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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Monthly Monitor – July 2013
Peace Project (ZPP)
August 15, 2013
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The nation held
its breath throughout the period under review with elections
slated for July 31. It was a period marked by uncertainty whether
elections will be held or not with different pointers from Zanu-PF
insisting that elections be held come rain or thunder. On the other
hand, the MDC-T was contesting the whole election arrangement; its
legality and other administrative issues regarding the elections
and thirdly SADC’s position of wanting the elections postponed
by another two weeks hit a brick wall. The month kicked off with
a number of court cases, voter registration, special voting, party
campaign meetings and finally the election itself which resulted
in Zanu-PF and President Mugabe being declared winners with a 61%
win. However, the MDC-T immediately refused to concede defeat citing
a plethora of issues.
In terms of
human rights violations, the period under review recorded the least
number of violations in the last three months with 496 violations.
Manicaland with 115 violations had the highest violations followed
by Masvingo (78) Mashonaland West (64). Matebeleland North had the
lowest figures recording just 10 violations. Indeed, the country
projected a semblance of ‘peace and tranquillity’, may
be, the people understood the peace messages from the political
leadership. However, gurus in peace studies such as Galtung rightly
observed that “peace is not the absence of physical violence”
Thus when assessing the pre-election environment that existed, the
need to look at other variables rather than just one aspect of physical
violence becomes paramount. Thus other forms of violence such as
structural violence where employed against the people. For example,
the presence and partisan actions of structures such as war veterans,
military personnel, the police, terror bases, traditional leaders
and denial of food have to be considered in order to clearly judge
the environment as just, free and fair.
As the political
heat increased, civil and political rights of citizens tumbled.
Daily priorities of the common person became intertwined intricately
with party campaigns. Shops and businesses closed when President
Robert Mugabe addressed star rallies in specific areas such as Chitungwiza
and Mutare. Further, the campaigns also affected people’s
livelihoods since they were being shuttled to attend rallies, some
voluntarily and yet some without consent leaving their daily chores
in order to attend political rallies. Zanu-PF being fingered as
the main violator in this regard. For example, on the 25th of July
people were ferried to Mucheke stadium in Masvingo in lorries, buses,
kombis and even a train was assigned for attendance purposes. Some
of the villagers came from as far as Chirumanzu, Mwenezi and Chiredzi.
However, after the rally they were left without transportation and
Freedom of assembly
and association, right to vote and secrecy of the vote became seriously
compromised. Zanu-PF long term investment in structures of coercion
in the form of war veterans, traditional leaders, youths and security
members appear to have paid off. Zanu-PF resurrected these structures
of coercion across the country towards the elections. They indeed
obliged and instilled psychological fear among communities. On 22/7/13,
in Zoma area ward 1 (Gutu west- Masvingo), a Zimbabwe National Army
serving member who is a colonel and war veteran reportedly shocked
the community when in his address to the community he warned them
against voting for the MDC-T lest the ghost
of June 2008 returns to haunt them. He reportedly mentioned
some names of people from ward 1 and 2 who were killed during that
dark era and told the people that Zanu-PF was prepared to kill.
In Mazowe West (Mashonaland Central), Zanu-PF militia bases were
established at Watakai Farm. Youths were recruited and there was
a door-to-door campaign meant to force people to vote for Zanu-PF.
Day, incidences of voters being shepherded to polling stations by
Zanu-PF activists such as traditional leaders, war veterans and
youths were reported throughout the country. Very articulate and
educated people like teachers were forced to vote as assisted voters.
In areas such as Mutare South, Mazowe, and other areas, Zanu-PF
leaders and traditional leaders had books “Zanu-PF supervisor’s
election data book” where voters were entered after voting.
According to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission figures the number of
assisted voters nationally amounted to a massive 206 901 regardless
of the fact that Zimbabwe boasts of a 96% literacy rate. This high
number of assisted voters compromised the integrity and secrecy
of the ballot.
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