Zim back to square one

HARARE - After all the immense effort by South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) over the past five years, Zimbabwe is now back to square one.

Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are firmly back in the saddle on their own, having ejected Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), their uneasy bedfellows in the so-called unity government over the past four years.

Last Wednesday, Zimbabweans went to the polls and officially re-elected Mugabe with a 61 percent to 33 percent majority over Tsvangirai and officially elected Zanu PF MPs to Parliament with a majority over MDC of more than two thirds, if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is to be believed.

Tsvangirai has rejected the election as a “huge farce” and alleged immense vote rigging, mainly through a voters’ roll which he says was grossly manipulated.

Maybe Tsvangirai is just reacting to the shock of an unexpectedly large defeat.

But let us just say the circumstantial evidence of rigging is abundant.

First, Zec delivered the voters’ roll to the opposition parties too late for them to check it properly.

The roll allegedly includes about 100 000 people over the age of 100, many people with the same identity numbers, many people who had been moved inexplicably from their proper constituencies, etc.

The AU election observer mission, especially, criticised the late delivery of the voters’ roll, and listed some of the consequent concerns, such as many voters being unable to vote because they turned up at the wrong voting stations.

It also noted other concerns such as the printing of 35 percent more ballot papers than the number of registered voters, which it said was way above the “international best practice” of a 5-10 percent surplus, and the unusually high number of voters who had to be assisted to vote.

Because of these concerns neither the AU nor Sadc election observer missions could pronounce the election “fair”, though they both called it “free”, mainly, it seems, because there was far less violence and intimidation reported than in 2008.

Fairness, needless to say, is crucial.

An unaudited voters’ roll could, theoretically, have disenfranchised enough MDC voters and enfranchised enough fictitious Zanu PF voters to have changed the outcome.

Whether or not that happened we do not know yet and may never know.

Tsvangirai has announced a forensic audit of the election which he intends using in a challenge to the results to the Sadc, the AU and the courts.

In the meantime, though, one can only say that a largely unscrutinised voters’ roll and the existence of two million-odd extra ballots certainly created the opportunity for extensive rigging.

For example, Tsvangirai got about the same number of votes — 1,1 million, this time as he got in 2008 when he beat Mugabe in the first round of the presidential poll.

But Mugabe more than doubled his vote from just over a million in 2008 to 2,1 million in 2013.

Were those extra one million-plus voters for Mugabe all real?

Where did they all come from?

Tsvangirai’s challenge to the results is almost certainly doomed to fail.

The courts are stacked against him. And so, probably, is Africa.

The Sadc has urged him to accept the results, even while declaring it is too soon to pronounce them fair.

President Jacob Zuma has gone further by offering his “profound” congratulations to Mugabe on his victory and also urging Tsvangirai to accept it “as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people”.

That is patently untrue. The observers did no such thing.

But one can understand why he said it.

Zuma was the Sadc’s facilitator of the negotiations among the Zimbabwe parties that were supposed to lead to a free and fair election, the outcome of which would not be contested.

That mission has patently not been accomplished, but Zuma cannot accept what is not only an evident defeat for democracy but also for himself. He has failed the people of Zimbabwe.

Comments (4)

You jornos never cease to amaze, why did zuma fail zimbabweans? are yousaying the only acceptable result was supposed to be an MDC win? then why did we waste tax payer money holding elections if tsvangson and his dump MDC team were winners? if that mentality continues to exist in MDC and its supporters then they are destined to fail in all the coming elections, because its called taking voters for granted. Clever people will look at themselves and ask a simple question? why would zimbabweans vote zanu pf over us? if you honestly answer that question you will be able to craft strategies that will make you reconnect with the people and probably, get me right probably you can outmaneuver zanu pf

pop - 7 August 2013

i wonder how many years does one need to go to school to be able to have a little awareness of realizing some simple events that happen around you and dont have the capability to calculate for themselves that 2+2 does not equal 5. Some things are blatently in front of ones eyes and we just choose to ignore them or we are just blatently stupid.

little one - 7 August 2013

Guys let just let go for relections lets start everything again bobo will never take us any where his policies has distroyed our life he must all back those whites, open all the closed industries,those chines will not take us no where, stop taking companies for other people he just open an even playing field not taking other peoples coys you need to pay share price where some of us ge the money manje zvukutora makambani ndizvo zvinounza masanctions nekuti anozimaabuses koo iwe mudhara ndiudze kuti koo murambatsvina vakauitirei iwewe waida black empowerment chokwati vanhu chaiwo vakakuvoterai zanu pf92 000 nhamba iyoyo ndiyo inokodzerana nemi chero w ncube makamubira angada mudhara atonganyika for 33 years achiondonda ndiani zvinogore rinopakasaitwa manew electins hamuitongi nyika iyoyo tichaumburuzana kusvika zvanaka ndinopika hamutotengeki

DOFO - 7 August 2013

Guys, lets move on. Most people did not accept the election results, but are we now going to be talking about this like parrots? Lets forget and look forward. Infact Morgan could have been President in 2008 but due to his cowardice, he joined ZANU-PF and he is a source of our misery. Zimbos, lets move on in life

ben Phiri - 8 August 2013

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