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Zanu PF win 'highly organised'
August 15, 2005,,2-11-1662_1754257,00.html

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.

The researchers, Tony Reeler and Kuda Chitsike, said this was clearly a very sinister interpretation of the evidence, but that it could be corroborated.

Evidence suggested 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.

The researchers said one objection to the theory might be to point to the conclusion of observer groups that these were "not violent elections".

However, they 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 consequences.

This involved 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.

The researchers 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.

"The political 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 Assembly.

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