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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • 2013 harmonized elections statement
    Simba Makoni, Mavambo Kusile Dawn (M.K.D)
    August 08, 2013


    On July 31 2013, the people of Zimbabwe voted in a peaceful and orderly manner, following a month of energetic election campaigning by leaders and candidates of the various contesting political parties.

    Notwithstanding the peaceful and orderly conduct on polling day, we make the following observations on both the electoral process and its outcomes.

    Voter registration and voters' roll

    The Registrar General of Voters, acting under the authority and supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), registered voters, first between April and May 2013, and then between 10 June, and 9 July 2013; as mandated by the new Constitution of Zimbabwe.

    Regrettably, as has already been recorded by many others, there were fewer registration centers in urban areas than in rural areas, and it was easier to register in the rural areas than in urban areas. The Chairperson of ZEC, Justice Rita Makarau, admitting that the registration of voters was flawed, said at the time:

    "The queues are long and people are not being served efficiently... The entire system is not coping". Consequently, hundreds of thousands of potential voters failed to register, and were, therefore, denied their right to vote.

    The final voters' roll became available only two days before voting, in the printed form. Even today, the electronic version of the voters' roll is still not available. Yet Section 21, Sub-Section 6(a) of the Electoral Act obliges that:

    "Within a reasonable period of time after nomination day, … the Commission shall provide free of charge, to every nominated candidate, one copy in electronic form, of the constituency voter's roll to be used in the election for which the candidate has been nominated".

    Special and postal votes

    There has been ample, if not exhaustive airing of the un-clarities and irregularities associated with both the Special and Postal Votes, which un-clarities and irregularities were acknowledged by ZEC. Here, we simply add that the lack of convincing explanations from ZEC on the conduct of the special and postal votes, re-enforces the absence of integrity and credibility in the electoral process.

    Ballot papers

    The Chairperson of ZEC confirmed that they had printed 35% more ballot papers than the estimated number of registered voters. However, she was unable to explain convincingly, the need for so many more ballot papers; compared to the regional and global best practice of between 5% and 10%.

    Up to now, there has been no reconciliation of the ballot papers used on polling day, against those printed.

    Polling stations

    The list of polling stations published on 10 July 2013 was similar in number and location to those used in 2008. However, an additional list of 65 polling stations was published on election day, both in contravention of Section 51 of the Electoral Act, which stipulates that polling stations should be publicised three weeks before polling, and well after contesting candidates had deployed their trained polling agents. In most cases, the only election agents deployed in these additional polling stations, represented candidates from one political party.

    Therefore, there can be no confidence that votes cast in these additional polling stations were genuine and authentic.

    Assisted voters

    Voting was not free of intimidation. There are wide spread reports of high numbers of voters seeking assistance, either on account of illiteracy or poor sight. Interestingly, the high incidence of assisted voters occurred in the rural areas.

    Given the high level of literacy in Zimbabwe, and the low level of assisted voters in 2008, it is disingenuous to suggest that Zimbabweans are less literate in 2013, than in 2008.

    Voter registration slips and voter migration

    There is strong suspicion that, in the absence of a final voters' roll, the use of voter registration slips as proof of registration, could have been abused to enable multiple voting.

    There are also reports of the bussing of voters into various polling stations. A dramatic video is doing the rounds, showing busses ferrying voters into one polling station.

    Indelible ink

    In previous elections where indelible ink was used, Ultraviolet machines were used to detect those who had already voted. This practice was abandoned in this election, and it was left to the inspection of Elections Officers to determine the 'pink' finger.

    The results

    A discernible and consistent pattern in the results of the 2013 elections, compared to 2008, is the implied growth in support for Zanu-PF. For example, in Harare South, ZEC official results show that 29074 people voted on 31 July 2013, compared to 23999, in 2008. Of the 29074, 20069 voted for Zanu-PF, up from 7111 in 2008; an increase of 12958. By contrast, 7472 voted for MDC-T in 2013, up from 4489 in 2008; an increase of 2983. These numbers indicate that 5075 new voters registered in 2013, and they all voted for Zanu-PF.

    There were 38 polling stations in the constituency, meaning that an average of 765 people voted at each polling station. This suggests that each polling station served one voter every 56 seconds, from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.

    The same picture is painted in most constituencies country wide. It is also noteworthy that votes for Zanu-PF increased in all 210 constituencies, and those for MDC-T decreased or increased only slightly.

    At some polling stations, the results recorded that some candidates had zero votes, suggesting that even they did not vote for themselves.


    It will be recalled that the Constitutional Court dismissed an application to nullify the use of Presidential Powers, both to enact the new Electoral Act, and to promulgate the election date. However, the Court did not give reasons for its judgment at the time. Up till now those reasons have not been given. Hence, besides the say so of the esteemed court, the legal basis for holding this election has not been established

    It bears remembering that the same happened in the case of a challenge to the results of the 2002 presidential election.

    Peaceful but not free, fair, credible or legitimate

    On behalf of Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn (M.K.D) party, I congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for conducting themselves in a peaceful, orderly, disciplined and dignified manner. I also commend the leaders of the other political parties, especially Messrs Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, for their consistent calls for violence-free elections.

    However, in light of all the shortcomings and irregularities enumerated above, we reject the results announced by ZEC as not free, fair, credible or legitimate. The results do not reflect the expression of the free will of the people of Zimbabwe.

    The way forward

    In searching for ways out of the crisis that has been exacerbated by the illegitimate elections of 31 July 2013, we are working together with leaders of other national organisations to:

    1) ensure that all ballot boxes and polling station reports are secured intact and not violated;
    2) secure the final voters' roll, especially the electronic version;
    3) facilitate the conduct of an independent forensic audit of the electoral process and its outcomes, especially the voters' roll and the elections materials generated on 32 July 2013;
    4) establish national and regional consensus on the need for fresh elections, conducted under conditions that guarantee the exercise of the free will of the sovereign people of Zimbabwe.

    To this end, we shall engage in advocacy activities to mobilise the people of Zimbabwe, and canvas regional and continental authorities.

    Notwithstanding the chorus of public congratulations pouring in from around us, we trust that the essence of the preliminary reports of both the SADC and AU Elections Observer Missions, has not fallen on deaf ears.

    We implore and encourage the heroic people of Zimbabwe not to lose faith and hope in their ability and capacity to liberate themselves from fear, from desperation, from despair and from destitution.

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