Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (21)



Analysts view Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC faction, as critical to Premier Morgan Tsvangirai's victory, as a former ally of Kenya's loser Raila Odinga had been in the Kenyan election. The latter quarreled, with disastrous results for Odinga. The analysts think that If no election pact exists between the two MDC leaders, Tsvangirai is deemed to lose. During the 2008 presidential election the vote was split with the emergence of a third candidate, Simba Makoni. The observers think this had prevented an outright Tsvangirai win over President Robert Mugabe and ponder whether the MDC leader will bring Ncube and Makoni on board at this late stage. Philan Zamchiya, Oxford University research fellow, predicted Zanu-PF would win 20 "swing seats", that is, those won by less than 5%, thanks to "a myriad of sophisticated manipulation", unless MDC-T formed an election coalition.(1)

Other analysts share the view that MDC-T should form an election pact with smaller parties to garner anti-Mugabe votes. Going it alone, wcould present Zanu-PF with victory. Tsvangirai, who favours a September election date, has ruled out a further coalition with Mugabe.(2)

Commentator Simukai Tinhuin concurred that MDC should enter an election pact with smaller parties. He sees the scaling down of aims as another option, saying MDC should concentrate on winning a parliamentary majority rather than the presidency, which Tsvangirai may have no chance of winning. The third option, going it alone, was inadvisable. Tinhuin saw MDC as dysfunctional and losing ground, with Zanu-PF gaining popularity, due to the indigenisation card. MDC's woes include corruption on part of some MDC officials, scandals surrounding Tsvangirai's personal affairs and also Zanu-PF success in naming him a puppet of the West. Moreover, urban masses had drifted from politics towards the now immensely popular Pentecostal churches, whose puritanical views do not favour a leader with promiscuous tendencies. MDC had also apparently alienated supporters in Matabeleland and the Midlands, due to its failure oregarding decentralization and because the `80s massacres were not given their deserved limelight. Finally,the resurrection of Joshua Nkomo's old party, Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU - PF) is in MDC's disfavour. The latter was battling with the smaller MDC-M formation led by Welshman Ncube.(3)

According to Premier Tsvangirai, that an election committee has been established to work out a roadmap to the elections, including the scrutiny of the controversial electoral roll. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa again hinted at June 29 as the election date.(4) South African President Jacob Zuma once more sent his mediation team to Harare to assess the situation.(5)

The UN assessment team on financing the elections returned home, after it was blocked from visiting the country, as Zanu-PF refused to accept conditional election aid. Efforts to negotiate new terms of reference failed, with Chinamasa insisting that conditions, such as security sector and media reforms and foreign observers, were unacceptable. President Robert Mugabe also warned gainst foreign interference, (6) US$ 132m are needed to hold the elections.(7) Finance Minister Tendai Biti had again appealed for international help to hold the election. He repeated his accusations against the diamond industry, which failed to pay the government its dues.(8) A proposed US$900m South African loan was opposed by the Democratic Party, while other opposition parties approved.(9)

Voters roll

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) claimed that over 60 000 new voters were registered, with about 345 400 deceased struck off the national voters' roll. Registered voters totalled almost 5.7m.(10).

MDC MP Thabitha Khumalo proposed the use of National ID cards for the election, as the shabby voters roll was being used to deny citizens their vote.(11) MDC-T has launched a drive for votes in Harare, with door-to-door canvassing.(12) MDC fears that vote rigging was under way in Matabeleland, with soldiers and officers' wives bussed into Bulawayo and Matabeleland North for registration. (13)

Zanu-PF was engaged in massive vote buying, with residential stands and house allocations to hundreds security forces personnel, according to a Ministry of Local Government Rural and Urban Development officials. Housing projects for soldiers have sprouted in recent weeks.(14)Tsvangirai appealed to SADC to reform the security sector and force chiefs to accept the election outcome. (15)

The Robert F. Kenedy Center found that human rights reform due under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) had not been introduced. Amendments were unlikely to be made before the elections to repressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa); the Public Order and Security Act (Posa); the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act or the Private Voluntary Organisation Act (PVO), which places onerous registration requirements on NGOs..(16)

Party squabbles

Zanu-PF, rent apart by factional rows in Manicaland and Matabeleland, struggled to bridge the divisions. A three-man team under its national chairman was dispatched to repair schisms within provincial leaderships. At a two-day meeting in Manicaland, Mugabe's longtime ally Didymus Mutasa, accused of unleashing violence in the province, was heavily criticised. However, Mutasa succeeded in pushing through a motion to dissolve the Manicaland Zanu-PF leadership, giving him a chance to pack the new executive with his supporters.(17)

The former ruling party as well as MDC is facing primary elections, which may find some established leaders losing to others. Fierce tussles over the candidacy of renowned journalist Geoff Nyarota broke out in Manicaland.(18) The smaller MDC led by Welshman Ncube lost four councillors who defected to Zanu-PF.(19)

Human Rights

The womens organization WOZA appealed to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights for protection from harassment.(20)

While War Vet. Leader Jabulani Sibanda said in a public lecture that violence would follow a Zanu-PF election defeat, (21) police chief Augustine Chihuri warned against violence during the election campaign.(22)


Obert Gutu, Deputy Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs, feared an anti-corruption probe into indigenisation would be dropped before the elections. An Anti-Corruption operation against various indigenisation structures had been stopped first by police, then by a court order.(23)

MDC-T felt it had lost the business community's support, because it had not fought hard enough against Zanu-PF's unilateral indigenisation campaign.(24) Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere threatened the South African sugar company Tongaat Hulett with closure, unless it complied with the 51% rule.(25)Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi warned the tourism industry of indigenisation. (26) A Chinese firm has begun a 1.25 billion yuan (US$202m) upgrading project of Victoria Falls Airport, financed by an Export-Import Bank of China loan (27)


Mugabe made all the right sounds in his celebratory address on April 18, the 33rd anniversary of independence regarding peace, non-violence and tolerance in the election campaign.(28) In fact, there was little to celebrate; human rights violations continue to deteriorate. Zanu-F was accused of hijacking independence for itself.(29)

According to official statistics, literacy rates have decreased to 91.3 percent, a negative development from the 97 percent in 2002.(30) Despite impressive growth figures since 2009, the economy is in a bad way and in worse shape than in 1980. The local currency is defunct and infrastructure decaying. Water supply systems and other utility services have virtually collapsed, with Harare's water contaminated by human waste and industrial effluent. Donors and investors are scared off by Zanu-PF's indigenisation policies. Finance Minister Biti has said a tentative agreement had been reached with the International Monetary Fund to help economic reforms and clear debt arrears. The national debt management organisation, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd), demanded an audit of the external US$10,7 bn debt, which contributed to Zimbabwe's impoverishment.(31) The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) predicted that more than 1.6 million needed help during the peak hunger period, January - March 2013.(32) Maize imports from South Africa includes gene manipulated grain, according to Biti.(33) Some 50 000 Zimbabeans are set to gain from a US$12m EU grant.(34)


Former US Ambassdor Andrew Young to the UN met President Mugabe in an effort to improve US/Zimbabwe relations.(35)

Malawi's first female President Joyce Banda will open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) on April 23.(36)

A water summit will be hosted by Harare at the end of the ZITF, in an effort to solve the city's water problems.(37)

Helicopters donated by South Africas defence force will not at present be sent to Zimbabwe.(38)

According to a UK group which removes the debris of war, Zimbabwe is riddled with landmines over a wide area - 5,500 unexploded landmines per kilometer - dating back to the 70s bushwar, (39)

Japan has released US$5.7m to the World Food Programme (WFP) for Zimbabweans facing food shortages due to drought.(40)

  1. Independent 12.4
  2. http://thinkafricapress.com/ 12.3, Standard 14.3
  3. http://thinkafricapress.com/ 12.4
  4. New Zimbabwe 16.4,Daily News 17.4, Herald 18.4
  5. Financial Gazette18.4
  6. Daily News 12.4, SW Radio Africa 12.4, 16.4, Voice of America Zim. 16.4, Reuters 17.4, Al Jazeerja 18.4
  7. Daily News 16.4
  8. SW Radio Africa 12.4, 15.4 17.4 http://www.iol.co.za/ 13.4, AFP 15.4
  9. Nehanda Radio 17.4, News24 17.4, http://www.timeslive.co.za/ [HYPERLINK: http://www.timeslive.co.za/] 17.4
  10. Zim. Mail 14.4
  11. Daily News 15.4
  12. SW Radio Africa 15.4
  13. Standard 14.4
  14. Standard 14.4
  15. SW Radio Africa 16.4
  16. Standard 14.4
  17. New Zimbabwe 12.4, Herald 13.4, http://bulawayo24.com/ 13.4, Standard 14.4, Daily News 14.4, 15.4, Nehanda Radio 16.4
  18. Independent 12.4, SW Radio Africa 12.4, 16.4
  19. Standard 14.4
  20. SW Radio Africa 17.4
  21. SW Radio Africa 17.4
  22. Nehanda Radio 18.4
  23. Zim. Mail 18.4
  24. Independent 12.4
  25. SW Radio Africa 15.4
  26. Independent 12.4
  27. Xinhua 12.4
  28. SW Radio Africa 18.4, http://www.timeslive.co.za/18.4)
  29. Standard 14.4, SW Radio Africa 16.4, http://www.iol.co.za/ 18.4
  30. Herald 18.4
  31. Independent 12.4
  32. http://www.wfp.org/ 16.4
  33. Daily News 16.4
  34. Zimbabwean UK 3317.4
  35. News24 17.4,New Zimbabwe 17.4
  36. New Zimbabwe 13.4, Business Day 13.4
  37. Standard 14.4
  38. SW Radio Africa 18.4
  39. New Zimbabwe 15.4
  40. Standard 14.4

Letzte Änderung: Friday, 19-Apr-2013 11:13:58 CEST
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12.4.2013 Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe vor der Wahl (20)