Constitution and Section 4(2)(c) of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures)
Act itself which both specifically state that the Electoral law cannot be made
by regulations promulgated in terms of the Presidential Powers Act and must be
made by a specific Act of Parliament.
Breach of Section 6(3)
of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution
Section 6(3) of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution
states that “the Registrar General, under the supervision of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, must conduct a special and intensive voter registration
and a voters roll inspection exercise for at least 30 days after the publication
day”. This provision was very seriously breached by the Registrar General in the
Bulawayo East Constituency and elsewhere in the country. For example in Ward 4
of the Bulawayo East Constituency the exercise only started on the 2nd July
after the nomination court had already sat and then when it started there was
initially only one registration centre located at Lochview School which is
located on the outskirts of the Constituency and far from the main population
centres of the Constituency. This made it very difficult for the residents of
Bulawayo East, especially young and poor people, to register. This matter was
raised with the Minister responsible for the Registrar General’s office Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa repeatedly and with the ZEC itself.
There was a similar policy adopted countrywide in
most urban centres. The Registrar General located insufficient numbers of
registration centres in urban areas, they were often located at remote sites
(such as Lochview School) and processing of applications was extraordinarily
slow. This has resulted countrywide in tens, if not hundreds, of of thousands of
citizens effectively being disenfranchised because they were not given an
opportunity to register. Serious anomalies have resulted with for example some
rural provinces such as Mashonaland West (in the past a Zanu PF stronghold)
registering almost 3 times the numbers of new voters than Harare the capital (an
MDC T stronghold). The Constitutional provision is clear - it was to be
“intensive” and was to last “30 days” and the exercise, certainly in Ward 4 of
the Bulawayo East Constituency, was neither intensive, nor lasted 30 days in
4. Breach of Section
61(4)(b) and (c) of the Constitution - freedom of expression and the
Sections 61(4)(b) and (c) of the Constitution state
that all “State owned media of communication” must be “impartial” and afford a
“fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting
opinions”. As you may be aware there are no independent radio and television
stations in Zimbabwe. The only television station is the State owned ZBC.
Although there are two nominally independent radio stations, namely Star FM and
ZiFM, the former is owned by the Zimpapers Group, which is essentially State
owned, and the latter is owned by Supa Mandiwanzira the Zanu PF candidate for
I trust that you have taken the time to watch the
ZBC news bulletins. I have been watching them regularly since the election began
and ZBC TV and radio has been blatantly biased in favour of Zanu PF and have not
allowed a fair opportunities for the presentation of divergent views and
dissenting opinions. The meetings of MDC Presidential candidate Professor
Welshman Ncube have virtually been totally ignored by the ZBC. Although more
coverage has been given to MDC T Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai such
coverage has been given has been obviously biased and has not given the fair
opportunity guaranteed by the Constitution.
That has happened nationwide but it has also
affected my own campaign. I have had a series of public meetings in Bulawayo
East which have been well publicised. For example I had meetings advertised in
the press at the Hotel Rio on Saturday the 20th July, the Natural History Museum
on Friday the 26th July and the Paddonhurst early learning centre on Saturday
the 27th July. I am a well known figure having been a member of Parliament since
2000, the current Senator for Khumalo Constituency and the current Minister of
Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. The ZBC, which has studios in Bulawayo, has
not come to a single meeting of mine, nor has it sought to cover my meetings in
any way. That stands in marked contrast to many Zanu PF candidates’ meetings
held in Bulawayo and its environs which have been repeatedly and widely covered.
This failure by the State owned media is in clear breach of Section 61 of the
5. Biased application of
Section 152 of the Electoral Act
Section 152 of the Electoral Act statesthat
“from the date on which an election is
called until its result is declared, no person shall deface or remove any
billboard, placard or poster published, posted or displayed by a political party
or candidate contesting the election.” It was this provision which was used this
past week by the Zimbabwe Republic Police Queens Park East and the ZRP Law and
Order section against my election campaign distribution coordinator Malthus
Ncube to arrest him, detain him overnight and prosecute him. The allegation
against Ncube is that he tore a single A4 size poster of the Zanu PF Council
candidate for Ward 3 and that he took down a few of Zanu PF Presidential
candidate Robert Mugabe’s posters. The arrest, detention and prosecution was
based on the evidence of a single Zanu PF operative despite independent evidence
available from several vendors that the posters had fallen down and were not
taken down by Ncube. Ncube was held for over 24 hours and when he came to court
the ZRP opposed bail being granted. In other words there was a vigorous
investigation and prosecution of the alleged offence. As I believe in the rule
of law I do not doubt the right and necessity of the ZRP to thoroughly
investigate an allegation that the Electoral Act has been breached but this must
be done fairly and impartially.
On Saturday morning the 27th July at 8.11am I
received a report that 3 men in a white pick up truck were at that time
systematically taking down and on occasions destroying and ripping up my
campaign posters all along the Airport road from the Woodville Drive turnoff to
the centre of town. I immediately telephoned (at 8.13am) the Officer Commanding
ZRP Queens Park East (the nearest police station) to report the offences and
made the request that he immediately dispatch a team of policemen to stop those
destroying my posters and that he arrest those responsible. At 8.22am I
telephoned and spoke to you to report the matter and make the request that the
SADC team go out to witness what was happening.
I subsequently drove out on the airport road and
observed that every single one of tens of my posters which had been put up on
the Airport road had been systematically torn down and many destroyed. I also
noted that every single one of MDC T Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai
and my MDC T opponent in Bulawayo East Thabita Khumalo’s posters had also been
torn down or destroyed. I observed that two of the posters I personally put up
high on electricity poles last Tuesday at the intersection of Woodville Drive
and the Airport Road right next to the police road block at that intersection
had been ripped down. I stress that it would have taken people with a ladder to
get them down. I presume that this illegal act was done in full view of
policemen at the road block which is only 30 metres from the poles in
Despite my report it is clear that the Police have
not investigated this brazen and repeated breach of Section 152 of the Electoral
Act by Zanu PF operatives. It would appear that no action was taken by them to
stop this illegal action. I should stress that Queens Park East Police station
is less than 1km from the Airport Road and my report was made to the Police
whilst the illegal activity was in progress. It must have taken at least an hour
for the Zanu PF operatives to tear down in excess of 100 posters belonging to
the MDC and MDC T over a stretch of some 5 kms of the Airport Road in broad
daylight. The point is simply that there has been a biased and selective
application of the law in this regard against people working for my campaign
team and in favour of those working on the Zanu PF team.
Breach of Section 21(6)
and (7) of the Electoral Act by the ZEC
Section 21(6) and (7) of the Electoral Act states as
“(6) Within a reasonable period of the time after
nomination day in an election, the Commission shall provide -
(a)free of charge, to every nominated candidate,
one copy in electronic form of the constituency voters roll to be used in the
election for which the candidate has been nominated; and
(b)at the request of any nominated candidate, and
on payment of the prescribed fee, one copy in printed form of the constituency
voters roll to be used in the election for which the candidate has been
(7)Where a voters roll is provided in electronic
form in terms of subsection (3), (4) or (6), its format shall be such as allows
its contents to be searched and analysed:
(i)the roll may be formatted so as to prevent its
being altered or otherwise tampered with;
the Commission may impose reasonable conditions on
the provision of the roll to prevent it from being used for commercial or other
purposes unconnected with an election.”
Despite repeated requests made in writing and
verbally both to the ZEC in Harare by our party’s National Election Director and
in Bulawayo by my Chief Election Agent neither our party nor I as a candidate
have been supplied with an electronic copy of the voters roll as is our right.
It is now less than 18 hours prior to the election and my recent enquiries
locally in Bulawayo have revealed that there is little prospect of receiving the
I note from the Herald newspaper this morning that
the Chairwoman of the ZEC Madam Justice Makarau is reported as stating that due
to “logistical challenges” the RGV’s office “may not be in a position to issue
the electronic copies”. In the same report she states that “hard copies of the voters’ roll can now be obtained
by candidates from the office of the RGV”. I should mention that as at 2pm today
we have not managed to obtain even a hard copy (paper) version of the roll
notwithstanding the fact that that is not what the law requires the ZEC to
supply each candidate.
It is hard to understand why “logistical challenges”
can be the reason for this failure by the ZEC to comply with the Electoral Act
as it is far more problematic to print paper versions of the roll and to
distribute the same countrywide. In this digital age it is very easy to copy
electronic data on to computer disks and to transmit them countrywide in
seconds. The voters roll prepared by the Registrar General of Voters is already
in digital electronic format so it is incomprehensible why that data could not
have been made available in electronic form.
It goes without saying that the provision of the
roll in hard copy (paper) form, especially at the eleventh hour, is useless. One
cannot search or analyse a paper voters roll at this late stage and even had we
had it weeks ago that would still have been difficult. I should mention that
this particular provision in the Electoral Act is new and it was a key clause
which resulted from intense negotiations during the last few years. Section 21
(7) specifically obliges the ZEC to provide an electronic copy which allows “its
contents to be searched and analysed” so as to enable political parties to be
able to easily search for particular voters and also to easily audit the roll
for duplications or other anomalies. We cannot now do that.
It would appear that the Registrar General of Voters
and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission have very cynically and deliberately
breached this provision of the Electoral Act and the motivation for doing so is
clear - it is designed to ensure that serious anomalies in the voters roll are
not brought to light prior to the election and we fear that this move is a
precursor to widespread rigging of the electoral process in favour of Zanu PF
and its Presidential candidate Robert Mugabe. Both the Chairperson of the ZEC
and the Registrar General of Voters are, or at least have been in the past,
members or sympathisers of Zanu PF and the inescapable inference is that they
have acted deliberately to subvert the electoral process in favour of that
The failure by the ZEC to comply with Section 21 of
the Electoral Act is a very serious breach of the Act but also of the entire
electoral process. The provision of a voters roll goes to the very heart of the
electoral process in all democracies but especially in Zimbabwe where repeated
elections over the last 13 years have been marred by allegations and proof of
electoral fraud centred on the manipulation and distortion of the voters roll.
In short the failure by ZEC to comply with Section 21 (6) and (7) of the
Electoral Act renders the entire election illegal and at the very least means
that it can no longer be viewed as free and fair.
The purpose of this letter is to place these matters
on record and to bring them to your attention in the hope that even at this late
hour you may be able to use your good offices to press where possible for full
compliance with Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act and Constitution.
Our party will continue to participate in this
seriously flawed election under protest because of our belief in the need to
follow peaceful and non violent methods of achieving political objectives and of
the hope that despite these illegalities the will of the Zimbabwean electorate
may yet be respected.
former State Department official today said the United States should not let
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe win
Todd Moss, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary
in the Bureau of African Affairs at the US Department of State from May 2007
to October 2008, said “even if (Mugabe) is declared the winner of the July
31 poll, this will in no way reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. It
will be a sham that the United States and its allies must not unwittingly
In a repeat of what he told the Senate Foreign Relations
subcommittee of African Affairs last month, Moss said this was not the time
for the State Department to sit on its hands and merely wait for Mugabe to
die before pushing for change. “The time to influence Zimbabwe’s future is
Writing in Politico, Moss clearly stated that the call by the
United States for change in Zimbabwe was to protect United States interests
and not those of Zimbabweans.
“The upcoming election is in no way an
expression of democracy; it is instead political theater being stage-managed
by Mugabe and his junta,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the U.S. government
has been asleep at the wheel, haggling over minor election details and
impotently calling for everyone to behave. Worse, the United States is
sending worrying signals of future indifference. Zimbabwe has the long-term
potential to be an economic driver for southern Africa and a partner for the
United States and its private sector. But we risk ceding that potential to
others while also visibly failing to stand by our democratic
Moss. who advocated military intervention in 2008,said the
United States should not ease the pressure on Zimbabwe and must continue to
work with future leaders, plan for quick-reacting forms of recovery
assistance and find creative ways to aid democratic forces.
31 election may not bring Zimbabwe the change it needs, but America’s
reaction afterwards is an opportunity to recalibrate. If US officials are
seen as quietly accepting a deeply flawed election, it will damage America’s
reputation at just the time the United States needs to be standing on
principle by helping the country turn away from the hatred and fear of the
past and toward a new Zimbabwe based on openness, prosperity, and freedom.
Real change is coming to Zimbabwe one day — and America should be prepared,”