Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (31)


President Robert Mugabe now holds absolute power until the elections on July 31.(1) He held the final cabinet meeting on July 2nd, ostensibly to give Ministers time to prepare for the election on July 31. Mugabe and the permanent secretaries are thus in charge of government.(2)

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has stopped all government payments to gather funds for the election, saying he had a shortfall of US$85m. He repeated his call to Mugabe to make diamond funds available.(3)

Election campaign

With no reforms effected, the uneven playing field is seen to be tilted in favour of Zanu-PF in the forthcoming elections.(4) The UK Guardian predicted that Mugabe was all set for a win, with MDC leader Tsvangirai no longer a clear favourite but neck to neck with Mugabe, who has the security forces and state media on his side. The paper also derided SADC'S late bid to reign in Mugabe after years of tolerating his aggression. It pointed out that by declaring the Democratic Republic of Congo's 2011 seriously flawed elections as free and fair, along the African Union and three other African observers, SADC had signaled a green light for Mugabe's rigging plans.(5)

Of the 50 foreign observer groups chosen by the Foreign Ministry, many are old Zanu-PF friends who had endorsed the flawed 2008 elections. The US Carter Centre was denied accreditation. Observers were expected to arrive from the weekend of July 13th, despite SADC's rule that they should be present for three months ahead of the election.(6)

Zanu-PF launched its campaign on July 5th at a poorly attended rally in Harare, with its manifesto low on policy, high in rhetoric.(7) Mugabe described the forthcoming elections as a battle for survival, while predicting a 90% victory.(8) He threatened to pull out of SADC, should the organization do "stupid things". In effect he has ignored all recommendations made by SADC at its Maputo summit, thus openly taunting the organisation.(9) He called a member of President Jacob Zuma's mediation team a stupid street woman for recommending a postponement of the elections. Southern African leaders, in particular South Africans, were riled by Mugabe's insults.(10) He went confidently on the campaign trail in Mashonaland Central, jeering at his opponents and urging his supporters to vote in large numbers. He plans to address only 10 major rallies country-wide, while his rival Tsvangirai has been on the move since the launch of his campaign in Marondera on July 7th, addressing 10 rallies in one province alone.(11)

Despite Zanu-PF being broke, President Robert Mugabe promised his party's candidates cars and finance to fight the election. He did not disclose the source for the funding, but Zanu-PF members said that Chinese well-wishers were helping the party.(12)

The party militarised its structures since 2008, with some district committees replaced by the military to co-ordinate grassroots structures. More than a dozen army personnel was elected as candidates at the primary elections. The party's Politburo quarreled at its July 5th meeting over rigging and chaos during the primaries.(13) The military recently increased its business enterprises, adding energy to its activities in mining, tourism and retailing, leading to speculation that it is funding a parallel government.(14)

Several parties engaged in coalition talks, (15) resulting in two separate coalition pacts: MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai forged an alliance with Mavambo /Dawn/ Kusile leader Simba Makoni and Zanu Ndonga's leader Reketai Sengwayo, while Welshman Ncube's MDC linked up with Zapu led by Dumiso Dabengwa.(16) A solid pact of all parties failed due to squabbles over leadership structure and parliamentary seats allocation.(17)

ZBC covered Zanu-PF's rally as a matter of course, while demanding payment of US$165 000 from MDC-T for a similar service for its campaign launch. Programmes were suspended for an entire day, with Zanu-PF's manifesto broadcast all day. MDC's manifesto was not broadcast and MDC's advertisement refused on the grounds that it had to get clearance from Zec for political programmes.(18) Under the constitution ZBC is supposed to be impartial.(19)

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) has issued a report presenting findings collected in March 2013, which claims "routine intimidation, harassment, and arbitrary criminal prosecutions of human rights defenders, lawyers, and political activists in Zimbabwe threaten the rights of all citizens to participate freely in public affairs." (20)

A number of violent incidents were reported, including an attack on Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire, with a number of his party sustaining injuries. In Kwekwe MDC-T posters were defaced, with vigilante group Al-Shabab the main suspect. The Harare group Chipango attacked MDC-T supporters putting up posters in Harare. MDC-T supporters were accused of tearing down posters of an Independent in Bulawayo.(21). While Sokwanele warned of human rights violations, the director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum was summonsed to stand trial for running an "unregistered" organisation. (22)

Vote Rigging

Despite Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede's denial of voters' roll manipulation, the Harare based Research & Advocacy Unit (RAU) revealed "disturbing' discrepancies" between the voters' roll and the population census, with more voters than people according to the census. Rau said there was "gross under -registration" of people under the age of 30 with nearly two million young adults not registered as voters. At the same time there was "over-registration" in the age bands from 30 years and above, with senior citizens assuming an improbable 100 percent registration rate.(23)

Fears that Zanu-PF was planning massive rigging were again expressed by several analysts, including the mysterious Baba Jukwe, whose blog continues to gather readers, with its regular exposure of Zanu.PF secrets: Mugabe's health, alleged murder, assassination, corruption and plans for intimidation and vote-rigging.(24) Concern was felt at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) announcement that 69,222 police,15,954 Zec, 2000 prison and 140 army personnel had applied for the special vote on July 14/15th at 209 polling stations, though the police force only numbered 38 000. Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri is a selfproclaimed Zanu-PF supporter.(25). Zec's chairperson Rita Makarau promised to look into the matter, while acknowledging that Zec lacked the capacity to check the authenticity of the police vote.(26) She further stated that mechanisms were in place to ensure that there would be no tampering with special vote ballot boxes.(27) The incredibly high figures announced for participation in Zanu-PF primary elections had also given rise to suspicion that the party was inflating the figures. The turnout of 3m voters announced by Zec for the March referendum instead of the 2m previously predicted, making it the highest turnout since Independence, had also been called into question.(28)

MDC-T has written to SADC about the voters registration issue, claiming it was designed to deny many the vote.(29). There were widespread complaints of deliberate go-slow methods by officials of the Registrar General's office by would-be voters, as the voter registration drew to an end on July 9th, with many turned away. In some centres hundreds failed to register, with officials claiming that they can only register 200 per day. Biti claimed that in Harare alone some 300 000 failed to register. Young people in particular are affected, with some 2m not registered. It is thought that the young are likely to cast anti-Zanu-PF votes.(30) It was suspected that the cumbersome and sluggish registration exercise was designed to stop people from voting.(31) MDC-T and Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) called for an extension of time.(32)

Mudede issued advertisements, denouncing an electronic version of the voters' roll on a website MyZimvote as illegal, incorrect, defiled and distorted. The website claimed it had received the voters roll legally from Zec.(33)


The Zim. Government has conferred diplomatic status on three properties in South Africa as having diplomatic status, in order to forestall seizure under a court order to compensate three white farmers.(34)

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi Tourism Ministry appealed to the private sector to assist with financing the August UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) meeting. The Minister was recently involved in a row over "dodgy degrees".(35)

Zimbabwe has advised the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it agreed to begin regular payments to clear its US$10.7 billion international debt.(36) The EU has pledged over $200 million to Zimbabwe for health, agricultural-based economic development, governance and institutional building.(37)

  1. Mail and Guardian 5.7
  2. Zim.Independent 5.7
  3. SW Radio Africa 8.7, 10.7, Washington Post 10.7
  4. Standard 7.7, Financial Times 8.7
  5. Guardian 10.7
  6. SW Radio Africa 9.7,
  7. SW Radio Africa 5.7
  8. Reuters 5.7, BBC 5.7
  9. Standard 7.7, Sunday Independent 7.7, New Zimbabwe 7.7
  10. Daily News 6.7, 7.7, Politicsweb.co.za 7.7
  11. Voice of America Zim. 11.7, Daily News 11.7
  12. Zim. Independent 5.7
  13. Zim.Independent 5.7
  14. Mail and Guardian 5.7
  15. SW Radio Africa 5.7
  16. Daily News 6.7, 9.7, Standard 7.7, SW Radio Africa 8.7, SAPA 8.7
  17. Standard 7.7. Reuters 7.7, Washington Post 7.7, Voice of America Zim.7.7, SW Radio Africa 8.7, 10.7, New Zimbabwe 8.7
  18. http://www.bulawayo24.com/7.7, SW Radio Africa 8.7
  19. Daily News 7.7, New Zimbabwe 8.7
  20. baron@rfkcenter.org [HYPERLINK: mailto:baron@rfkcenter.org]
  21. ADP 10.7, SW Radio Africa 10.7, 11.7
  22. HRDs Alert 11.7
  23. SW Radio Africa 5.7, Mail and Guardian 5.7, Sunday Independent 7.7
  24. Washington Post 10.7
  25. Voice of America Zim. 107, SW Radio Africa 10.7
  26. Voice of America 10.7, Zimbabwean UK 11.7
  27. Daily News 9.7, Zim.Independent 9.7
  28. Zim.Independent 5.7
  29. Voice of America Zim.10.7, SW Radio Africa 11.7
  30. Voice of America 9.7, SW Radio Africa 9.7, Financial Times 9.7, http://www.insiderzim.com/11.7
  31. Daily News 5.7, 7.7,http://www.ipsnews.net/6.7, Financial Times 8.7
  32. Zim.Independent 10.7, New Zimbabwe 10.7
  33. Voice of America Zim. 8.7
  34. Mail and Guardian 5.7
  35. Standard 8.7, Daily News 8.7
  36. Standard 8.7
  37. Daily News 9.7

Letzte Änderung: Monday, 15-Jul-2013 16:11:05 CEST [an error occurred while processing this directive]