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vote a pilot test for rigging by Zanu PF
July 20, 2013
vote meant for civil servants ended Tuesday drowned in massive irregularities
amid a lot of questions and aspersions regarding the numerous glitches
and bungling that were observed across the country. While fingers
pointed at ZEC, that it has become a cat’s paw incompetent
handling a credible,
free and fair election, the truth is that there is an invisible
hand to the chaos that we witnessed. The chaos were deliberate and
part of Zanu-PF shenanigans to manipulate the electoral process.
For those who do not
know, the just ended elections were a special vote that replaced
the postal ballot system and a special plebiscite was organized
for allegedly about 80,000 government personnel, who will be on
duty during the July 31 national elections. Many personnel were
unable to cast their ballots according to officials. Voting was
supposed to take place at 210 polling stations but the process was
slow and delayed ostensibly due to what electoral commission deputy
chair Joyce Kazembe said the problem was the printing of election
Joyce Kazembe acknowledged
the slow pace of voting but blamed the delays in printing and dispatching
of ballot papers. While some people may accept Kazembe's explanation
of logistical problems, it is foolhardy to ignore Zanu-PF’s
underhand and thickening plot in this process.
Police spokesperson Charity
Charamba admitted the election was shambolic. "Indications
on the ground are that it is now clear that members and officers
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police have been unable to exercise their
constitutional right to vote", she was quoted saying.
Although ZEC found itself
in the frying pan for "poor logistical coordination and lack
of readiness to conduct a credible poll," following chaos witnessed
during special voting, the failure by the police, soldiers and officials
to vote across Zimbabwe due to a range of problems like shortage
of ballot papers, ballot boxes and other materials not delivered
in time, there is every reason to suspect foul of the whole process.
The people of Zimbabwe must therefore carefully scrutinize all the
events of the voting days and avoid being diverted from the real
issue of "rigging in the process and that is actually being
rehearsed for July 31 elections". That is what was happening
on the ground and we must not keep the eye away from the ball.
The real issue is actually
not whether ZEC was unprepared to conduct a special voting process
let alone a national process in just two weeks time to come from
now but to Zanu-PF, the special vote exercise was a carefully planned
pilot test on how to manipulate the forth coming harmonized elections
while the whole world is watching. But as always Zanu-PF will always
find something to take the eye away from the ball that’s why
the focus is now on ZEC instead of the day light theft of a crucial
election we have just witnessed as a harbinger of what will visit
this country on 31 July.
ZEC have literally been
hijacked by the military establishment pushing for Mugabe's victory
and the officials at ZEC were simply following instructions from
their political principals in Zanu-PF to make sure that the process
is disorganized and the majority of people are disenfranchised.
This pattern of events will be scaled up nationally on 31 July particularly
in areas dimmed to be MDC-T strongholds like in cities and towns.
This strategy will be complemented by a deliberate go slow process,
starving areas deemed to be MDC strong hoods polling stations, technical
glitches in the distribution of ballot boxes and papers and in extreme
cases MDC polling agents will be chased away so that Zanu -PF moles
can staff their own votes in the ballot in order to make sure Mugabe
wins by hook and crook.
MDC-T secretary general
and Finance Minister, Mr. Tendai Biti was spot on, when he accused
the military junta of having a hand in what was happening within
the electoral body alleging that some officials in the electoral
body who where in the field were not acting under instructions from
'There is another master
they're reporting to and in our respective view, it is the junta,
who have clearly taken over the running of these elections,' Biti
Election Support Network chairperson Solomon Zwana also alluded
to this chaos scenario when they said the national elections will
be a sham if irregularities noted in the two-day special voting
exercise are repeated come July 31. The group was quoted saying
they are "seriously concerned that the chaos that prevailed
during the special voting process serves as a telling and worrying
indicator that could repeat itself" on election day, scheduled
for 31 July. "We foresee doom in the upcoming election, and
if anything that occurred within the past two days was anything
to go by", they added.
The Southern African
Development Community (SADC), also chipped in saying the parties
must "exercise restraint and avoid frustrating voters".
I will try and unpack
how Zanu-PF rigged this special vote so that we all understand as
events unfold. It is important for all forces fighting for democracy
in Zimbabwe to anticipate this and quickly come up with proactive
strategies to stop them in their tracks and ensure that measures
are put in place so that all the people who registered actually
vote and the vote is not manipulated in any way.
By analyzing the matrix
in the official numbers that were given by ZEC as eligible for voting
and what actually transpired during the voting process, it is easy
to see that Zanu-PF used the two day election as a pre-run to rig
the coming harmonized elections. To put this in context of our suspicion,
people must remember that Police commissioner; Augustine Chihuri
previously confessed that he is a loyal Zanu-PF member.
The election comes on
the eve of a court hearing to stop the process because Tsvangirai's
MDC party says police numbers were inflated. The state electoral
commission says 69 000 police officers, 2 000 prison officers, 164
soldiers and thousands of election officials were taking part in
a two-day special vote starting on Sunday but MDC queried the police
figures. Prime minister Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change,
in charge of the finance ministry and government payroll says the
government has just over 40 000 police officers on the official
payroll against the 69 000 whom the election commission says have
applied for the vote. Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said
the other 30 000 police force members are auxiliaries, reservists
and part timers that have been roped to provide national security
during the election. Suspicion however, heightened as police officers
who constituted the majority of those who have applied for special
voting, were either turned away or found their names absent from
the register as logistical challenges blighted the poll.
It would obviously defy
logic that for some reason the numbers are inflated and yet barely
half of those said to be eligible to vote are unable to vote.
It therefore becomes
clear that Zanu-PF inflated the figures to accommodate their youths,
mostly Border Gezi graduates who were deceitfully included on the
police roll by Commissioner Chihuru on the pretext that they were
a police reserve so that they could vote for Zanu-PF. The actual
police officers could not vote because they were viewed with suspicion
and they were deliberately frustrated and some of their names were
missing from the roll. The strategy also comes into form when we
start to consider that ZEC later on announced that the same officers
will be allowed to vote. That move by ZEC is a legal nullity but
we can only understand it in the part of Zanu-PF agenda to rig.
If they are allowed to vote, it will be precisely double voting.
I will also give you
another example one polling station. Similar reports were received
countywide. An observation by settlement Chikwinya, a former MDC
MP, and the outgoing parliament and aspiring candidate for MDC in
Kwekwe was tellingly clear. He said he observed special voters casting
their ballots at Kwekwe High School since Sunday. According to him
220 out of 723 managed to cast their votes. The majority left the
polling station when it became apparently clear that they were no
longer going to vote. He further observed that most of officers
who received their voting packages are members of the " Special
Constabulary" vana Ndini Ndamubata or ma Neighborhood as some
Chikwinya concluded by
noting that it appears Zanu-PF realized that these professionals
have the same grievances with the system just like any other worker
and they identify their problems with Zanu-PF. Their families are
starving due to low salaries, they cannot equally pay fees in time,
they have been reduced to professional corrupt officers so as to
make ends meet, they cannot feed their parents in the rural areas
and they have been denied promotion at the expense of incompetent
war veterans and some political zealots promoted on the basis of
political patronage. The officers cannot be trusted, that is why
they were not allowed to vote. The regime does not trust them.
It is clear what we witnessed
over the weekend during the special voting is what many political
analysts has long been saying and an extension of what happened
during the shambolic constitutionally guaranteed 30 day voter registration
period were thousands of people where deliberately disenfranchised
after they failed to register because of huddles placed on the way.
It goes to heart of the
reform agenda in Zimbabwe. There were no meaningful reforms during
the period of the transitional GNU to protect democratic gains of
2008 elections and Zanu-PF still controls he levers of power. Right
now they are abusing that power full throttle to retain power and
they will abuse it again to arm twist all state institutions come
This has been and is
still part of a Zanu-PF grand plan, to have rapid, hurried and ambushed
national elections without reforms, adequate funding and adequate
preparations that will be easy to rig.
When president Mugabe
declared elections on July 31, it was part of their plan to disenfranchise
voters, as there would be limited time for proper voter registration
and verification. Prospective voters were systematically frustrated
so that they fail to register. There were few registration centers,
and workers from registrar general 's office were reportedly on
a "go-slow". Some reports say people perceived to be MDC-T
supporters have been deliberately removed from the voters' roll.
Prime minister Tsvangirai wanted the polls delayed to give the nation
enough time for preparations and the amendments to electoral laws
that critics say have led to vote-rigging in the past.
The other thing is that
Zanu-PF is afraid of the people. They don't trust anyone. They have
not forgotten when Simon Khaya Moyo was outpolled with the collusion
of their own in the vote for the speaker of Parliament some years
ago. They know the party has been rejected long time ago by the
masses and they don't want elections. They don't want people to
vote and vote them out. The party never wanted a free and fair election
and will not allow the same to happen now. They don't know how to
do away without elections and the best they can do is to have sham
elections that will be carefully managed to retain power. This time
they will avoid outright violence for now unless their plan "A
" has failed to work.
It is important to realize
that ZEC has not been reformed. Despite cosmetic changes during
the GNU, It is still the same institution that failed to announced
results in 2008 amid allegations that they tempered with the results
to avoid an outright win by Morgan Tsvangirai. There are allegations
ZEC secretariat is still filled by president Mugabe's henchmen and
CIO. In other words it is still partisan and it will be foolish
for anyone to think otherwise. In terms of the special vote and
the coming election, ZEC is therefore part of the plan, in other
words a one-sided player or referee who will score for Zanu-PF.
But these are not new
tricks at all as Zanu-PF has been doing it all these years. Like
I wrote some few months ago, the strategy involves a massive mobilization
and registration of Zanu-PF supporters as voters, removing known
MDC supporters from the voters roll, frustrating MDC supporters
from registering as voters through a go slow process, out rightly
denying MDC supporters to register using petty reasons like proof
of residence and other bureaucratic measures that are meant to disenfranchise
the people and cause apathy or low voter turnout in known or perceived
This practice was rampant
in 2002 elections. According to a ZESN report at the time, in rural
areas, chiefs/headmen's were reportedly used to record the names
of their subjects who were then required, against their will, to
go and queue behind their chief and headman on voting day and vote
in a predetermined sequence and in the process creating an unfortunate
impression to the voters that they could be detected if they did
not vote for Zanu-PF.
Polling stations will
also be skewed in favour of areas that are deemed to be Zanu-PF
strongholds while those of the MDC are starved.
These threats and strategies
that are crafted in the run up to the election to ensure that all
voters comply and vote for a Zanu-PF presidential candidate would
be followed to the letter, voters under specific instruction to
bring the serial numbers of their ballot papers, supporters or known
opposition supporters ordered to profess illiteracy even if they
could write, as well as registering their names with Zanu-PF officials
The MDC must move to
address all these issues now and it is our duty all of us as Zimbabweans
to fight together in order to prevent this election being rigged
in broad day light in the fashion of the just ended special vote.
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