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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Daily Election Report - Issue 18
    The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
    August 01, 2013

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    Private stations report numerous violations

    Despite numerous reports of a high voter turnout and peaceful voting, the private media suggested that this did not reflect a credible election since it had been affected by so many irregularities.

    For example, SW Radio Africa reported the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) claiming that large numbers of voters, especially in rural areas like Chegutu and Murehwa, were instructed by traditional leaders and police to pretend they did not know how to vote so as to allow the traditional leaders and policemen to ‘assist’ them to vote.

    Studio 7 also reported that thousands of people in Mudzi, Uzumba, Maramba- Pfungwe and other areas in Mashonaland Central, were forced to declare that they were illiterate in order to be assisted by Zanu-PF youths and war veterans to vote for President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

    SW Radio Africa quoted the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum claiming that fewer polling stations were established where higher levels of support for the MDC-T was expected and these stations were taking much longer to process voters. For example, at Greengrove polling station in Harare a queue of 55 people took more than 120 minutes to process 20 voters.

    Other reports indicated a heavy police presence at, and even inside, polling stations. For example, at Mufakose High School polling station as many as 15 police officers were reportedly in the polling station, some seated beside the Presiding Officer. SW Radio Africa noted this was a clear violation of the electoral law and represented an attempt to intimidate voters.

    Other irregularities reported on SW Radio Africa included:

    • Scores of South African-based Zimbabweans, who had travelled to Zimbabwe by bus on Wednesday, were left stranded at the border, after police at Beitbridge impounded at least six coaches they were travelling in.?
    • Various cases of intimidation of people queuing to vote
    • Groups of Zanu-PF supporters campaigning within 200m of polling stations in violation of the electoral laws

    In contrast, ZBC stations ignored these developments except for the arrest of MDC-T officials “intending to rig elections”, and focused instead, on the smooth voting process and large turnouts around the country.

    In addition to broadcasting a live ‘cross-over’ to the ZEC command centre at the Harare International Conference Centre, the state media carried other reports endorsing the elections. These included statements by stakeholders, such as the Africa Union observer mission and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in (CCJP) endorsing the elections. For example the head of the AU observer mission, Olusegun Obasanjo said, “For now I don’t see anything serious enough to doubt the (election’s) credibility if it continues like this”.

    ZBC stations, ZiFM and Star FM also carried round-ups of the election progress in various provinces, districts and wards. Other reports castigated the MDC-T. For example, ZTV reported that the police had “unearthed a rigging scam in which some MDC-T officials were attempting to discredit the electoral process by stealing the voters’ roll and SV 11 forms”. The report quoted chief police spokesperson Charity Charamba saying, “No wonder why the MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai during the campaign, indicated that he was going to announce the results himself and has been singing this rigging tune all along. Contrary to his utterances, indications and evidence on the ground seem to suggest that it is MDC-T that is intending to rig these elections”.

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