MDC considers mass protest

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said yesterday it could take to the streets to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s victory in an election it rejects as a farce and which faces scepticism from the West.

No results of the presidential vote on July 31 have been announced. But Mugabe’s Zanu PF has already claimed a resounding win and interim tallies of the parliamentary count suggest a massive victory for the 89-year-old, Africa’s oldest president, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.

While the African Union’s monitoring mission chief has called Wednesday’s peaceful polls generally “free and fair” — Western observers were kept out by Harare — domestic monitors have described them as “seriously compromised” by registration flaws that may have disenfranchised up to a million people.

Observers from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), a regional grouping, described the elections as “free and peaceful” and called on MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to accept the result.

Tsvangirai, who faces political annihilation in his third attempt to oust Mugabe at the ballot box, has already denounced the election as a “huge farce” marked by polling day irregularities and intimidation Western rejection of the regional African verdict on the Zimbabwean election could stir tensions with the continent, while acceptance of Mugabe’s victory will be slammed in countries where he is derided as a ruthless man responsible for rights abuses and trashing the economy.

The mood on the streets of the capital Harare was subdued yesterday as the MDC’s top leadership met at its headquarters to chart their next move, with everything from a legal challenge to street protests on the table.

“Demonstrations and mass action are options,” party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.

Some disappointed voters expressed disbelief at the election outcome.

“This is daylight robbery, but I think the MDC should have realised that, without violence, Zanu PF would still do something to cheat,” said McDonald Sibanda, a 34-year-old insurance salesperson. I’m disgusted by all this.”

An MDC protest campaign against the results could elicit a fierce response from security forces and pro-Mugabe militias, who were accused of killing 200 MDC supporters after Mugabe lost the first round of the last election in 2008.

“We didn’t expect this to happen,” said one senior MDC official who lost his seat. “We are gutted.”

Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler Britain, a sharp critic of Mugabe in the past, said it was concerned that Zimbabwe had not enacted important electoral reforms before the vote and by reports that large numbers of voters had been turned away.

The US government, which maintains sanctions in place against Mugabe, said “a peaceful and orderly election day does not by itself guarantee a free and fair outcome”.

“Now the critical test is whether voting tabulation is conducted in a credible and transparent manner, and whether the outcome truly reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe,” US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said in Washington.

Europe and the United States now face the awkward decision of what to do with the sanctions they have in place against Mugabe and his inner circle.

The Western scepticism contrasted with the assessment made by the AU election observer team leader, former Nigerian military leader and civilian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who while acknowledging “minor incidents” surrounding the July 31 poll said they were not enough to affect the overall result.

Obasanjo, whose own re-election in Nigeria in 2003 was marked by violence and widespread fraud allegations, broadly declared Zimbabwe’s elections “free and fair” on Wednesday within half an hour of the polls closing.

He repeated that line after a meeting with Mugabe on Thursday.

Tsvangirai has emphatically called the election “not credible” and appealed to the AU to investigate.

But Obasanjo declined to comment on his assertion, calling him “an interested party”.

The AU verdict, echoed by President Jacob Zuma of Zimbabwe’s powerful neighbour South Africa, suggest the MDC’s appeals for external pressure on Mugabe may be falling on deaf ears.

Zuma, main guarantor of the unity government in Zimbabwe brokered after the 2008 unrest, focused on the orderly conduct of the poll.

He ignored Mugabe’s refusal to heed calls from the MDC and international observers to reform bias in the state media and security forces, conditions specifically stipulated in the unity administration deal.

“Something good has happened in Zimbabwe. The elections were so peaceful,” he told the SABC state broadcaster.

But a Mugabe victory would pose problems for the West.

“This leaves the EU and US in an extremely difficult situation,” said Piers Pigou, director of the southern Africa project of International Crisis Group in Johannesburg.

The EU, which relaxed some sanctions early this year after a new constitution was approved in a referendum, said it was too early to assess the election’s fairness.

Given the sanctions, the view from the West is key to the future of Zimbabwe’s economy, which is still struggling with the aftermath of a decade-long slump and hyperinflation that ended in 2009 when the worthless Zimbabwe dollar was scrapped.

Comments (16)

Ngavasiyane nazvo izvo.

Ironhide - 3 August 2013

Let do away with the streets Morgan. kana newewo what is it really that you think Robert has done to the people to deserve a lanslide besides his aging and talk about the Zim dollar nonsense. People are giving him a false hope because of fear of the short sleeve and long sleeve memories of 2008 and his adamant use of all state instruments to maintain a 33 year dictatorial rule. He wants to rule so let him.. but soon hes going to crumble in as much as he rose

Doreen - 3 August 2013

I think the MDC-T MPs who won should just stand down in solidarity with the people and their president. The senators should just do the same. They should not allow Zanu-PF to divide them and cause trouble. Certainly Zanu-PF will embark on crack down against the MDC-T because their credibility would be in tartars. The MDC-T MPs should not sanitise Zanu-PF by taking up their seats in parliament. Let Zanu-PF rule 100% (one party state) and let us become a colony of China.

Gondobwe - 3 August 2013

Aaaaah chisingaperi chinoshura uchaendawoka zvakaita vamwe otisira isu vana Morgan tiripanyanga. Come thunder come hell Morgen will rule Zim like what Mandela did. Kana ndimiwo makambotaurirwa kunzi takawina kudhara bhora risati ratambiwa? That's was the gospel of Zanu months before the elections. Latest news the rigging company was given mines and farms.

Nosmas - 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

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

madyiwa ma mdc...manga makarara and zanu gave u a wake up call...zanu chiororo, makaura madyiwa

baba jukwa snr - 3 August 2013

PLZ PLZ, RATHER LET ALL ZANU PF RULE. MDC SHOULD JUST KEEP QUIET AND LET THEM DECEIVE THEMSELVES WITH FALSE VICTORIES

Debra - 3 August 2013

Mr Tsvangirai should not throw words around with useless abandon. Talk of street protest plays in the hands of Mugabe's police and soldiers; they would relish beating up MDC supporters. Tsvangirai should talk of resigning his MDC Presidency. He tried his best and must now pass on the batton may be to Tendai Biti. In the past few years Tsvangirai was more into looking for ZANU (PF) to marry than into planning to win elections. TSVANGIRAI MUST NOW STEP DOWN AND ALLOW BITI TO TAKE OVER.

Maricho - 3 August 2013

The simple thing Tsvangirai can do now is to go back to the old trick of calling for sunctions on the economy right away before they take his passport ,Protests will be met harshly by the police but poverty will make the people decide and reason even ZANU supporters

CASHTALK - 3 August 2013

Telling it like it is: Ex-Prime Minister (failed Presidential candidate) Tsvangirai my advise to you that accept defeat and apologise to your supporters locally and your Western backers for have failed them for the third time. As basically you are an honourable human being, I politely counsel you to resign from the helm of the MDC-T as before you are forcely to overthrown by those around you. Emulate ex-British Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and late Lady Margaret Thatcher who resigned when time was going.

Rabison Nyundo(THE HAMMER) - 3 August 2013

Makasara setarino. Tsvangirai already did the right thing and has withdrawn from politics completely for a total one party state-Zanu pf rule. He wont join any unity gvt, neither will any of his lieutenants participate in anything to do with power. its power they want and power we give you Zpf. Now its time you act. Thank you MRT. Let them have even the city councils. What do we lose from watching?

Pidigu - 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 - 4 August 2013

Tsvangirayi did not loose anything. We zimbos have lost big time. makanganwa chezuro nehope. kumama chete ipapa. that pain yekushaya zvinhu will be back soon. all mdc mps should step down and let bob hv all thge seats. but i dnt see this happing as many ppl in mdc seem to dherera their leader. they will stand as independents and later join zanu pf. we hv political prostiotutes in zim. very greedy.

shuto - 4 August 2013

Some Zimbos never cease to amaze me.Where on earth have you seen a country with a 91% literacy rate vote for an 89 year old.Only in zimboland. -where on earth have you seen a president who signs an agreement with another political leader swears to uphold the constitution and goes on to act with impunity?Only in Zimboland. -Where on earth have you seen an opposition political leader bashed,battered bruised and his wife killed and the commissioner of police is not answerable or even the minister?Only in Zimboland. -Where on earth have you seen people voting a clown like Chinos into parliament and all he does is farm people?Only in Zimboland. -Where on earth have you seen the voter's role availed less than 24 hours before the election?Only in Zimboland. -Where on earth have you seen 'election observers observing an election only during the day'.Do they think intimidation will happen in broad daylight and in their presence?This started way long back?Only in Zimboland -Where do you see video evidence of cheating being ignored?Only in Zimboland. -Where would you get a country's people whose unemployment rate is 90% voting the same government into power? only in Zimboland. *Zimbabweans need to retrace their steps and do a self introspection ans ask themselves what they really want.It never ceases to maze me that Zimbabweans thrust their fate in the hands of other people.SADC AU international community has to do this heee this that.Ask not what these people can do for you ask what you can do for yourself.Right now l am surprised by the 360 degree turnabout of some people who were with Morgan.Now it's Morgan's fault.if l were Morgan l would tell these people to F***off get onto a plane and enjoy my life somewhere.

Tongaiyitione - 4 August 2013

People should take to the streets, zimbabwe would not have been free had it taken to the bush. No blood no freedom, I will personally join the streets . Do not be fooled by ZANU-pf and the stinking generals. He biggest murder of all Mnangagwa should never be allowed to rule zimbabwe

Dr Mzee - 4 August 2013

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