AU cites poll flaws

HARARE - The African Union yesterday reserved its verdict on the bitterly disputed Zimbabwe’s elections amid mounting allegations of vote-rigging.

The head of the AU’s 70-member observer mission, Olusegun Obasanjo, said yesterday that the poll was held in a largely peaceful environment but quickly added that AU observers cited “incidences that could have been avoided and even tended to have breached the law.”

The AU mission asked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to probe reports that large numbers of eligible voters were turned away from polling stations and that there was an unusually high number of assisted voters in Wednesday’s vote.

Early results showed the 89-year-old taking an unassailable lead, with his Zanu PF party garnering 87 seats out of 120 declared by late afternoon yesterday.

“Our opponents don’t know what hit them,” Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said. “It’s the prediction that the president might likely get 70 to 75 percent.”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the election was blatantly rigged by Israeli firm Nikuv International and declared the election “null and void.”

The AU said in a preliminary poll statement that a plethora of challenges bogged the harmonised elections.

Though the mission noted a peaceful and free election in Zimbabwe, the continental election observers said there were “grave concerns” about the voters’ roll and there was “no evidence that copies of the critical voters’ roll were made available to candidates.”

“Given the strategic importance of a voters’ roll to the conduct of a transparent electoral process, it is the mission’s view that the RGV (Registrar-General of Voters) and Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) should have collaborated to ensure that all stakeholders were timely and regularly updated on the constraints and challenges relating to the voters’ roll and efforts being made to rectify them to meet the 31 July deadline,” the AU mission report states.

“The mission believes this could have minimised the persistent negative pre-election perceptions regarding the voters’ roll.

“Further, greater transparency on the matter may have allayed fears raised by political contestants on the veracity of the voters’ roll.

“The concerns about the voters’ roll are critical in determining the degree of disenfranchisement or disqualification of legitimate voters from voting.

“It is the mission’s view that, the voters’ roll should be made available on time and displayed publicly in accordance with the law.”

The AU also noted several inconsistencies that made the election fall short of international best practice.

“The mission notes that the number of ballot papers printed (8,7 million), corresponding to 35 percent above the number of registered voters, was significantly higher than international best practices (five to 10 percent) and raises concerns of accountability of unused ballots.

It is the mission’s hope that Zec will accomplish the task of accounting for the ballots to the satisfaction of stakeholders and all interested parties.

“The mission further notes that a significant number of local government ballot booklets had missing ballot papers and were not serially identified.

“One such case was noted at a polling station at Town House where two local government ballot booklets had only 99 papers instead of 100,” read the AU mission report.

The mission noted the high number of assisted voters especially in rural areas.

“The mission notes the occurrence of high number of assisted voters in many polling stations nationwide,” the report said.

“Examples include polling stations in Muzarabani District, Mashonaland Central; at Musengizi, at the time of observation 97 voters out of 370 were assisted; Kapembere Primary School 77 voters out of 374 were assisted and Bore Primary School 85 voters out of 374 were assisted.

“Furthermore, at a polling station observed by the AU mission in Manicaland, there were 97 assisted voters out of a total of 370 voters.

“While the current electoral laws provide for assistance by presiding officers, electoral officers and police officers, the involvement of such officials may influence or restrict the free will of the assisted voter,” the statement read.

Zimbabwe’s media was also criticised for being highly polarised with the mission reiterating that the State broadcaster could have provided a balanced platform for all competing parties and alternative voices in accordance the law.

The final AU report will be produced on August 14.

Bernard Membe — head of the Sadc electoral observer mission (SEOM) said it would not be in the national interest to nullify the poll.

“SEOM wishes to implore all Zimbabweans to exercise restraint, patience and calm. The future is in your hands,” Membe said.

“At what cost can the election be nullified? I know that it is painful at the moment, but political parties should accept and move on for the good of the people. In politics, we do all the campaigns and win but also we have to face a reality and move on. That is what we call political maturity.”

“SEOM wishes to take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for turning up in large numbers to exercise their democratic right to choose their political leaders.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesperson told a media briefing that they will not accept a call by Sadc to accept the election results given that they have empirical evidence to prove their allegations.

“We can’t accept what they are not certifying as fair and credible,” Mwonzora said.

“They (Sadc) have not said this election is free, fair and credible, they are saying it was peaceful. We find it totally unacceptable for them to tell us to accept results that they cannot certify,” he said.

Mwonzora said the party understands why Sadc is pushing them to accept the results despite the glaring evidence that the polls were rigged saying the regional body had gone weary of the Zimbabwean crisis and is desperate to get it off its agenda.

“You cannot bend the Sadc and AU electoral rules simply because you want to get rid of the problem child,” Mwonzora said.

“This is totally unacceptable because the fact that we had free and peaceful elections does not necessarily follow that they were credible and reflect the will of the people.

“Therefore the MDC rejects the Sadc mission position, because once the election is unfair, the results cannot be acceptable,” he said.

“What is good about the Sadc and the AU observer missions is that they want evidence, and we have that. We will furnish them officially tomorrow but we have been communicating our concerns to the observers throughout the whole electoral process,” he said.

Mwonzora claimed that known MDC supporters in rural areas are now being targeted for retribution by Zanu PF militia while a plot to arrest the  party’s secretary-general Tendai Biti for showing the Sadc observers how Zanu PF was rigging the election in Mount Pleasant was being rolled out.

The Zimbabwe Democracy Institute said: “It was impossible from the start of the process to imagine a credible election when basic things such as a legitimate voters’ roll were disputed.

“The ZDI findings corroborate with what transpired as failure to comply with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) standards on democratic elections and legal requirements were evidenced by the levels of manipulation of electoral processes and voters’ roll.”

Southern African Development Community of Non-Governmental organisations (Sadc-NGO) said the credibility, free and fairness of the poll was highly compromised.

“Though the scope and extent of the impact of the observed anomalies on the outcome of elections could not immediately be ascertained, they themselves constitute serious electoral deficits,” Sadc NGO report said.

“This mission concludes that the credibility, free and fair conduct of the Zimbabwe 31st July 2013 harmonised elections and therefore their reliability as the true expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe have been highly compromised.”

Abie  Ditlhake, executive director of the NGO group said the mission believed the role played by the Registrar-General of Voters, Tobaiwa Mudede, should be reviewed in the next election.

“Since Zec is entrusted to deliver elections to the people of Zimbabwe, it would be desirable that it is empowered to deal with the voters’ roll entirely,” Ditlhake said.

Comments (35)

Can the AU also consider the 2million urban voters who were left out of the registration exercise after Mudede deliberately gave only 5 mobile centres to the whole of Harare, Chitungwiza and Epworth in comparison to 38 registration teams given to Mash Central a province almost half in size the Population of Harare.

AMurewa - 3 August 2013

Whilst the RG ensured that nobody from areas perceived to be from MDC areas registered, he proceeded to issue illegally millions of voter registration slips to unregistered Zpf youths who were later bussed to vote in constituencies perceived to be Mdc

Mayzeet - 3 August 2013

The leaked voter slip rigging saga explains why. 1. Zec instructed all polling officers in a memo to allow people with such questionable voter slips to vote without the permissible procedure of recording them. 2. It explains why many people were bussed from unknown areas to come and vote in areas considered to be mdc. 3. Explains why besides being told that only 700000 new voters registered suddenly the figures suggest over 1,6million new voters voted. This election was a big rig and not credible at all

Garade - 3 August 2013

Why is it that nothing is being said about thousand of Special voters who suddenly found their names crossed and voted for?

Suluman - 3 August 2013

Why is it that nothing is being said about thousand of Special voters who suddenly found their names crossed and voted for?

Suluman - 3 August 2013

Vakuru vakati miromo yamadhongi ndeimwechete - michena. Based on so called freedom history - Zanu-PF, SADC, and AU formerly OAU; they are all the same: see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil of each other.

Gondobwe - 3 August 2013

need to tell all the people in the MDC T to do the following 1-Never ever go to the courts 2-All those MDC T candidates who win and those who whose results were stolen never join Mugabes gvt let him take from his zanu pf part to fill all the positions for both houses of assembly and the councils no one from MDC T Should join these thugs let them form 100% zanu pf gvt. 3 To my fellow MDC T member lets go and do our normal ways of survival either in poverty or what it does not matter but never ever to any political office of mugabe. 4- I need mugabe to make all the people of zimbabwe happy as he was promising. 5-Again to my fellow MDC members who worked hard during the inclusive gvt so that things were seem to be better for all people of zimbabwe but making it as if mugabe was doing it eg you bring USA Dollar.Please withdraw all your services and what so ever give mugabe everything and also take everything that belongs to you if people are to die of hunger let then die if they are to die of corera let them die Mugabe has all the solutions even next week he must introduce chinese money Yen he must stop using everything for the inclusive gvt more over he must bring back his zim dollars. 6-.When MDC request extention of voters reg mugabe refused 7- when mdc requested voters roll mugabe refused 9 when mdc requested reforming ZEC he refused all the commissoners of zec are CIO and military personell everyone knows this 10- The above are just a few important things so it means mdc must stop working with zanu pf they will use you to the expense of total indep 11.CHINAMHATA DONT give us advice rule alone we will watch you rulling you can feed everyone do all your promises alone when you fail you want to blem mdc do it alone

dofo - 3 August 2013

The only proof that this election wasn't fair is the table that shows the itinerary of Mudedes voter registration teams. No need to go for further arguments

Doughnut - 3 August 2013

Mdc only won in Bulawayo because there are no surrounding farms where Zpf supporters were bussed to go rig in Mdc areas

Madock - 3 August 2013

I am at a total loss as to how ZANU (PF) could win all seats in Mat South. In the last election Welshman Ncube captured quite a number of seats and suddenly he fails to win even one seat-what a paradox. MDC (T) is quite popular in Matebeleland Provinces and should have won at least 80% of the seats. This rigging is gigantic and the results do not reflect the people's will and I suggest fresh elections are conducted under the auspices of the UN since both SADC and the AU have both lost the little credibility they had by rushing to endorse such shameful elections. How can you have a free, fair, transparent and democratic election when the voters' roll is shambolic? GOD forbids and the only viable solution is to have a second GNU with Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa at the head deputised by the people's President, Honourable Morgan Richard Tsvangirai

Chief Philip Charumbira - 3 August 2013

Zimbabwe's economy cannot afford another disputed election. In the major towns such as Gweru, Bulawayo & Harare, 90% of factories/industries are closed and I do not forsee them opening under an all ZANU (PF) Regime. The Party's look East Policy has not benefited the majority of Zimbabweans as companies have remained closed with those operating performing at 15% capacity. MRT has the key to the levers of Zimbabwe's economy and should definitely be included in any post-election government lest we revert to eating chakata/hatya as was happening before the inauguration of the GNU

Chief Philip Charumbira - 3 August 2013

Ladies & Gentleman this AU & SADC were not here to monitor anything they wanted to give a stamp of approval to MUGABE;s rigging all the anormalies that were identified during the whole process are not going to be resolved.The courts are not going to Entertain anything brought by MDC to court & the AU will ask for reports until all this dies a natural death'

CASHTALK - 3 August 2013

Cry the beloved country. I agree, MDC-T should not join the government. Mugabe is a selfish, heartless dictator. He is not a patriot and was never one. How can a country which claim highest level of literacy have a record number of voter assistance? The real WAR begins.

never dhliwayo - 3 August 2013

I think that the major worry is on the actual number of voters who voted, we are having a lot of miracle voters here.

RAYMOND MHLANGA - 3 August 2013

I think that the major worry is on the actual number of voters who voted, we are having a lot of miracle voters here.

RAYMOND MHLANGA - 3 August 2013

These AU mercenaries are only here for holidaying. Mugabe loves them because their election situation is even worse back in their homeland. The worse part though is that these people endorse the voting process only and not the entire election process

Edna - 3 August 2013

its just unthinkable and unimaginable to think of zanu pf win a judge of mai makarau to say these elections were free and fair how evil can make a human so docile vakagarwa mothers. I hope she has pondered the thought of resignation before announcing the results

munyoro - 3 August 2013

We should reject the notion that there are African standards for elections. Elections are elections, no exceptions. Electoral standards have to be acceptable and not be viewed as elections by African standards. That would be a way of accepting that we are second class citizens who accept sub-standard elections and call them 'african standards elections.'

Chenjerai Hove - 3 August 2013

ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL FRAUD UNEARTHED A private South African based intelligence organisation Nasini Projects has allegedly unearthed a deadly electoral fraud in the just ended harmonized elections in Zimbabwe to end an unease coalition between strongman Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai,leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Speaking to NP News Saturday the chief executive officer of the Think tank Ms Lucia Mordi said a delicate ballot paper was used to rig the election. "From our findings so far we are 99.9% convinced that the election was rigged via a ballot paper.A special watermarked ballot was used to give president Mugabe a resounding victory.The ballot had a water X against President Mugabe's name such that if any ink is placed on the paper the substance on the paper will react and remove the ink and activate the watermarked X into print.If you look at some ballots you would see that Xs are very straight and Identical.These were mixed with ordinary ballot papers in a proportion that would favour Zanu PF.Therefore I call for the opposition parties and the international community to stage an urgent probe into this scam " When asked why she carried out the investigations Ms Mordi said her organisation was established to deal with issues related to serious fraud across the world. "Our organisation was established to reduce serious fraud across the world.After a tip from our China Branch we moved in to evaluate the situation"She said If Nasini Projects happen to be correct this could be the world's fraudulant experience since the world was formed NP News

Snuuga - 3 August 2013

ZIMBABWEAN ELECTIONS WERE RIGGED - SOUTH AFRICAN INVESTIGATING COMPANY CLAIMS A private South African based intelligence organisation Nasini Projects has allegedly unearthed a deadly electoral fraud in the just ended harmonized elections in Zimbabwe to end an unease coalition between strongman Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Speaking to NP News Saturday the chief executive officer of the Think tank Ms Lucia Mordi said a delicate ballot paper was used to rig the election. "From our findings so far we are 99.9% convinced that the election was rigged via a ballot paper. A special watermarked ballot was used to give president Mugabe are sounding victory. The ballot had a water X against President Mugabe's name such that if any ink is placed on the paper the substance on the paper will react and remove the ink and activate the watermarked X into print. If you look at some ballots you would see that Xs are very straight and Identical. These were mixed with ordinary ballot papers in a proportion that would favour ZanuPF. Therefore I call for the opposition parties and the international community to stage an urgent probe into this scam "When asked why she carried out the investigations Ms Mordi said her organisation was established to deal with issues related to serious fraud across the world. "Our organisation was established to reduce serious fraud across theworld. After a tip from our China Branch we moved in to evaluate the situation" She said If Nasini Projects happen to be correct this could be the world's fraudulent experience since the world was formed

mateo - 3 August 2013

Now the MDC-T was led by Tsvangirai to participate in unconstitutional, illegal, sham and rigged elections. In security jargon, they say that "once you receive stolen goods you are part and parcel, of the stealing gang". So what is the status of the MDC-T, in these rigged elections? To what extent can the cries of foul elections exclude the MDC-T? What would have happened had the elections been rigged in favour or had they been such that Tsvangirai and the MDC-T would still have won them? Though, the elections were rigged and stolen but people are requested to think independently of what would have happened. The people should not be used by the politicians, yes the elections were rigged in favour of Zanu PF but this is a politicians' game.

Yepec - 3 August 2013

i live in the US but im saddened by what Mugabe is doing to my beloved country

Lisa - 3 August 2013

When Mugabe said that he would step down if he lost the election , it was the biggest of tips right there but unfortunately the MDC-T relied too much on the crowds attending their rallies . The job was already done . MDC-T should stand their ground and push for a re-run with international monitors , no short cuts this time or else Morgan should step down .

whyisvm - 4 August 2013

I suppose we'll now continue hearing the same tune of accusations of sanctions when the Zanu guys don't deliver to the people like they promised

Collin - 4 August 2013

NOW that Mugabe has won elections, will all the unemployed youths and the unemployed war vets that were bused to rig elections in favour of ZANU PF, live happily ever after ? ? ? ?

Quwertie - 4 August 2013

Zvinorwadza kunzwa kuti shuviro yevanhu yakatsikirirwa ne special ballot paper. Ko vanodaro nei, ko vadini kuramba vachitonga kusvika madhongi amera nyanga. Ivo vakagadzira maballot paper acho vane moyo yakaoma, inga mari ndiwo mudzi wezvitadzo. Dai wedenga avatungamira uye tinovatenda nekuvapa mari yakawanda isingaperi. Iye ndiMwari anerudo, anoziva zvaakaronga uye achaita sokuda kwake. SADC isangano rembwende, vasina chavanoziva, vasina uchenjeri, AU isangano risipo, risina chinangwa, rinotumira vaneunyanzwi vokubira nokudzvinyirira vanhu kunyika kwavo, saka kutarisira kubatsirwa navo, zvakafanana nekutarisira kutswanya dombo kugadzira upfu hwesadza. Asika, mbuya vakandipedzisira vachiti, ' Chisinga peri chinoshura musoro wegudo chave chinokoro'. Tikaisa misoro pamwe semakwai, wedenga uchativhurira nzira, uye nzira iripo. Cry the beloved country

Musvipiwa Samajudha - 4 August 2013

I share the same feelings with fellow Zimbabweans. Level headed people have been shocked. It hurts me so much to see some of us losing focus. Some people are venting their anger to the wrong people. To suggest that MDC-T should have shunned the elections is one such unbelievable option. If they had shunned the elections (MDC-T), the elections would have been conducted anyway, and legitimised Zanu PF government. The party would have saved a lot, they would not have not hired rigging specialists. If we show our loss of focus and point fingures at Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC-T, we are only showing how effective the Zpf propaganda has worked, and how hopeless we have become. The darkest hour is at dawn, lets remain resolute, and freedom is coming.

Musvipiwa Samajudha - 4 August 2013

Ini ndiri muvakidzani neZimbabwe, asi ndiri kuchema kana ndikafunga nekutarisa kushupwa, kushungudzwa kwevana veZimbabwe. Zvinodiwa neruzhinji rwenyika handizvo zvavari kuwana. Dai mwari apindira uye abvise satani pakati pevana veZimbabwe

matotomba - 4 August 2013

I need guns to fight for my stolen vote. I will receive training to eliminate all those I perceive as enemies of Zimbabwe, those who stole and subverted a peoples' victory

never dhliwayo - 5 August 2013

I need guns to fight for my stolen vote. I will receive training to eliminate all those I perceive as enemies of Zimbabwe, those who stole and subverted a peoples' victory

never dhliwayo - 5 August 2013

zimba's are the damest nation i know ,

admo - 8 August 2013

Madofo writing nonsense. IF, you were struggling you would not find this time to write this rubbish. You are so gullible to believe whatever any foreign organization make claims that you want to hear. They know that you want to hear about rigging this, rigging that, with no evidence at all. They know that the minority in the Mdc-that, Mdc-ndunde they are a lazy lot who believe in anything without raising a finger. Everyone was bussed, ink-this, ink that, voters roll this, assisted voters this,Nikiv this, Chiefs that, Military this, 500,000 Mdc-T VOTERS tHIS, ALL unregistered voters are MDC-T Voters....! All sorts of nonsensical.

zec vs Tsvangison - 9 August 2013

The truth is there they are trying to hid it with a finger

Bester - 10 August 2013

The truth is there they are trying to hid it with a finger

Bester - 10 August 2013

Why did the opposition parties participate if they new that the voters roll was shambolic? if they had won, were they going to accept it?

T Chiendambuya - 14 August 2013

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