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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Zimbabwe election: Bitter fallout begins
Harding, BBC News
Augsut 01, 2013
If you think
election campaign was bitter and polarizing - wait for the furious
new battle taking shape in a country that rarely finds "closure"
at the bottom of a ballot box.
Before the official results
are even announced, and before the legal challenges are even drafted,
the fight now begins for control of the narrative - of the "true
story" of what just happened to Zimbabwean democracy.
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has been quick off the mark, condemning
the entire process - apart from the counting, anyway - as "a
sham" and "a huge farce".
Its numerous complaints
- from the rushed and flawed voter registration process, to the
last minute release of the voters' roll, to the exclusion of "almost
40% of voters" on polling day itself - will no doubt form the
basis of numerous court battles in the weeks ahead.
objections are given added weight by the largest network of people
monitoring the election. ZESN
had 7,000 "trained and accredited citizen observers" nationwide
and quickly concluded that the elections have been "seriously
compromised by a systematic effort to disenfranchise up to a million
But that combined narrative
faces a formidable opponent in the shape of President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF, and it's likely the various regional and international
organisations with observer teams in the country.
Unnamed Zanu-PF officials
have already been quoted as celebrating "a landslide victory"
and assuming the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announces something
similar in the coming hours Mr Mugabe will swiftly claim another
As he showed
after the violence
and chaos of 2008, he's a hard man to dislodge.
It will be interesting
to see what happens with the parliamentary vote too could Zanu-PF
even win a two-thirds majority enabling them to amend the new constitution?
Zanu-PF will no doubt,
as it has done before, dismiss ZESN as a propaganda arm of the MDC,
funded by colonial Western forces.
The African Union's small
team of observers have already described the process as "orderly
Although Zimbabwe's neighbours,
in the form of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc),
have expressed some concern about the handling of the voters' roll,
they have also shown no inclination to challenge President Mugabe
seriously on the bias in the state media and the open partisanship
shown by the security services.
The AU and SADC may query
and investigate individual incidents, but at this stage there is
no indication that they will find grounds to challenge the overall
results of the election.
All of which leaves Britain,
the European Union, the United States and others in something of
a pickle. Having been barred from sending in their own election
monitoring teams, they have effectively sub-contracted their judgement
If they are seriously
unhappy with the outcome, the West can dangle the threat of more
sanctions in front of Mr Mugabe.
But he has spent five
years using those sanctions as a highly effective propaganda tool
at home even at the age of 89 he remains a consummate and ruthless
And there is a discernable
sense that much of the outside world Britain and a handful of other
countries apart - has simply grown tired of Zimbabwe's democratic
allergies and would rather grudgingly accept a flawed result than
go through another five years of haggling and misery.
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