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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Intimidation reports cause for alarm
    The Zimbabwean
    August 01, 2013

    The Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum says the credibility of the entire polling process has been destroyed by reports of country-wide intimidation, threats of post-election violence and outright election rigging by President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

    Early trend reports from rural Mashonaland Central province warn that the “assisted voter” percentage is as high as 20 percent. In some cases, 100 percent of the voters were escorted by “minders”.

    “The high proportion of those were turned away at polling stations is another significant characteristic, with reports from the south of the country showing this figure to be more than 25 percent in some cases,” says a statement from the Forum.

    Earlier this week, Heal Zimbabwe Trust noted that the incoming violence and intimidation reports represented “a small window into what is going on in Zimbabwe right now in virtually all rural districts”.

    “We are receiving reports of this nature hourly and it would seem that these (Zanu-PF) threats of post-election punishment of communities on a collective basis is the basic strategy rather than beatings and killings prior to the election as in previous elections. In all cases the perpetrators are either Zanu-PF or military or traditional leaders linked to Zanu-PF,” the organisation wrote.

    This week Global Witness, an international NGO, urged SADC to fully investigate claims that President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party is attempting to rig voting in his favour.

    As guarantor of Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement, Global Witness said that SADC had major role to play in deciding whether Zimbabwe’s elections were viewed as credible by the international community.

    “As long as there’s no blood on the streets, SADC seems willing to give this election a stamp of approval. But in doing so, it would ignore the widespread intimidation and vote-rigging which appears to have taken place already. SADC must step up to its mandate and be prepared to take a stand against Zanu-PF if the vote appears flawed,” the organisation said.

    In a report released two days before the poll, the International Crisis Group said that SADC and the AU should be prepared to declare the results illegitimate and press for the elections to be run again after a minimum of three months.

    The Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum urges SADC and the African Union to ensure that this poll meets its own strict standards as provided for in the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections

    If the outcome is again contested as in 2008, there will be negative and security-threatening consequences for which these bodies should be prepared.

    Examples of the widespread intimidation and threats of violence reported to Heal Zimbabwe Trust and other organisations are listed below the map of Zimbabwe which shows the provincial boundaries.

    Masvingo Province

    Masvingo province in southeastern Zimbabwe has been heavily targeted by Zanu-PF for intimidation and violence in the run-up to this election. The party lost 14 seats in the 2008 elections and only secured 12 – a fact bemoaned by President Mugabe during an election rally on July 25.

    Zaka Central - Ward 14:
    According to Heal Zimbabwe Trust, Zanu-PF supporters led by a retired soldier identified as Erison Chihoni were moving around Madhonho village on July 28, harassing and intimidating villagers, and warning that if they did not vote for Zanu-PF in the coming elections they would all be killed.

    Zaka Central – Ward 9:
    On July 26, a Zanu-PF activist, Paradza Chentiasi, threatened villagers in Ward 9 and stressed that even if his party lost, it would not let the Presidential seat go to the MDC-T. He stated that an orgy of terror would be unleashed to punish everyone who voted for the opposition.

    During the brutal 2008 pre-Presidential run-off election violence, the MDC offices in Zaka were petrol bombed after five people had been locked inside by a soldier from the area.

    Survivors of the violence reported that thousands of opposition members had been maimed and many had been killed. Houses and property had been destroyed and livestock stolen.

    On September 30, 2012 an elderly MDC-T ward chairman from Ward 8, Nelson Vhudzijena (72), was hospitalised at St Anthony’s Musiso Mission Hospital following a petrol bomb attack by Zanu-PF.

    Gutu West – Ward 31:
    A headman of Maorera village, Diva Mudzana, was reported to be intimidating people and telling them that his party would monitor serial numbers on every vote cast for the MDC-T.

    He said that if anyone was suspected of using the serial numbers, he or she would be "dealt" with vigorously on August 1.

    Gutu West – Ward 29:
    On July 28, villagers of Mushaviri Business Centre were forced to attend a compulsory village meeting chaired by Colonel Mudyahoto and assisted by other ZANU PF supporters identified as Hwicho of Village 2 and Chiramba of Village 4.

    The villagers were warned that they had to vote at the following centres:

    Village Polling Station
    1, 2, 3 and 4 Mukaro Polling Station
    5 and 6 St Mary's Polling Station
    7, 8, 9, 10 and 15 Mushaviri Polling Station

    Colonel Mudyahoto said this was to ensure that his party could trace all its opponents more easily if it lost the forthcoming election.

    A Zanu-PF candidate in Gutu, Ticharwa Madondo who is a former air force officer, was reported to be intimidating villagers. On July 29 he told them that he has direct access to President Mugabe and had been told that Perence Shiri had been ordered to bomb all villages who would have voted MDC.

    The villagers were said to be so afraid that they would vote for Zanu-PF, despite being mostly MDC supporters.

    Bikita East – Ward 17:
    The day before the elections, Calisto Machaiyana and village headman Elias Mufambi held a “voting preparatory” meeting in Gorekwaro village. All people perceived to be MDC-T activists were assigned Zanu-PF activists who were to “assist” them to vote.

    A total of 80 people were assigned “voting assistants”, despite the fact that none of them are physically challenged.

    Bikita West – Ward 32:
    Notorious war veteran Jabulani Sibanda, who has previously threatened to kill MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai, held a meeting in Ward 32 at which he threatened villagers with death if ZANU PF lost the election.

    Mashonaland East Province

    Murehwa West - Ward 13:
    On July 25, Tobias Tsuro, an MDC activist and survivor of the 2008 political violence, was intimidated by two Zanu-PF activists who threatened they would kill him this time if the MDC won the polls.

    A Zanu-PF chairman, Innocent Mandere and Jennifer Chirenda, an aspiring Zanu-PF councillor for Ward 13, were reported the same week to be warning villagers that if they voted for the MDC-T they would be killed after the election if Zanu-PF lost.

    Mutoko – Ward 4:
    Two days before the elections, a headman, Michael Mandebvu, called a meeting at which he informed people that on July 31 they had to all congregate at his homestead then go to vote in the company of their respective village heads.

    He said this would be done to ensure that nobody voted for MDC-T.

    In Chitungwiza, a high density dormitory town south of Harare, Gilbert Chikuzeni, a Zanu-PF supporter, was reported by residents of Zengeza 4 to be moving around threatening people.

    He warned them that if Zanu-PF lost the elections, his party would repeat the 2008 political violence.

    Mashonaland Central Province

    Mazowe North – Ward 26:
    A group of Zanu-PF activists went around the ward on July 30 threatening that if Zanu-PF lost the elections there would be war in the country and MDC-T activists would be targeted.

    Muzarabani North – Ward 1:
    The wife and two children of an MDC-T supporter and polling agent, Timothy Sikende, were threatened with death by Zanu-PF activists on July 28 at 10h30 and had to move out of their home because they feared for their lives.

    Muzarabani North – Ward 24:
    On July 26, Gibson Mudhuvu of Chiwenga village escaped death by a whisker after his compound was invaded at midnight by three Zanu-PF activists, Ishmael Kagodo, a pro-Zanu-PF headman, Mugadza and Stephen Manuwere, who threatened to kill him.

    The matter was reported to Chadereka police station and the complainant was referred to Muzarabani police station.

    Murazabani South – Ward 22:
    On July 29, Ms Sarudzai Mutyavaviri, an aspiring Zanu-PF ward councillor, forced people to attend a political meeting at which she promised a repeat of the 2008 violence in the event that Zanu-PF lost the elections.

    Mutyavaviri is a well-known perpetrator of the 2008 political violence.

    Mashonaland West Province

    Chinhoyi – Ward 3:
    Mrs Theresa Magwenzi, a nurse at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, was visited on July 26 at her workplace by three Zanu-PF supporters who threatened her and her family with death because her husband defaulted from Zanu-PF to the MDC-T.

    Mrs Magwenzi informed her husband, Searchmore Madzudzo, who reported the matter to Chemagamba police station.

    The following day, four unidentified people visited Madzudzo’s house at 2am in a White Isuzu double cab with no vehicle registration plates. Madzudzo refused to let them in and they threatened to deal with him.

    He reported the incident to Chinhoyi Central police station. The docket number is 1843121.

    Magunje 2.3 Infantry Battalion soldiers Lt Jabulani Ben, Staff Sgt Nhamo Kamunhenga and Sgt Albert Matatre were assigned as polling officers at Magunje Charles Clark B school.

    At 20h20 on polling day, the MDC-T’s MDC chief election agent, Kasias Karengesha, was abducted from the Magunje Command Centre by two armed Gunmen in a blue Nevara. His whereabouts is as yet unknown.

    Earlier in the week finance minister Tendai Biti (MDC-T) complained that the military remained at the core of Zimbabwe’s electoral process and called into question the entire organisation, from logistics to result.

    Manicaland Province

    Chipinge South – Ward 28:
    On the eve of the elections, Zanu-PF MP candidate Enoch Porusingazi held a meeting in Garahwa village where he told all village heads to use every means necessary to ensure that everyone voted for Zanu-PF.

    Nyanga South – Ward 18
    Two days before the elections, on July 29 at 19:00 hours, Super Mandiwanzira, an aspiring Zanu-PF Member of Parliament candidate for Nyanga South, transported 100 bags of maize to Mapako Business Centre, situated next to Mapako Secondary School polling station.

    Following this, Chief Fungai Mushonga called for a meeting at the business centre the next day at 9am. At the meeting he showed people the maize and told them that if they did not vote for Zanu-PF, it would be taken back to Harare.

    Matebeleland South

    More than six buses carrying members of the South African Diaspora home to vote were stopped on the Zimbabwean side of the border. The buses were impounded and the passengers left stranded.

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