Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (23)


Voters Roll

Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede launched a massive 20-day registration exercise on April 30. The voters roll was to be made available electronically, with the cost of a printed version costing US$5 000 instead of US$30 000.(1) This was intended to put the controversy over reforms of the electoral system to rest, which raged between Zanu-PF and opposing parties. Mudede's dismissal had been demanded over the years by the MDCs and civil society.

Critics fear that simply adding names to the chaotic voters roll will not solve the problems and call for a complete overhaul to remove ghost voters and duplicate entries.(2) However, the exercise ran into trouble, with MDC-T claiming the voters roll was suddenly inflated.(3) A MDC-T spokesman claimed that prior to the start of the new registration drive, irregularities took place amounting to vote rigging. The rolls ballooned with 10,000 entries in 48 hours, which would entail registering some 153 voters a second. The new row broke out, because Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone attempted to check the effectiveness of the registration exercise. She bought voters rolls for two constituencies on Monday, one with 8 305 voters, the other with 5 196. Two days later she found the first had risen to 10 076, the second to 17 068. Makone's name was missing, to be found two days later with one of her first names misspelled, which would have stopped her from voting. Moreover, 19 persons she had dispatched on a house to house exercise to verify the entries, spent the weekend behind bars to appear in court as "posing as Registrar-General personnel". They were remanded without bail.(4)

Problems and criticism continued, with would-be voters in MDC strongholds facing difficulties, while those in Zanu-PF areas were being enrolled en masse.(5). The exercise proceeded only slowly, with Registrar General officials not visiting all rural centres such as in Mashonaland East, with MDC claiming that this was another ploy to stop registration in regions favourable to them.(6)


Zimbabwe journalists have again asked that laws adverse to a free press should be scrapped before elections, such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.(7) MDC-T leader and Premier Morgan Tsvangirai, who said he feared that Zanu-PF was rigging the election, stated no election would take place without reform. The MDC-T's secretary for Defence and Security has allegedly met security chiefs in an effort to stop the Zim. Defence Force acting as Zanu-PF's military wing.(8) The reports have incensed Zanu-PF, with spokesmen saying these were untrue.(9) At the same time Zanu-PF's campaign to refuse the implementation of reforms under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) continued, with allegations that these were a foreign-sponsored agenda.(10)

The party continued to block South African President Jacob Zuma's mediation team, saying its presence was unnecessary. Zanu-PF has snubbed the team, with Mugabe not available to meet it, as the party tried to exclude Zuma from playing a part in the elections.(11) Tsvangirai embarked in a regional tour to appeal to SADC for help, with Zuma due to visit Harare shortly.(12) SADC leaders want Zuma to visit Zimbabwe and talk with the country's political leaders ahead of elections.(13) The Global Political Agreement (GPA) does not include measures to force the signatories to implement the agreement. All SADC can do, is to try and get the parties to return to the negotiating table.(14) Zuma has promised Tsvangirai "free and fair elections".(15) Against this, it was reported that Zanu-PF had perfected its subtle strategy of intimidation in rural areas such as Mutoko. It is also using village heads to spearhead its campaign, with socalled development officers promoting indigenisation and empowerment.(16)The police chief Augustine Chihuri has denied that security forces chiefs have met with MDC-T. He maintained this would never happen, as generals would not speak to persons of no account and describing Tsvangirai and MDT-T as malcontents. MDC-T called for Chihuri's dismissal.(17)

Party issues

President Robert Mugabe has handed the job of vetting Zanu-PF candidates for the party primary election to the secret service, Central Intelligence Office (CIO). The election is on the agenda of separate meetings of Zanu-PF Politburo and Central Committee.(18)

Zanu-PF heavyweight Didymus Mutasa, who had been criticised by fellow leaders, has fought back with allegations that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and women league leader Oppah Muchinguri were throwing the party into disarray.(19) The party is said to be in disarray.(20)

As part of its vote-buying strategy, Zanu-PF has embarked through Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo on an exercise of allocating land in Mutare housing co-operatives with strong Zanu PF links.(21) Tsvangirai has condemned Zanu-PF wooing of evangelical churches. (22) The party is allegedly also involved in student politics, heavily backing one candidate in a student election.(23)

MDC-T is embroiled in rows concerning the primary elections, with incumbents ranged against aspiring candidates.(24) Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) declared ist backing for MDC-T.(25)

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, has announced the NCA will become a political party following the elections.(26)

Human Rights

After two years, a former soldier was found innocent of insulting Mugabe, with police having manufactured the charges, as he had tried to protect a woman against human rights violations.(27) A student leader Solomon Madzore was arrested for allegedly insulting the President.(28)


A three-man EU team visited Zimbabwe as part of the re-engagement effort, as Zimbabwe is losing its pariah status and sanctions had been almost completely lifted. Visitors from the USA such as Jesse Jackson have also visited Zimbabwe recently. Zanu-PF has tried to monopolise and politicise Jackson's visit, stopping civil society representatives from meeting him.(29)


In a recent study the South African economists Jabusile Shumba and Mohamed Jahed proposed that Zimbabwe cut its expenditure on items such as defence to speed economic recovery, after losing some 48% of GDP between 1999 and 2008. Finance Minister Tendai Biti had recently said the civil service absorbed 75% of expenditure.(30) Conditions of formal sector workers deteriorated over years.(31)

According to the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), foreign direct investment (FDI) licensed in the first quarter of 2013 amounted to approximately US$33m against approximately US$136m in the same period in 2012. This can be seen as a reflection of investors' fears about indigenisation.(32) Biti labelled indigenisation as an elitist transfer of wealth.(33)

Over 780 village families relocated to make way for diamond mining in Chiadzwa, were still waiting to be compensated by the companies.(34)

Zimbabwe's Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi and Zambian Tourism Deputy Minister David Phiri briefed the African Union on the August UN World Tourism Conference in Victoria Falls and Livingstone.(35)

  1. Herald 27.4, http://www.mdc.co.zw 26.4
  2. Standard 28.4
  3. SAPA-AP 1.5
  4. The Zimbabwean UK 27.4, SW Radio Africa 29.4, Daily News 29.4, SAPA-AP 1.5
  5. SW Radio Africa 30.4
  6. Voice of America Zim. 30.4, SW Radio Africa 2.5
  7. Voice of America Zim.2.5
  8. Zim.Independent 26.4, SW Radio Africa 26.4
  9. Zim. Mail 28.4
  10. Nehanda Radio 27.4
  11. Mail and Guardian 26.4, SW Radio Africa 1.5
  12. New Zimbabwe 25.4, SW Radio Africa 29.4, Daily News 29.4, 30.4, 2.5, New Zimbabwe 1.5
  13. Zim. Independent 26.4, SW Radio Africa 26.5
  14. SW Radio Africa 1.5
  15. The Zimbabwean UK 29.4
  16. SW Radio Africa 29.4
  17. Herald 30.4, SW Radio Africa 1.5, The Zimbabwean 2.5
  18. Herald 27.4
  19. Standard 28.4
  20. Daily News 29.4
  21. Zim. Independent 26.4
  22. New Zimbabwe 26.4
  23. Daily News 1.5, SW Radio Africa 2.5
  24. Standard 28.4
  25. Daily News 2.5
  26. Voice of America Zim 1.5
  27. Daily News 30.4
  28. SWRadio Africa 2.5
  29. The Zimbabwean UK 29.4. 1.5, SW Radio Africa 1.5, Daily News 1.5
  30. Zim.Independent 26.4
  31. Zim.Independent 26.4
  32. Zim.Independent 26.4, SW Radio Africa 26.4
  33. New Zimbabwe 26.4
  34. Standard 28.4
  35. Zim.Mirror 27.4

Letzte Änderung: Friday, 03-May-2013 11:32:24 CEST
Vorherige Meldung:
3.5.2013 Zimbabwe: The land issue revisited