Zanu PF already rigging 2018 poll: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says President Robert Mugabe and his warring ruling Zanu PF — fearful of receiving an even bigger poll shellacking than they got in 2008 — are already working feverishly to steal next year’s make-or-break harmonised elections.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the former prime minister during the era of the stability-inducing government of national unity was gravely concerned by the “overwhelming information” that the MDC had received, which pointed to the fact that Zanu PF was “already in the process of stealing next year’s elections”.

Among some of the “dirty methods” the ruling party — which is wracked by its deadly tribal, factional and succession wars — was allegedly using to rig the 2018 polls, was hijacking the country’s biometric voter registration (BVR) process, as well as abusing traditional leaders.

Tsvangirai’s concerns emerged as the MDC president was concluding his successful tour of Mashonaland East, where he interacted with traditional leaders — who opened up on how they were already being roped in by Zanu PF to become part of the rigging apparatus to ensure victory for the ruling party in 2018.

This all comes as much controversy has erupted over the past few weeks, following the government’s suspicious decision to sideline the United Nations’ Development Programme (UNDP) in the procurement of the BVR kits, with unanswered questions being raised about how and where Mugabe’s stone-broke administration was suddenly able to secure funding for this to the staggering tune of $17 million.

“There is a plan by Zanu PF to steal next year’s elections. We have been on the ground here in Mashonaland East and what we are seeing and hearing is that Zanu PF wants to steal the next elections again, after they took over the BVR process, in addition to commandeering chiefs, village heads and headmen on board this devious scheme.

“However, we will do all that we can to ensure that traditional leaders are not abused and absorbed into Zanu PF structures? Indeed, the rights of traditional leaders must and will be observed,” the resolute Tamborinyoka said.

Traditional chief after traditional chief had apparently told Tsvangirai during his tour of the restive Mashonaland East Province, which is traditionally a Zanu PF stronghold, that they were being forced to not only join the ruling party, but to also lead its cells and wards — and to actively work to help rig next year’s polls.

“The fearful village heads all said they were forced to be chairpersons of Zanu PF’s cells. That way, Zanu PF will coerce them to frog-march people to vote for the ruling party.

“So, the sum total of Zanu PF’s ploy is that it is assimilating traditional leaders into its partisan structures, abusing them in the process,” Tamborinyoka added.

The president of the chiefs’ council, Fortune Charumbira, was not reachable for a comment yesterday. However, he has previously and controversially declared that every traditional leader is duty bound to support the ruling party, which often pampers them with goodies, money and luxury vehicles ahead of elections.

Much concern has also been raised after Zanu PF, which always abuses State resources to bribe and intimidate rural voters in particular, is said to be communicating the scandalous message that through the BVR process “it will capture and establish the fingerprints of villagers” and thus be able to identify and punish those who will vote for opposition parties.

“Fear and intimidation are emerging to be the key issues in Mashonaland East. The community leaders cited very specific names of the culprits, as well as incidents to explain how fear, coercion and intimidation were the major instruments being used by Zanu PF to cow villagers and keep rural communities at ransom.

“But the president (Tsvangirai) assured them that the people’s vote was secret and that it was a lie by Zanu PF that they would be able, through the BVR process, to see where the people had placed their vote,” Tamborinyoka said.

Apart from intimidating villagers, Zanu PF also continues to dish out food hampers, including rice, while also falsely claiming that the monthly allowances that traditional leaders get will be withdrawn should another party come into power.

“The fact is that this is not Zanu PF money, and Zanu PF should not misrepresent itself as the State. The president also emphasised this to the traditional leaders,” Tamborinyoka said.

Since last year, the MDC — working with other opposition parties through the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) — has been demanding comprehensive electoral reforms to level the political playing field.

It has also been engaging the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), which it says is infested with Zanu PF functionaries who are there only to look after the interests of the ruling party.

MDC secretary-general and Nera legal advisor, Douglas Mwonzora, told the Daily News yesterday that there was need to carefully analyse why the government had “from the blue” chosen to go it alone in the procurement of BVR kits.

“It was agreed that the procurement of the BVR kits would be done by Zec through the UNDP. Consequently, a joint advertisement was flighted by the UNDP and Zec calling upon all potential suppliers of these kits to place their bids.

“These bids were opened at the UNDP offices in Copenhagen and this was witnessed by both Zec and political parties. It was further agreed that once the winner of the tender was declared, political parties would second their technical experts to inspect these kits.

“But suddenly, the government announced that it was taking over the BVR kits procurement process. Among other things, this means that the government will now select the supplier of these kits.

“Political parties and other key stakeholders will thus not be able to monitor the process,” Mwonzora pointed out.

With the experience of the 2013 election results, where an Israeli company, Nikuv, allegedly manipulated the vote in favour of Zanu PF, there are fears that Zanu PF will temper with next year’s crucial elections.

“Nera totally rejects this move because it is designed to enable the government to manipulate the procurement process. That way, the government will also manipulate the 2018 election process.

“In other words, this move marks the beginning of the rigging of the 2018 elections . . . To this end  Nera is organising nationwide demonstrations to show the people’s outrage at this political abomination. Thus all Zimbabweans  irrespective of their political affiliation are called to action,” Mwonzora added.

Comments (17)

Biometric voter registration (BVR) should be done by an independent board and not by the president and his? ZANU-PF. Also abusing traditional leaders by politicing them undermines democracy and this? should be stopped by all means. Involvement of the ZANU-PF regime in the aquisation of the biometric voter registration kits raises eyebrows as it is clealy seen that they are all after rigging for the 2018 elections. The Mugabe regime should not be allowed to steal the people's vote this time around as they did in 2013 and in other preceeding elections The process of voter registration should be done by Zimbabwe Electoral Commision (ZEC), an independent board which is transparent and impartial in all their work. BVR process needs to be safegaurded for the purpose of 2018 general elections. All electoral stakeholders should have trust and confidence in the whole process which in the end must safegaurd against the disenfranchisement of any potential voters. ZANU-PF cannot be found being able to adhere to the regional and international standards as well as uphold intergrity, credibility, openess, transparency and inclusiveness as they will work in their favour. It is very good that this has been uncovered early enough so much that measures can be taken to prevent it in whatever manner possible. ZANU-PF have been in this game subverting the electoral system - using various tactics such as control of the media, vote fixing, intimidation and many others. Because of this, Mugabe and ZANU-PF have won all national elections since independence and yet their actual support is going down because of depeening economic crisis brought about as a result of bad policies. In addition, it is proper to oppose manipulation of chiefs by the ruling party, not only during local, provincial and national elections, but on respect of other programmes which are supposed to benefit all people such as grain and food stuff distribution to farmers in rural areas and in poor communities. However, chiefs should avoid executing their roles on political party lines, and hence become partial manipulated by the ruling party as this will result in the loss of trust by the communities to which they are accountable. MDC-T is trying its level best how the chiefs can use their positions and influence to restore justice, democrcy and peace in Zimbabwe in preparation for 2018. In this case, if the Mugabe ZANU-PF party or government wishes to indulge itself in this BVR process, it must ensure and assure citizens that elections will be held in a free and fair environment with the SADC guidelines and principles for conducting democratic elections and the agreed road map to elections.

Pythias Makonese - 2 March 2017

these so-called rural people and the cheif are our relatives that we financially and materially support everytime. why then don't we enlighten them of the hazards of voting zanu and why do we let them trust zanu after just a 10kg of rice that comes towards election time? we need to read the riot act to our own folks this time that if they vote zanu for rice then havalume for the next five years.

josphat mugadzaweta - 2 March 2017

Has anyone read this, i think i' ve heard it before from other politicians, all i can say is ............Save has failed to win more than once, he is now a serial looser who should do the honourable thing and step down, and make way for fresh legs.he looks tired now and should just go and rest, there is no difference between his 16 years and 36 year. we have heard enough of him, there is nothing new that he can deliver, and that includes Chamisa, Mudzuri and his so called Save chete chete boys....who are only driving their own agenda of greed, hold own to him as if they care,..... they are both using each other..... we are not stupid guys, we can see your now think you own the povo, nothing lasts forever in politics.Save lost his mojo in 2008 that was when his graph was at peak point, after that its just been a downward spiral.... SAVE taneta newe, hatichakudei, and tajakujamukirai, sesijikile and asisakufuni....its time to hit the road.... you have outlived your sell by date.

viola - 2 March 2017

Tell people that if zanu losses it will be powerless simple tell pple that , To defend themselves they must not vote for zanu and if zanu losses and still beat them the new govt and other nations will defend them and rest all the thugs . they must go in large numbers to vote against zanu if they do that zanu will never beat them again . That is the msg pple need to be told IF ZANU LOSSES IT WILL BE POWERLESS AND OUT OF POWER . .

Diibulaanyika - 2 March 2017

Wishful thinking by a zanu moron of course Save is our best guard and only viable presidential material the country has at present . As far as all sane zimbos know he has never lost in a free and fair election but he has elections rigged by zanu who threaten and force pple to vote for them . VIVA Morgan iyinkunzi .

Diibulaanyika - 2 March 2017

I would rather vote for Tswangison than for a 94yrs granny who is almost dead . Guqula izenzo vote Mogiza ngenkani

SIBONGILE - 2 March 2017

MDC-T never lost elections in Zimbabwe. Its nuisance for anyone to assume that he lost elections. No one can stand in front of the nozzle of a gun and be fired and not die. But people of Zimbabwe want MDC-T to do that. Citizens do go and vote, votes are counted based on the number of the registered voters not based on the votes cast. Results are announced based on what Mugabe wants them to be. RGM has appointed Zembe a active member of the CIO. The military who are the safe guards of any transfer of power are in the palm of RGM and ZANU PF. Its known and document how partisan the military, ZRP and CIO are to ZANU PF. People of Zimbabweans do not want to face the dictator for fear of loosing life. If Mugabe and ZANU PF does not count the voted ballot papers, they do not demonstrated that democratic power of right to be heard. So far there is no military back up for MDC-T to ensure transfer. ZANU PF has military back up that there is no transfer of power. During 1980, RGM had that military back up that power is transferred. This is the only think that need to happen, ZANU PF as ZANLA and ZIPRA did it with assistance of the international community, and the neigbouring countries. We all saw what happened in Gambia and Ivory Coast, ECOWAS stepped in. SADC leaders are stogies, they emulate RGM and ZANU PF, they envy him as they are dictators in some way. Botswana is to small to make an impact military and population to assist MDC-T

amina - 2 March 2017

Tell people to go in millions to vote against zanu if zanu losses it will be powerless finish and klaa Lets not bring other complicated matters IF ZANU LOSSES HEAVILY IT WILL BE POWERLESS . noma kanjani if that happens they will not have power to beat up pple again and pple in rural areas need that info a s a p that they must not vote for zanu no matter what theat but vote agaisnt it and that is the only way they can defend them selves by making sure zanu is powerless .

Diibulaanyika - 2 March 2017

Opposition Parties should start naming and shaming those they claim to be going around playing dirty. This will be an insurance to the masses intimidated that out there is someone watching. This is not the time to give blanket statements but time to play guards to the vulnerable masses. If it is Donkey who was in Mash West on 0 day and gathered for a meeting and ended up intimidating then say it at least people there will know that Donkey was being watched.

Nhodo - 2 March 2017

@ Nhodo you said it all no hiding of names of violence doers mention them straight away and say where they are and did that so the world can know them including the chiefs who mark registers of their subjects who voted name them pliz .The world need to know these stone age thinkers .Above all rural folks must be told if zanu losses they will be no war bcoz zanu will be powerless . As of now they do not know that .They still think zanu will still beat them up even if it losses which is total lies which won zanu elections for Mugabe in the past .

Diibulaanyika - 2 March 2017

In America where democracy is practiced at acceptable levels,candidate only tries once,if twice may b at different separated times,at least not consecutively then agrees to stand aside,to allow others to try of the same party,why then SAVE want to b the only one all the time,after attempting several times &failing?whatz the difference fr his style & that of Mugabe? Always having the Mugabe-Tsvangirai presidential race every election year.Two similar dictators who don't give way for others.How then Tsvangison can b elected to Zimbabwe House,if he exhibit such undemocratic styles

addmore Gudo - 2 March 2017

Tsvangirai fans pliz answer the above question by me

Addmore Gudo - 2 March 2017

first tell your Mugabe to go who has been power for close to forty years . More so Morgan is not in power and you can not compare a first world to a third world unless if you are insane or you are a bobjan .

Diibulaanyika - 2 March 2017

We have heard that nonsense from ZANU PF many times and its no more selling it simply utter rubbish Save is our hope uyathanda or awuthandi pasi na Mugabe .

SIBONGILE - 2 March 2017

Without a meaningful and respectful Coalition which allows the people of Zimbabwe to choose their successor to Mugabe zanu will be ruling again after 2018 polls. Allow the people of Zimbabwe to choose their preferred Presidential Candidate from a pool of willing to be Presidents from coalition partners and ordinary Zimbabweans. Tsvangirai will most likely win that and that way he will be acceptable to the electorate because he has won not imposed on the Coalition. Use the same procedure to select the parliamentary candidate for the coalition. It does not matter if another party does not win any. Put the country first we need the winner not the imposed candidate on us. This process should be open to the people and transparent. There should not be any talk of rigging because zanu is not involved here. Just like how Trump was chosen by GOP to be their candidate to succeed Obama. If we don't retire Mugabe zanu wont. If Tsvangirai plays this one well he will be the greatest Zimbabwean ever. He should allow the people to choose him to be their candidate to succeed Mugabe. If the people chooses somebody he must support that individual, putting the country first before him and in turn the country will look after him.

NEWNATION - 2 March 2017

kkkkkk what coalition when we have only 2 political parties MDC T and ZANU PF . . So how do you form a coalition with someone who has no support no strong hold no nothing come on guys lets be serious stop day dreaming and stop talking about things that we do not know how they work .Its zanu or mdc t just that .

Dave - 2 March 2017

It means Diibulaanyika & sibongile have no points, are only reactionaries. Whatz first world,when we are all humans with the same properties to b human beings.Itz a clear tacit agreement by Diibulaanyika that Tsvangirai is not yet civil enough to b sensible like thoz in the so called first world & the rest of us & therefor unfit to b elected to Zimbabwe House where he can backwardly become another dictator like Kamuzu Banda of Malawi.But civilisation has already reached africa probably centuries ago.Africans are nolonger babarians

addmore Gudo - 2 March 2017

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