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PF win 'highly organised'
August 15, 2005
Cape Town -
The irregularities that secured Zimbabwe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) victory in the March 2005
parliamentary elections appear to have been "highly organised",
say Idasa researchers in a new
study of the polls.
Tony Reeler and Kuda Chitsike, said this was clearly a very sinister
interpretation of the evidence, but that it could be corroborated.
that constituencies were "controlled" by state agencies
that determined movement in and out of the area and the frequency
of meetings and campaigning, and that provided support for the perpetrators
of political violence and the political use of food.
said one objection to the theory might be to point to the conclusion
of observer groups that these were "not violent elections".
believed it had been Zanu-PF's intention to avoid overt violence
and to take advantage of the effects of previous elections campaigns,
where there was violence.
They said: "By
way of analogy, the frequently battered wife learns very quickly
to adopt the right posture when her drunk husband comes home and
starts shouting and waving his arms around."
In the polls,
Zanu-PF, which had been in power during five years of massive economic
and social decline in Zimbabwe, was re-elected with a huge majority.
They said: "That
this was unusual in the world of politics is an understatement."
They also said
it seemed possible that Zanu-PF found a way to forestall opposition,
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), objections to the legitimacy
of the election as a whole, which would have had regional political
the leaking of results that indicated obvious vote rigging, and
which "hooked the MDC, line and sinker."
It would appear
from the MDC's confused response in the immediate aftermath of the
polls that there was much agonising over whether to reject the result
in toto or to test individual results in the courts.
said: "In the final analysis, the MDC went to parliament and
entered 31 petitions of objection and the election received sufficient
validation for regional counties to accept it with whatever private
reservations they might have had.
crisis that would have inevitably followed rejection of the poll
by the MDC was averted."
The data used by the Idasa researchers in compiling their report
came from a number of sources, including the MDC, but mostly from
the Zimbabwean civil society grouping the National Constitutional
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