Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (37)



Now it is official: the July elections were free and peaceful according to SADC (though the SADC observer report is not yet at hand) and the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has declared Robert Mugabe the winner and rightful President of Zimbabwe. He and his Zanu-PF party are firmly in the saddle, stronger than ever, thanks to the stupendous victory. On August 22nd Mugabe was installed as President with pomp and ceremony in the presence of foreign dignities, even if MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the event.(1)

To the disappointment of western governments and other supporters, Tsvangirai at the last moment withdrew his MDC's legal proceedings against Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec) to challenge the election results.(2) Despite this, the Court went ahead with the case, declaring the election free, fair and creditable. Justice Chinembiri Bhunu also called for the arrest of MDC's lawyers for derogatory remarks of the judiciary.(3)

The MDC-T leader explained his decision by pointing out that he had not been accorded an even playing field. Firstly, MDC had not been provided with the material requested, such as the voters' roll used, voters' registration slips and results per ward, with the High Court Judge, Justice Bhunu reserving judgment indefinitely, so that the material was not available for the ConCourt hearing on August 17th. ZEC had failed to act in accordance with the Constitution. Two weeks after the election, MDC had not yet been provided with an electronic copy of the voters' roll. A hard copy, which is difficult to analyse, was only provided on a court order one day before the election . Secondly, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had limited the hearing to exchange of affidavits, so that no witnesses could be called. Zec had not respond by the deadline of August 15th, claiming they had until 8 p.m. on August 16th.

With the hearing due to commence on August 17th, MDC-T had no time to file an answering affidavit without sight of the response to their petition. The MDC-T believed that the delay was caused by Zec's activities post-election to try and reverse its rigging of the voters' roll. Tsvangirai concluded that the case had been pre-determined.(4)

MDC-T further contemplated the withdrawal of 95 petitions by individual candidates challenging the results in their constituencies. The problem they see firstly is the ConCourt ruling on the election as a whole and the prohibitive cost of the proceedings of US$10 000 per petition.(5)

The South African Catholic Bishops Conference had added its voice to those agreeing that while the elections were peaceful, they were concerned about irregularities in the run-up and proceedings on election day.(6)

The SADC summit in Malawi was a grave disappointment for MDC. Malawi President Joice Banda. Mozambiques President Armando Guebuza had asked that a debate on the election should be placed on the agenda.(7) Not only did this not happen but SADC endorse Zanu-PF's victory and glorified Mugabe by electing him deputy to Joice Banda, which means that he will take over as chairman in 2014. This step has virtually blown MDC out of the water, as Mugabe is now in a powerful position. Decisions usually taken at policy meeting can be made by the troika, if quick action is needed. The troika also provides policy direction in between summits. The troika system operates at summit level, the organ on politics, defence and security, the council of Ministers and standing committee of senior officials. (8)

Zanu-PF now dominates urban and rural councils with a 76% majority, according to published results of local government elections, ridiculed by both MDC factions.(9)


The US decided not maintain sanctions, as it did not consider the election free and fair. In retaliation Mugabe was said to prepare action against western powers following what to his fury they consider a stolen election.(10) Vice President Joice Mujuru triggered off an internal Zanu-PF storm by indicating that she was ready to take over from Mugabe after his demise. Mugabe was said to be furious.(11)

War Vets. claiming they had delivered Zanu-PF its victory, intend to approach the President for further concessions. Prior to the election they had stated that they demanded US$1m and diamond concessions for its 50 000 members.(12)

The Zimbabwe Vigil, which meets outside the Zim. Embassy on London each Saturday, plans to hold an October summit to discuss how Zimbabweans in the diaspora can best work together.(13)


The UN World Tourism Organisation hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe will be opened on August 25 amidst great hopes of renewed tourism in these and neighbouring countries, despite negative media reporting.(14)

Harare City Council has written off residents' arrears in accordance with a Ministerial order.(15) Vice President Joice Mujuru's remarks that Zesa should also write off debts may result in power cuts. Zesa is owed more than $400 million by individuals and government departments.(16)

An exodus of Zimbabweans has begun to Botswana and South Africa in the wake of the elections.(17)

In his farewell speech to Ministry of Finance personnel, MDC-T's Tendai Biti pointed to the dire state of the economy and the lack of investment in infrastructure. It will indeed be interesting to see how the new government will relate to international institutions and governments in order to begin necessary reconstruction.

  1. New Zimbabwe 22.8
  2. AFP 18.8,
  3. BBC 20.8, Herald 20.8, FFZE 20.8)
  4. MDC-T statement 15.8, SW Radio Africa 16.8, Zim. Mail 17.8
  5. The Zimbabwean UK 21.8
  6. SACBC 17.8
  7. The Zimbabwean 16.8, ZimEye 17.8
  8. Radio Dialogue 18.8
  9. Herald 17.8
  10. Nehanda Radio 18.8, Reuters 19.8)
  11. Daily News 18.8, News Day Zim.22.8
  12. Zim.Independent 16.8
  13. Zimbabwe Vigil UK 18.8
  14. Financial Gazette 22.8
  15. Herald 17.8
  16. Newsday 17.8, SW Radio Africa 17.8
  17. SW Radio Africa 17.8

Letzte Änderung: Friday, 23-Aug-2013 17:06:25 CEST [an error occurred while processing this directive]