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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Time for critical decisions
    Students Solidarity Trust
    August 06, 2013

    The results of the just ended July 31 harmonized polls will go down into the history of elections as the most shocking and out rightly rigged results in Zimbabwe since our independence in 1980. As someone who joined the rest of progressive Zimbabweans in braving the chilly weather on Wednesday to exercise the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, the biggest question now on our lips is what happened and how did it happen? Furthermore one would beg to ask: do these results reflect the free will of the electorate and if does not whose will then does it reflect? Was this some form of protest vote against the MDC and if it was why are we not seeing wild celebrations by those claiming to have won the elections? Is this not a clear case of that level of rigging that even shocks the rigger?

    Having managed to cast the vote earlier on the day of polling (because l had decided to wake up at around 4:30 am to join the voting queue) l then decided to team up with other progressive colleagues to observe how the voting was progressing within the city of Harare. We managed to visit polling stations in Mt Pleasant, Dzivarasekwa, Kambuzuma, Warren Park, Mabelreign and Mbare. In Mt Pleasant we visited the polling station that was located at Mt Pleasant High School and were shocked upon arrival by the length of the queue as more than 500 potential voters were patiently waiting to get their chance to vote. The queue was moving slowly and some people were saying they had joined the queue at around 6am in the morning and were slowly getting frustrated at the pace the queue was moving. Some voters were actually taking it up with the police asking why the queue was not moving.

    At Dzivarasekwa Command Centre we found more than 100 people who had been turned away from their wards queuing to check their names in the voters roll. These are people who have participated in more than three previous elections who suddenly found their names missing from the voters’ roll. Some were told that their names are in the voters’ roll but appearing in the wrong constituency and surprisingly this case affected many registered voters we interacted with on the day of voting.

    After visiting the polling stations in the areas l have alluded to above we realized that on average 50 potential voters were turned away and the reasons being either that of your name being found in the wrong constituency or that of your name missing from the voters’ roll. Those whose names were not found in the voters’ roll but had registration slips were allowed to vote. The idea of allowing people who are not in the voters roll to vote because they have registration slips created an avenue of rigging as we are not sure how many voted using these slips and also the reasons why someone who had registered within the stipulated time would fail to appear in the voters roll. However, most of the people we interviewed did not have the registration slips by virtue of the fact that they have always been in the voters’ roll and had voted in the previous elections. The issue of people who failed to vote but had voted in previous elections can only be attributed to a deliberate and systematic disenfranchisement of voters as mentioned by ZESN (Zimbabwe Election Support Network) that more than 970 000 potential voters failed to vote because of these artificially manufactured technicalities. In reality more people did not manage to vote in this election as results officially announced by ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) indicate that 3.5 million people managed to vote in this election out of 6.4 million registered voters.

    As the SST we believe this is the time for the MDC-T to seriously reflect and come up with critical decisions in light of the results of these harmonized elections. There is no doubt whatsoever that the poll has been rigged in one party’s favor and this has left many people disappointed. The MDC-T, as the people’s project must come out clean and give the millions of people a message of hope, that hope people have been carrying since its formation that one day the party will make it and attend to the numerous challenges affecting the nation. The people want to know as soon as possible whether you will legitimize this charade by participating at parliament, senate and local government level. The people would not want this charade to divide the party as this is the most critical moment in the history of democracy in the country. This is not the time for inconsistencies; we have had that before and now know the dangers of being inconsistent.

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