Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (30)


No surprise: President Robert Mugabe has got his way. His delaying tactics have paid off. On July 4th the Constitutional Court (Concord) ruled that the 31st July should remain as the election date, as Mugabe had previously proclaimed after the Court' decision that the election should be held by that date.(1) Concourt therefore rejected the appeal against its ruling submitted by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who had told the Court that he had filed his appeal only because he was told to do so by SADC and saw no need for it. Appeals filed by others, including MDCs' leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, were rejected.

This means that the country will go to the polls without the media and security sectors reform under the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) and supported among others by US President Barack Obama's call.(2) The state media had reacted with fury to Obama's call on the government to stop harassing citizens, calling Obama's comments hypocritical, anti-African and a "sinister plot.(3) Lindiwe Zulu, one of President Jacob Zuma's mediation team, who had called for a month-long election delay (4) had also elicited angry pro-Zanu-PF comments.(5)

June 29th, the date at which Parliament was dissolved (6) came and went and with it MDCs' hopes of a postponement of the elections raised by SADC's aputo summit. Mugabe ruled from June 29th by presidential decree according to Chinamasa, though others say the cabinet remains in existence until the announcement of the new cabinet after the election.(7)

Mugabe was due to launch Zanu-PF's election campaign officially on July 5th.(8), MDC-T two days later.

Nomination Court

The Nomination Court had opened with ten presidential candidates and nominated five: Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa and the leader of ZDP, Mukwazhe Munodei Kisinoti.(9) No coalition pact was formed by Zanu-PF's opposition.(10) which may well hand the victory to Mugabe.(11) Candidates for the Senate and Lower House from various parties submitted their names to the Nomination Court.(12)

A number of disgruntled Zanu-PF and MDC candidates defeated in the primaries, decided to stand as Independents.(13) The unbelievably high turnout for Zanu-PF primaries, which for instance witnessed the incredible result of 17 000 votes for Emmerson Mnanagwa's wife, was seen as Zanu-PF's manipulation to prove its closeness to the grassroots and a sign of vote-rigging to come.(14) Angry demonstrators complaining about the primaries, besieged Zanu-PF headquarters on July 4th, while Mugabe attended a meeting.(15)

Voters` Registration

Concourt rejected an appeal by a Zimbabwe citizen in exile to be allowed to participate in the elections.(16) However, by restoring his Zimbabwe citizenship to Mutumwa Mawere who also holds South African citizenship, it restored dual citizenship.(17)

Political parties have accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of favouring Zanu-PF during the voters' registration,(18) with Tsvangirai accusing the Israeli firm Nikuv of rigging the voters' roll.(19) The opposition fears that Zanu-PF will win through voters roll manipulation, an accusation Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede has denied.(20)

The registration exercise continued in the same chaotic way as before, smoothly in rural areas, painfully slowly in the towns, with Zanu-PF supporters registered with ease, while MDC supporters were harassed. In the high density area Mabvuku-Tafara in Harare voters lost patience and expresses their anger, at the deliberate slow pace, so that police were called. In other areas residents also failed to register during the three days of the mobile registration. In Bulawayo material ran out.(21) Thousands were still battling with the paper work needed to be registered, with former "aliens" in particular disadvantaged.(22)

Civic rights organisations have created a website to allow free access to the voters roll, after Zec refused for years to allow this. Topper Whitehead, who had been deported for proving the 2002 voters' roll was rigged, said ghost voters were listed in the present roll, which contains 6m names, thus more voters than the census showed.(23)

Election issues

The military stepped up its pro-Zanu-PF campaign, with a surge of deployment in Masvingo and Manicaland. Similarly Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) commanders ordered subordinates to ensure they and their dependents voted for Zanu-PF, despite the constitution demanding the security forces' impartiality.(24) Some 50 000 police have registered as special voters, arousing fears of manipulation. (25) However, for the first time security forces personnel will be supervised vote by presiding officials, not senior officers.(26)

Zec began training poll agents, while some civic society organizations still await accreditation: (27)

Mugabe and the Joint Operations Command (JOC) ordered the private auctioning of the Chiadzwa diamonds to raise the required US$132m for general elections.(28)


The World Bank forecast that elections will stimulate growth over the next two years. Meanwhile the trade deficit widened to US$1.6 billion over the four months to April, with reliance on imported goods and services increasing, according to ZimStats.(29)

It is still an open question whether land expropriation has been successful. Some argue that it is the largest land resettlement scheme, with 245000 Africans replacing 6 000 whites, while others point out that Zimbabwe, once a foodstuff exporter, now imports maize, its staple diet. Only tobacco is a success story. White commercial farmers produced 236m kgs. tobacco in 2000 which slumped by 2008 to 48m kgs. Today 90000 newly black farmers grow tobacco on between one and two hectares of land each. Last year, Zimbabwe's tobacco exports were 144.5m kgs. worth US$771-m.(30) Nine villagers were charged with illegal seizure of a state farm.(31)

During the first four months of 2013, 863 workers were retrenched, a 15% increase over the same period the previous year.(32)

  1. SW Radio Africa 4.7
  2. Reuters 30.6 Voice of America Zim. 30.6
  3. SW Radio Africa 1.7, AP 1.7
  4. New Zimbabwe 30.6, 1.7
  5. Herald 2.7, SW Radio Africa 3.7
  6. New Zimbabwe 27.6
  7. http://www.bernama.com/2.7
  8. Daily News 4.7
  9. Voice of America Zim.28.6, SAPA AFP28.6
  10. Voice of America Zim.28.6. New Zimbabwe 28.6
  11. News24 30.6, Standard 30.6
  12. SW Radio Africa 28.6, Nehanda Radio 29.6
  13. Zim. Independent 28.6
  14. Standard 30.6, Daily News 30.6
  15. http://www.zimeye.org/4.7
  16. SW Radio Africa 28.6
  17. Clifford Chitupa Mashiri 28.6, Standard 30.6
  18. New Zimbabwe 30.6
  19. Telegraph UK 3.7, SW Radio Africa 2.7
  20. New Zimbabwe 2.7
  21. SW Radio Africa 4.7
  22. Zim.Independent 28.6, SW Radio Africa 3.7
  23. SW Radio Africa 1.7
  24. Zim Independent 28.6, Standard 30.6
  25. http://www.theafricareport.com/4.7
  26. SW Radio Africa 2.7
  27. SW Radio Africa 2.7
  28. Zim. Independent 28.6
  29. Zim.Independent 28.6
  30. Mail and Guardian 28.6
  31. New Zimbabwe 3.7
  32. Voice of America Zim.2.7

Letzte Änderung: Friday, 05-Jul-2013 11:47:48 CEST [an error occurred while processing this directive]