Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (33)



The fear of vote rigging has escalated, ahead of July 31st, now declared a holiday. Intimidation by Zanu-PF is also on the increase, with media freedom seen to be at risk.(1) Some 2000 election observers have been accredited, with only five from each of EU embassies, the US and other western nations.(2)

ZBC refused to screen already paid MDC adverts, as Zanu-PF cannot match them.(3) In Manicaland Zanu PF is intimidating voters with threats of a repeat of 2008 brutality.(4) MDC was barred from a village meeting in Masvingo.(5) In Zengeza West a Zanu PF candidate is accused of setting youths to disrupt MDC-T rallies.(6) A prominent Human Rights lawyer canvassing for a seat in Mutare was arrested for allegedly holding an unauthorised rally on July 19th . 50 supporters were also arrested and released after signing admission of guilt.(7) Zanu-PF thugs attacked and injured MDC-T youths at their rally in Goromozi South.(8) The MDC-T parliamentary candidate for Bindura North was arrested for putting up posters for MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.(9). Police barred a festival planned by the Youth Agenda Trust (YAT). Security agents blocked civil society organisations from holding education programmes in three provinces.(10) Some 37 persons were charged with offences against the electoral laws, most of them MDC supporters. Zanu-PF have torn down rival parties'posters in various parts of the country.(11) Zanu-PF supporters force people to attend their rallies, as in Chegutu, where shops were forced to close for Vice President Joice Majuru's rally on July 25th.(12)

Zanu-PF has issued adverts denigrating Tsvangirai as a womaniser. The party spent US$10m on candidates' cars. The secret and secretive Central Intelligence Organisation spent US$3 million for 100 Nissan double cab vehicles for the elections.(13)

The Chief Justice refused to hear an urgent application regarding the "Insult Law" under which numerous individuals have been convicted, postponing the hearing until after the election.(14)

The voters' roll was not yet available a week before elections. MDC-T's Tendai Biti claimed Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede created three to four different voters roll databases to rig the elections, with MDC-T concerned about the involvement of the Israeli firm Nikuv. The latter denied all allegations of wrongdoing.(15)

However, the UK Mail on Sunday has reported that it is in possession of ultra-secret documents proving President Robert Mugabe's plot to steal the election through rigging and intimidation. The tactics are funded by named backers, including the Chinese government, African leaders and diamond firms. Nikuv is alleged to have received a huge fee for its part in the scheme.(16) Some commentators think that Mugabe is counting on poll chaos caused by deliberate shambolic voters' registration to give him the edge on polling day.(17) Tsvangirai has demanded the voters roll should be handed to Zec, to avoid further tampering.(18) Zec was further urged to curb hate speeches. Human Rights demonstrators appealed to Zec to stop any rigging. Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) fears that Zec's close ties with security forces and the lack of voters' roll transparency threatens a fair poll.(19)

The Court rejected MDC's case regarding the number of persons allowed to use the Special Vote. MDC-T nonetheless intends to block the vote of police on July 51, who had failed to poll during the three chaotic Special voting days. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) rejected allegations of bias. Zec has printed 8m ballot papers for some 6m voters as it does not want to run short, as happened on the Special Vote day.(20)

The Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) said that Zec was not fit for elections, after visited a number of polling stations during the special voting process on July 14 and 15.(21) Zec denounced inflammatory speeches during the campaign.(22)

Biti acknowledged receipt of election funds, but stated that there was no cash to pay civil servants to conduct the polls. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa Minister had stopped funding by the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), claiming this was a front for countries that had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.(23)

Analysts fear that the election outcome will again prove controversial, unless Zec solves various logistical problems. The SADC troika on defence and security - Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, - met with South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on July 20th in closed session to discuss Zimbabwe.(24) However, though SADC thought the election would be "tough" and one member felt it was a pity that Zimbabwe had not followed SADC's advice, the regional organisation promised to support the country to see that elections would be fair. A row ensued over comments by one of Zuma's mediation team, Lindiwe Zulu, who had expressed dissatisfaction with the election preparations. President Mugabe was furious and publicly demanded that her voice was silenced. Zuma gave in to him, with his spokesman stating that no mediation team member could issue any comment, as the team's role was purely supportive. This was a slap for Zulu, whom Mugabe had attacked publicly for expressing her views. Zuma had actually authorised Zulu to speak to the media three years ago.(25)

Five further parties have declared support of Morgan Tsvangirai's presidential bid: Democratic Party, Voice of the People, a faction from Zapu, the Zimbabwe Organized Open Political Party and the United People's Party.(26)

Both Zanu-PF and MDC-T are concerned at disgruntled supporters who are standing as independents.(27)


Zanu-PF has asked South Africa to stop a new TV channel launched by group of Zimbabweans, which went on air on July 19th, the first to challenge the state media in 30 years.(28) The state media is attempting to overpower other media as elections approach.(29) Zimpapers employees were instructed to wear Zanu-PF regalia.(30)

Transparency International Zimbabwe (Zis) has issued a report revealing the corruption of Zanu-PF officials using the mining industry for political expediency and personal enrichment, with top police and military officers, bureaucrats and influential business people also cited among the most corrupt.(31)

Reserve Bank Gideon Gono's farm was razed by a mysterious fire on July 19th. Four weeks ago anonymous Facebook columnist Baba Jukwa said Gono was on Zanu-PF's assassination list.(32)

A challenge to a TV debate issued by Tsvangirai is unlikely to be taken up by Mugabe, whose speeches are peppered by references to a dysfunctional coalition government, as though this was responsible for the country's woes and not his own policies.(33) Tsvangirai said he was still open for a pact with Welshman Ncube.(34)

Inevitably analysts differ in their view as to the election outcome, with some predicting Zanu-PS's downfall, with the poor in particular desperate for change, while others predicting a presidential run-off.(35)

  1. SW Radio 19.7, 24.7, 25.7, http://www,vianews,com/24.7
  2. New Zimbabwe 24.7, tp://www.bernama.com.my/ [HYPERLINK: http://www.bernama.com.my/]24.7
  3. http://www.insiderzim.com/ 25.7
  4. Zim.Independent 25.7
  5. Daily News 19.7
  6. Zim.Independent 19.7
  7. Mail and Guardian 20.7, SW Radio Africa 22.7
  8. Nehanda Radio 20.7
  9. SW Radio Africa 22.7
  10. http://www.radiovop.com/ SW Radio Africa 22.7
  11. Election Alert 23.7, Daily News 24.7, Zim.Independent 24.7
  12. SW Radio Africa 25.7
  13. Zim.Independent 19.7, Voice of America 19.7, SW Radio Africa 22.7
  14. SW Radio Africa 22.7
  15. SW Radio Africa 19.7, 24.7, Mail and Guardian 19.7
  16. Daily Mail UK 21.7, Voice of America Zim.21.7, SW Radio Africa 22.7
  17. The Times,UK 23.7
  18. Daily News 23.7
  19. SW Radio Africa 24.7, Voice of America 25.7
  20. SW Radio Africa 23.7
  21. SW Radio Africa 19.7, New Zimbabwe 19.7, 20.7, Zim Daily News 21.7
  22. Voice of America Zim. 22.7
  23. SW Radio Africa 24.7, Voice of America Zim.25.7
  24. Standard 21.7
  25. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21.7, http://www.iol.co.za/23.7, http://www.timeslive.co.za/23,7,SW Radio Africa 22.7
  26. Voice of America Zim.19.7
  27. Zim.Independent 19.7
  28. Telegraph UK 19.7, AP 19.7 http://www.techzim.co.zw/20.7,
  29. http://www.cpj.org/19.7
  30. Mail and Guardian 19.7
  31. Zim. Indep. 19.7
  32. http://www.zimeye.org/20.9
  33. Daily News 22.7
  34. Voice of America Zim.22.7
  35. Voice of America Zim.25.7, Daily News 25.7, vhttp://www.iol.co.za/20.7

Letzte Änderung: Friday, 26-Jul-2013 11:05:07 CEST [an error occurred while processing this directive]