ZIMBABWE: Next In Line – Abugida

March 31st, 2008 Print Print Email Email

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has begun announcing the first results from Saturday’s poll. Early indications are that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is making inroads into traditional rural Zanu-PF strongholds. In Chegutu West at President Robert Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West, the MDC candidate received more than 6 000 votes ahead of the Zanu-PF candidate who managed to get just over 3 000 votes.Will Robert Mugabe accept the election result or make the usual buisness like Melese Zenawi,Kibaki or other African leaders.

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The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has begun announcing the first results from Saturday’s poll. Early indications are that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is making inroads into traditional rural Zanu-PF strongholds. In Chegutu West at President Robert Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West, the MDC candidate received more than 6 000 votes ahead of the Zanu-PF candidate who managed to get just over 3 000 votes.Will Robert Mugabe accept the election result or make the usual buisness like Melese Zenawi,Kibaki or other African leaders.


(News and Views about Zimbabwe’s election result)

RESULTS UPDATE APRIL 1,2008

http://www.zimelectionresults.com/

PRESIDENTIAL RESULTS
Morgan Tsvangirai 1, 000, 000 51%
Robert Mugabe 844, 000 42%
Simba Makoni 148, 000 7%
Seats
MDC
58%
ZANU-PF
36%
MUT/IND
6%

Sokwanele : 1 April 2008

Sokwanele enjoys the privilege of being a non-partisan organization committed to achieving democracy through non-violent means. Over the years we have established a broad spectrum of relationships with political parties, civil society and NGOs. Following the harmonised elections we have continuously monitored the situation on the ground through our diverse networks. We have come to our own conclusion as to the final seat count of the House of Assembly results, extracted from both MDC formations and Independent candidates, cross referenced with ZESN findings and the independent Zimbabwe Election Result website

MDC Tsvangirai – 99
MDC Mutambara – 11 seats
Independent – 1
ZanuPF – 96

(Please note that 3 bi-elections will have to be held following the unfortunate deaths of certain candidates, hence a total of 207 seats in the House of Assembly).

These results clearly show that the opposition coalition now enjoys a majority control of the House of Assembly. However, please be aware that should Mugabe steal the Presidential vote, according to the constitution he would have the power to dissolve the House of Assembly.

Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) results have been compared to the “official” Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) figures. The “official” results are emanating from the government controlled body at a snail pace and indicate massive discrepancies in certain constituencies, a clear sign Zanu PF is desperately attempting to inflate results in their favour. This is being done to reduce Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidential vote to below the 50% plus 1 result required for him to win the race in round one.

Zanu PF are slowly building overall numbers in the House of Assembly to facilitate inflated Presidential votes for Mugabe. It must be pointed out that should it come to a presidential run off, the combined forces of Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni would ensure success for the opposition. However, one cannot be certain that Mugabe’s forces have sufficient resources to go to a run off and they may well attempt to rig completely in Mugabe and ZanuPF’s favour in this first round.

At this stage the most blatant discrepancy can be clearly seen in ex-Vice President, Joice Majuru’s Mt Darwin West constituency. She recorded 6071 votes in the PVT results to win back her seat, as compared to the ZEC declared results of 13270. This constitutes inflation of over 100%. In Mashonaland Central, Shamva North constituency, Nicholas Goche polled 4195 votes in the PVT results, but the ZEC declared his win as 10385, more than double the PVT figure.

The delay in the announcement of the official results by ZEC is being strategically planned in order to give the Central Intelligence Organisation the much needed time to manipulate the results. This is blatant rigging at its most iniquitous.

The people of Zimbabwe have spoken and it is now time for Zanu PF, SADC, all other African bodies and the rest of the world to respect and support the will of the people.

Split result in Zimbabwe, but counting not over
By Philip Turner / March 31, 2008

Early results from Zimbabwe suggest there is an even split between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. .

Authorities told local media that results had been delayed because of the scale of the vote across the country.

In an early shock, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has lost his seat in parliament—Chinamasa is a long time ally of President Robert Mugabe and is the first high profile personality to lose in these elections.

Speculation that the government are ‘cooking the results’ are rife in Zimbabwe.

Reports from the capital suggest that police are present across the city, some are reported to be wearing riot gear.

Mugabe minister loses seat in Zimbabwe election

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s justice minister lost his seat on Monday and first election results showed the opposition level with President Robert Mugabe’s party, but delays to most results fuelled opposition suspicions of rigging.

Results of the parliamentary election began trickling out on Monday, 36 hours after polls closed, but no official details were available on the presidential vote, in which Mugabe faces his most formidable political challenge of 28 years in power.

Mugabe, 84, faces unprecedented pressure because of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse and a two-pronged attack by veteran rival Morgan Tsvangirai and ZANU-PF defector Simba Makoni.

Latest results showed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe’s ZANU-PF running neck-and-neck, with 12 seats each from a total parliament of 210 constituencies, according to figures issued by the electoral commission.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a senior member of Mugabe’s government, lost his seat in the opposition eastern stronghold of Manicaland.Riot police appeared on the streets of the capital overnight and the state-run Herald newspaper accused the MDC of “preparing its supporters to engage in violence by pre-empting results, claiming they had won”.

On Sunday the government said any early victory claim would be an attempted coup.
Mugabe’s rivals accuse the former guerrilla leader of wrecking a once prosperous economy and reducing the population to misery.

Although the odds seem stacked against Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, analysts believe his iron grip on the country and solid backing from the armed forces could enable him to declare victory.Mugabe blames Zimbabwe’s collapse on former colonial power Britain and says Western sanctions have sabotaged the economy.
He rejects vote-rigging allegations.

Zimbabwe is suffering the world’s highest inflation of more than 100,000 percent, chronic shortages of food and fuel, and an HIV/AIDS epidemic that has contributed to a steep decline in life expectancy.

COMPLEXITY

Electoral Commission chairman George Chiweshe said the delay in issuing results was due to the complexity of holding presidential, parliamentary and local polls together for the first time, and to the need to verify results meticulously.

But the opposition said the delay was a plot to keep Mugabe in power.
“Mugabe has lost the election. Everyone knows no one voted for Mugabe, but they are now trying to cook up a result in his favour,” MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti said on Sunday.

Two South African members of a regional observer mission said the delay in announcing the election results “underscores the fear that vote-rigging is taking place”.

They refused to sign a positive preliminary report on the poll by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and said there was evidence of “widespread and convincing” MDC wins.

SADC mission chairman Jose Marcos Barrica of Angola told reporters through an interpreter the election had been a “peaceful and credible expression of the will of the people”.

Barrica expressed concern about the voters roll, opposition access to the media and statements by the heads of security forces who had said they would not accept an opposition victory.But he said: “We saw that the basic conditions for a free and fair election were there.”The dissenting SADC mission members, who belong to South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, said in a statement: “It is impossible for this deeply flawed electoral process to be viewed as a credible expression of the will of the people.”

The SADC, which critics say has been too soft on Mugabe, has unsuccessfully tried to mediate an end to Zimbabwe’s crisis, which has turned a quarter of the population into refugeess

Zimbabwe – A Political Tsunami
Mens News Daily / March 31, 2008

A few weeks ago I stood in a small house in a local high-density suburb addressing a meeting of about 150 people crammed into every corner. I said to them that what we needed to end the crisis in Zimbabwe was a political Tsunami. I said a Tsunami could not be detected on the open sea (during the campaign) and when it reached the shore and rose up like a mountain of water, those on the beach got little or no warning. It was silent and totally destructive, sweeping away everything in its path.

Right now (17.00 hrs on Sunday the 30th) the semi official tally is 103 seats to MDC and 5 to Zanu PF. The outcome of the election has been a stunning victory for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. Many of the strong holds of Zanu PF have fallen to overwhelming MDC majorities. Makoni has performed more or less to expectations – in fact did better than we anticipated – especially in Matabeleland where he seems to have garnered about 30 per cent of the vote. Nationally it looks like about 10 per cent.

It also looks like a first round victory for Morgan with over 50 per cent of the national tally. Even here in Matabeleland where Makoni took votes away from him, his margin was 2 to 1 against Makoni and 10 to 1 against Mugabe. The Police have said to us in the MDC – you may not celebrate until the official results are known. In one of my polling stations when the returning officer announced 452 votes for Morgan Tsvangirai and 14 votes for Robert Mugabe, one of the policemen in the Station made a sort of gurgling sound and collapsed!

Yesterday was extraordinary – as I have said before, no more than 2,8 million voters were active in Zimbabwe and I think we will see when the final tally comes out that a very high turnout was achieved. We knew from our own research that a high turn out would favor the opposition. Observers are saying that the turn out was low – but that is because they are looking at the voters roll against the turnout. In the rural areas the numbers were small – but still gave MDC a clear majority.

The Mutambara group fared poorly – at this stage I know of only a few candidates who won their seats – David Coltart in the Khumalo senatorial seat. He will be insufferable – but it is good that we are not losing his talents and experience. Otherwise it looks as if the ratio of votes Mutambara group to Tsvangirai was at least 2 to 1 in Matabeleland and they got nowhere in the rest of the country. Both Welshman Ncube and Gibson Sibanda lost their seats. I am sure Mutambara will have been annihilated in Harare.

In my long career in opposition politics – first in the Smith era and then later in the last 20 years of the Mugabe era, I have never voted for a winner before! Quite an experience for me therefore to vote for 4 candidates and have them all romp home. But I am the first to acknowledge that the circumstances were exceptional. This was, as Morgan stated, a referendum on the leadership of Mugabe.

What turned this election from a silent surge of feeling in mid ocean, into a tsunami? For a start it was the Mbeki factor. Right from the start of 2007, Mr. Mbeki played a crucial role in persuading his SADC colleagues to recognise the MDC and to back reform of the electoral process. They forced Zanu PF to come to the negotiating table and in 9 months of negotiations, got a number of concessions agreed and implemented. Frustrated at the very
end of the process, Mbeki then turned to Makoni and sent him in to joust with Mugabe. It was a clever and fatal move and sunk the Mugabe ship in mid ocean. But even Mbeki could not have anticipated the size of the subsequent MDC victory.

Meanwhile the effects of the reforms agreed and implemented in Zimbabwe – even though they were limited, had started to work through the system. Here the law of unintended consequences came into play. The shift of electoral power from the Registrar Generals Office to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission seemed to Zanu PF to be a move that was without risk. After all, had they not appointed the Commission themselves and was not George Chiweshe, the chairman, a loyalist? In fact they completely underestimated the dynamics of the shift from Civil Service control under Mudede to the ZEC under a civilian Commission.

The Commission has played a crucial role – sticking to its mandate to administer the election within the guidelines of the Electoral Act. They actually frustrated several attempts by Mugabe to implement last minute changes to the electoral system and insisted on the counting at the polling stations – this opened the door to the MDC vote count and reporting system and prevented many of the rigging efforts that had enabled Zanu PF to dictate the outcome of previous elections.

Then came the MDC state of preparedness – the consensus of the media and many other commentators was that the MDC was a spent force. Divided and confused, weakened by a year of relentless onslaught by the authorities and the departure of thousands of their key activists to South Africa and elsewhere. In fact, it stunned Zanu when the MDC was able to field 2000 candidates at short notice and then come out fighting with a well prepared and financed campaign. The key to that was the support network built up over several years in the region and these hidden hero’s are very much responsible for the activity everyone has seen in the past few weeks – the adverts, the flyers, the poster war and the funding for our candidates.

Finally the anti rigging operation. We knew how they had rigged previous elections and we set out to try and stop a recurrence. The whistle blower campaign was a key part of that and we have had hundreds of calls from all quarters and several key “hits”. The many people who climbed in and said “one more time” and spent days in the bush helping with the count and the reporting system are unsung heroes.

Then the people – they had just had enough, had enough of arrogance and being taken for granted, enough of the suffering and destruction of the economy. Their steadfast faith in the electoral process and their refusal to take to violence. They chose to suffer in silence and then go out and vote.

For me they are the real champions and I hope they will never again be taken for granted. I also hope they will hold their new leadership accountable for the trust they have given us.

Eddie Cross

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