The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Important Voting Notes

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 helps.

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 time.

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 respectively.

Also see:

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Hate speech and forgiveness, Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s last speeches

By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
30 July 2013

Zimbabwe’s main political rivals made last ditch efforts to mobilize support
in the last couple of days, ahead of Wednesday’s crucial election.

MDC-T president 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 will.

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.

Tsvangirai 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 official

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

Showing the more charismatic side he sometimes reveals, Mugabe joked that he
would “suffer heart failure” if the results went against him in Harare.

SADC observers 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 heart.

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 rally.

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.

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ZANU PF intimidation continues to rise ahead of poll

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
30 July 2013

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 wins.

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.

“I 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

“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.

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Chance of free and fair poll is remote says civil society

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
30 July 2013

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 remote.

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 violence.”

“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.

The group 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 ‘destructive’.

“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 ZLHR said.

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

“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.

This 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.

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Mugabe to 'surrender' if he loses

Sapa-AFP | 30 July, 2013 18:32

Veteran 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

But he 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.

But 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.

Few believe 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 Community (SADC).

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 constituencies.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials were not available to respond to the

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.

"It's 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 supporters.

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 old.

Around 6.4 million people are eligible vote in Wednesday's first round and
results are expected within five days.

Credible opinion polls are rare, but according to one survey by the US-based
Williams firm in March-April, Mugabe could be in for a rough ride.

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.

Amid recovery 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

At a final campaign rally Sunday, Mugabe promised further indigenisation of
white and foreign-owned assets.

He has also painted his rival as a foreign stooge and warned Zimbabweans
against change, citing the fallout after uprisings in Egypt and Libya.

"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 people around.

"I want Mugabe to enjoy his retirement in peace and quiet," hinting that
Mugabe may be granted immunity if he relinquishes power.

But with the backing of state media, the military and control of most other
levers of power, Mugabe remains odds-on favourite.

"Many 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."

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Mugabe says generals won't interfere if he loses Zim election


President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe’s generals will not interfere with the
smooth transfer of power, should he lose Wednesday’s elections.

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.

Several 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.

Want 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 war credentials.

“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

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.

"I 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,” said Chineka.

"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.

In 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

Another unity government
Mugabe said he had worked well with his rival in the inclusive government
and hinted there could be a possibility of another unity government.

“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 said.

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 cheating.

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.

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Military junta says Mugabe will not go if defeated


by Brenna Matendere

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 night.

“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 president.”

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
the race.

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.

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Tsvangirai’s chief polling agent to remain in custody until August 14th

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
30 July 2013

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 Vote.

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.

Komichi will remain in custody until his next court appearance on August
14th, unless his lawyers decide to appeal the decision at the High Court.

Defence lawyer Tarisai Mutangi told SW Radio Africa that the magistrate
based her ruling on the State’s case that Komichi would interfere with

“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 said.

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.

“The 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

“We 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

Komichi, who is also the MDC-T deputy minister of transport, is accused of
fraudulently acquiring and tampering with an envelope containing ballot

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

On Monday, 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 prime suspect.”

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.

“He 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.

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Battle lines drawn ahead of Wednesday polls

By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
30 July 2013

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 MDC-T.

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 election.

‘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.

It remains 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

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.

Mwonzora added: ‘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

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
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.

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MDC-T urges massive voter turn-out despite uneven electoral field

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa,
30 July 2013

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 victory.

However, he said the party was aware that ZANU PF was putting in place
mechanisms through which they intend to steal the election.

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.

“From what 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 officers.

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.

Following 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 power.

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

“We 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

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Three regional observers deported

Gerry Jackson
SW Radio Africa
30 July 2013

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.

The 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.

The deportations 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.’

‘If the 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

The 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

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Three community radio journalists arrested, granted bail

Staff reporter
SW Radio Africa
30 July 2013

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

Emmy 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 station.

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 statement.

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 Act.

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.

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Zec owns up to electoral irregularities


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.

In 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.

“We have already dispatched the register to all polling stations,” he said.

The commission also admitted to duplicating ballot papers.

Zec chairperson Rita Makarau said the ballots had been duplicated by

“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,” Makarau said.

“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 voters.

“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.

The commission 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 ongoing.

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.

“We have people who are prepared to swear on affidavits to the effect that
voter registration is still taking place in some areas,” Biti said.

“We wrote 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.”

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We'll report electoral irregularities to Zec — Obasanjo


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.

In an 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 commission.

Tsvangirai has alleged the election is being rigged.

“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 stations.

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 general

Obasanjo said the 80-member observer team is yet to meet other stakeholders
and other observers to get a diverse voice.

“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 said.

“Whoever we meet, we try to find out what are the areas that need to be

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Fresh vote rigging fears


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

In an 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.

“We 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 mechanisms.”

Zec has repeatedly denied charges it was plotting to rig the election.

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.

The 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 percent.

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.

The 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.

These are traditionally Zanu PF strongholds where the revolutionary party
recorded a high number of votes in the last election.

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Zanu PF buying votes with Chinese trinkets


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 community.

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 News.

“The party gives people small things instead of developing them. People are
getting teapots and torches so that they vote for the party.”

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.

“I understand 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 decade.

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 party.

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.

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Rigging Fears As ZEC Sends Triple Number of Ballots To Byo


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.

The 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.

He 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 immediately.”

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 month.

Komichi is also the MDC deputy national chairperson and deputy transport

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 Tuesday.

"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

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Sadc, AU must intervene after polls — ICG


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 holds office.

“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 future.

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.

“All that 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.

No policy 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 fevers.”

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 political fortunes.

ICG said Sadc gave Zanu PF the benefit of the doubt in 2008 and has not
developed visible deterrence to such tactics in 2013.

“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.

“If Sadc 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

“If new 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.”

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MDC-T: Zimbabwe Security Agents Take Over Election Process

Thomas Chiripasi

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 national

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 credible manner.

With only a few hours before the elections, Mr. Mwonzora said the prime
minister was yet to get access to the voters roll.

ZEC 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 irregularities.

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

He said this was being done deliberately to disenfranchise people,
especially those living in urban areas.

Due to 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
Wednesday’s elections.

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.

VOA Studio 7 failed to get comment from the president of the Chiefs Council,
Fortune Charumbira and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.

Mwonzora 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 congested.

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.

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Zec denies Jomic polls accreditation

July 30, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

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.

Faith Zaba

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 away.

“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

“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 elections.

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 alleged abuse.

The GPA does not mention the lifespan of Jomic or its extension beyond the
expiry of the inclusive government.

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‘Zanu PF planning go-slow in urban areas’

July 30, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

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 today.

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 constituencies.

“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 Mwonzora.

“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 Zanu PF.

MDC-T election agents, he said, had been reduced to two per polling station
as opposed to four the party wanted to deploy.

In 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.

Mwonzora 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 poll.

“We are prepared to accept the results of a free and fair election, but we
are not prepared to accept fraud,” he said.

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Polls: Zesn deploys 7 000 observers

July 30, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

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.

Hazel Ndebele

“For 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 said.

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 (Zec).

“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.

All 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 civil society.

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.

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Zim polls: Heavily armed police deploy

2013-07-30 13:31

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 call.

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 Mbare.

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

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.

With no 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 1980.

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 violence.

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 sooner.

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 bloodshed.

"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.

"Mugabe's election-stealing 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 on."

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

"A return 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

It also criticised the chaotic organisation of the election.

Alleged irregularities

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.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has rejected charges the voters' register
is a shambles and has accused critics of seeking to discredit the election
out of political interests.

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 dilapidated economy.

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Tsvangirai calls on ZEC to resign

29/07/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter I AP

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 resignation.

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 incompetence.

“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.

“We 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 task.

“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: Go!

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 people.”

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 Press

Later Monday, head of the state Electoral Commission, Judge Rita Makarau,
defended the electoral body and said it was ready to hold to credible

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.

“It is our duty to serve everyone. No voter will be turned away,” Makarau
Tsvangirai told his supporters on Monday that “Zimbabweans have been
short-changed” by the way polls were being administered by the electoral

“No one will get away with stealing from the people,” he said.

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 neighbouring countries.

“Mugabe lost in 2008 but found a way to come back through the back door, but
this time there will be no coalition,” Tsvangirai said.

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

She said ballots will be counted at polling stations and will be displayed
outside each voting post.

All polling officials were expected to be “firm on the ground” by the end of

No campaigning is allowed Tuesday, the day before the national vote.

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Zimbabwe vote puts AU, SADC in the dock
Sapa-AFP | 30 July, 2013 08:04
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses an election rally in Bulawayo, about 439km west of the capital Harare, July 27,2013.
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 credibility.

When Robert 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 few surprises.

It was, in essence, a handpicked list of nations — Russia, Venezuela, China, Sudan, Cuba, Belarus and Iran — not usually known for their commitment to democracy.

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 (SADC).

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.

That raised eyebrows across the continent. Mugabe’s perennial challenger Morgan Tsvangirai went as far as to describe Dlamini-Zuma’s account of events as “misleading”.

For many, her comment had troubling echoes of the AU and SADC’s performance in previous elections.

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 allies.

“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 election monitors.

“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 vote.

“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 making.

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 vote.

But SADC still has to prove it is dependable.

“The Southern African Development Community and the African Union face severe credibility tests,” the International Crisis Group said in a report published Monday.

“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.


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Letter from David Coltart

30th July 2013

The Head of the SADC Observer Mission
Honnourable Situ Musokotwane MP

Dear Honourable Musokotwane,

Reference: Formal notification of breaches of the Electoral Act and Constitution in Bulawayo East

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.

  1. 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 to.

  1. Illegal use of the Presidential Powers Act and regulations to promulgate amendments to the Electoral Act

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.

  1. 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 every Ward.

4. Breach of Section 61(4)(b) and (c) of the Constitution - freedom of expression and the media

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 Nyanga South.

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 Constitution.

5. Biased application of Section 152 of the Electoral Act

Section 152 of the Electoral Act states that “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 question.

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.

  1. 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 follows:

“(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 nominated.

(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:

Provided that—

(i) the roll may be formatted so as to prevent its being altered or otherwise tampered with;

  1. 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 same.

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 party.

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.

Yours sincerely,

Senator David Coltart
Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture
Secretary for Legal Affairs, MDC


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Former US official says don’t let Mugabe win

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 18:04

A former State Department official today said the United States should not
let Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe win
tomorrow’s elections.

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 legitimize”.

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 now.”

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

“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 ideals.”

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.

“The July 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,” he said.

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