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Available by clicking the weblink below, you can find the following
1. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights report on the elections
2. Idasa statement on the elections
3. Zimbabwe Election Support Network statement on the elections
4. Sokwanele comment: What happened on Thursday?
5. A petition for Lovemore Madhuku & Lovemore Matombo
6. Sokwanele comment: Military crackdown
7. Links to websites on Zimbabwe

1. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights


Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has as its main objective the fostering of a culture of human rights in Zimbabwe, as well as encouraging the growth and strengthening of respect for human dignity and rights at all levels of Zimbabwean society through observance of the rule of law. A strong indicator of whether these goals are being achieved is whether free and fair elections are possible and have indeed occurred. Genuine elections serve to illustrate the free will of the people and allow them to express their opinions and participate freely in the government of their country. The acceptability of the outcome has a direct bearing on democracy, prospects for peace, political and socio-economic development in the country, and therefore the rule of law. It is within ZLHR’s constitutional mandate to scrutinise whether constitutional and international human rights standards have been upheld and have therefore allowed for this objective of free and fair elections to be met to reflect the genuine will of the people.

ZLHR applied for, and was granted accreditation to observe the March 2005 parliamentary elections. A total of 44 members were approved for accreditation as local observers by the Minister of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs. The ZLHR observers were drawn from Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Kadoma, Norton, Chinhoyi, Mutare and Chipinge.

The Parliamentary elections were held in Zimbabwe on 31 March 2005. The official results announced between 1 and 2 April 2005 by the Chief Elections Officer, Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi, were as follows:

Independent 1
MDC 41

In addition to these seats the President is entitled in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to appoint a further 30 non-constituency Members of Parliament, who will be drawn from the ruling ZANU-PF, giving the party a total of 108 seats, and thus a two-thirds majority in Parliament (which majority was not achieved at the polls through popular choice).

In the run-up to the elections, much mention was made by various stakeholders of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (“the SADC Principles”) and how far compliance with these Principles has been achieved. The SADC Principles were adopted by the SADC Summit (including Zimbabwe) in Mauritius in August 2004. Although the SADC Principles are merely aspirational the new Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] in section 3 incorporates into domestic law “General principles of democratic elections” which, although not directly incorporating the SADC Principles, are reflective of their intent and aspiration.

The SADC Guidelines can therefore be used to judge how far Zimbabwe can be said to have complied and whether Principle I [Acceptance and respect of the election results by political parties proclaimed to have been free and fair by the competent national electoral authorities in accordance with the law of the land] has been realised.


ZLHR is of the view that the following conditions are vital to the achievement of this principle:
• An enabling constitution;
• Adequate, impartial and informative voter education;
• An enabling and transparent system of voter registration;
• Free and uninhibited participation in public meetings and debates;
• Access to relevant information
• Easy access to polling stations

An enabling constitution
ZLHR believes that the current Constitution of Zimbabwe is not the home-grown document that is needed by Zimbabweans to protect their fundamental rights and freedoms and establish independent institutions that are subject to scrutiny and review. It does not allow for the adequate protection of fundamental rights, including the right to vote. Electoral bodies set up under the Constitution have unacceptable limitations in terms of their mandate and their functions conflict in part with electoral legislation and fundamentally recognised norms, such as the requirement for one independent body to bear responsibility for the smooth running of the electoral process.

There was a multiplicity of electoral bodies involved in the electoral process. This led to a duplication of roles and confusion as to which body bore ultimate responsibility and could be called to account. Further the provision allowing the President, who is an interested party, to select 30 non-constituency Members of Parliament over and above the 120 who will vie for election is in direct contradiction to a democratic process of selection of candidates by the people and gives an undue advantage to one party even before an election has been held. In this case it will give ZANU-PF a two-thirds majority which it otherwise would not have achieved. Executive powers granted under the Constitution remain unnecessary, excessive and open to abuse.

In view of the shortcomings of the current Constitution ZLHR believes that it has not adequately ensured full participation by citizens and has contributed to the subversion of the will of the people in the elections.

Adequate, impartial and informative voter education
Legislative provisions exist to ensure that voters receive “adequate, accurate and unbiased voter education” from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) . ZEC is also tasked with ensuring that “voter education provided by persons other than political parties is adequate and not misleading or biased in favour of any political party”.

ZEC has failed, under section 4(1)(h) of its enabling statute to carry out its mandate, in that, inter alia:
(i) The public was not adequately informed about the delimitation of constituencies prior to polling day. Both the Constitution and the Electoral Act remain silent on how long prior to an election constituency boundaries should be made known. By the time the President promulgated the boundaries there was inadequate opportunity for voters to check the voters’ roll and make themselves aware of which constituency they fell within. It also left inadequate time to inform voters affected by boundary changes and so ensure that they would attend the correct polling stations. At a price of Z$350,000 the report of the Delimitation Commission, including details of boundaries and changes from the 2000 parliamentary election constituencies, was beyond the reach of ordinary voters. It was not readily available, especially in areas directly affected by boundary changes and the map outlining the boundaries of constituencies was unobtainable, even in Harare. In areas directly affected by the boundary changes, such as Harare and Bulawayo constituencies, ZLHR accredited observers noted an unacceptably large number of voters being turned away by presiding officers on the basis that they were in the wrong constituency or that their names did not appear on the voters’ roll. This is a direct indication of the failure of voter education programmes to achieve their objectives. The statistics appear in the table below.
(ii) The list of polling stations was published only on 18 March 2005 – 13 days before polling day. This is in conflict with section 51 of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] which requires that information about polling stations should be provided at least 14 days prior to the polling date. The information should be published in newspapers circulating in the area. ZEC did not adequately carry out such voter education, making it especially difficult for those outside cities and towns to access the information as to where they would be able to vote Also details of the polling stations conflicted with the information announced by the chairman of the ZEC, as he gave details of a greater number of polling stations than those listed in publications. This generated confusion. The late release of the information also meant that observers who may have wished to visit the polling stations to ensure suitability some time prior to the date of polling were not in a position to do so.
(iii) Whilst the inspection of the voters’ roll for the March election closed on 4 February 2005, the ZEC, which in terms of the Electoral Act is obliged to supervise the registration and inspection process, only came into being two days previously, and would not have been able to provide accurate information to voters about the time and places for inspection.
(iv) Information about the candidates contesting the elections was, again, provided very late, but it has generally been difficult to establish whether any information additional to that published in the print media is available to voters, as none has been evident or readily available in areas observed by ZLHR members.
(v) ZEC, if at all, carried out a voter education programme hopelessly out of time to have any meaningful impact in view of the large numbers of voters to be reached. The reality is that the electorate approached elections without having benefited from voter education. This is undesirable given the one sided manner in which the public media (both electronic and print) were utilised to support the status quo and to vilify opposition or perceived opponents of the state. This is further worsened by the fact that the state-controlled Media and Information Commission used the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] to shut down independent newspapers in the build up to these elections, thus cutting out a further commendable means of voter enlightenment. ZLHR accredited observers noted that polling agents were helpful in providing information on how to vote to those enquiring at the polling stations but this is insufficient, is not part of their mandate and arrives too late to make any meaningful impact on informed participation. One only needs to examine the unacceptably high numbers of spoilt papers to appreciate how this has affected participation in these elections. Again, the statistics appear in the table below.
(vi) Outside the aforesaid weaknesses of the ZEC it must be noted also that the ZEC Act militates against the realisation of adequate, impartial and informative voter education in so far as it outlaws foreign funding of NGOs or entities involved in voter education.

For the full report, please contact: [email protected]

2. Idasa Press Statement

3April 2005

This press statement will be followed by a detailed report.

As regards the now-completed Zimbabwe Parliamentary elections, we wish to express our confidence in the findings and preliminary statements of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

We have concerns over the integrity of the election because aspects of the electoral process were not fully observed either by domestic and international observers, or party polling agents.

Therefore these aspects were not transparent or open for verification.

Amongst these were:

• The printing, distribution, and auditing of the ballot papers;
• Tabulation, verification, and announcement of results following tallies at local polling stations;
• A lack of clarity on the postal votes, their numbers, and their allocation through constituencies;
• As yet unexplained discrepancies between the figures announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the official results for some constituencies;
• Markedly high numbers of people being turned away which is significant in relation to the margin of victory in a number of constituencies.

Because of the lack of transparency and external verification, a large number of Zimbabweans, and especially the official opposition, do not have confidence in the outcome.

Mr Paul Graham
Executive Director
Institute for Democracy in South Africa [Idasa]
Kutlwanong Democracy Centre
(27) 12 392 0500

3. ZESN Statement 2005 Parliamentary Elections
Dr R. Matchaba-Hove, Chairperson, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)
April 03, 2005
The Zimbabwe Parliamentary elections of March 2005 were held against the background of the flawed Parliamentary elections of June 2000 and the Presidential elections of March 2002.
The elections were also held within the context of the SADC Principles for Democratic Elections of August 2004. These principles state the importance of, inter alia:
• Freedom of assembly and association
• Freedom of expression
• Political tolerance
• Voter education
• Equal access to the media and
• Establishment of impartial, all inclusive, competent and accountable election management bodies staffed by qualified personnel.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) is a network of 35 human rights civic organizations. ZESN has membership structures in all provinces.
Our principal objectives are four fold;
• Voter education
• Election observation
• Media monitoring and information, and
• Advocacy and electoral reforms research
In addition to presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in Zimbabwe, we have also observed elections in many other countries, in particular in the SADC region.
ZESN was able to observe both the pre-election period and the election itself. Naturally, we continue to observe the immediate post election period.
ZESN also met several visiting observer missions. These included the SADC Election Observer Mission, the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries, the South African Observer Mission and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa Observer Mission.
Pre-election Period

• Legal Framework
• Voter registration
• Delimitation Commission
• Campaign period
• Observers
Legal Framework
In terms of the Constitution, the President is allowed to appoint 30 non- constituency members of parliament of which 10 of them would be traditional leaders elected by the Electoral College of Chiefs.
It is recommended that this provision be repealed, as it gives unfair advantage to the sitting president (regardless of the party).
Zimbabwe uses the ‘first past the post’ Westminster system. This system does not encourage the representation of smaller parties in parliament. For example, if at the end of polling, ZANU PF receives 60% of the vote and MDC 40%. If we were voting Proportional Representation, these would translate to 72 seats for ZANU PF and 48 for MDC.
We recommend a mixed proportional representation and constituency electoral system.
Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years whilst Presidential elections are held every 6 years. ZESN is concerned that this may cause some challenges in the future. For instance where there is change in the party with the majority of seats in parliament and the President is from a minority it may become difficulty to govern the country.
It therefore recommends that Zimbabwe should consider having these two elections at the same time.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe establishes the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) and the Delimitation Commission which are mandated to supervise the conducting of elections and the demarcation of election boundaries respectively. The government also introduced the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act which established the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to run elections. In addition, the ZEC Act also requires local non-governmental organizations involved in voter education to get approval from ZEC or to be registered in terms of the existing law before carrying out any voter education.
ZESN commends the introduction of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2: 13) which introduced the opening up of the electronic media for political parties to campaign, voting in one day, counting in situ, the use of translucent ballot boxes, introduction of the alphabetical voting system, the increase in the number of polling stations, the establishment of the Electoral Court, the use of visible ink and the abandonment of the mobile polling stations. ZESN commends these changes as they fall within the expected standards of conducting the electoral process as stipulated in the SADC Principles and Guidelines. We are however concerned with the lateness of the introduction of these reforms and the degree to which ZEC has had the opportunity to establish its independence and control over the electoral machinery. We look forward to the future strengthening of ZEC. Also of concern to ZESN is the impression that the Electoral Court is not independent. In the case of Roy Bennett, the Electoral Court ruled that Roy Bennett’s nomination papers had been illegally refused by the nomination court. The Electoral Court ruled that the Chimanimani constituency election be postponed to 30 April 2005 to allow for Bennett to participate in the election. The day after this ruling, President Mugabe was quoted in the Herald newspaper describing the decision of the court as ’rank madness’. This undermines the independence of both the Electoral Court and ZEC.
Voter registration and voters’ roll
The office of the Registrar General was responsible for the updating of the voters’ roll and the registration of voters was not supervised by an independent electoral management body as required by the SADC Principles and Guidelines. This was due to the fact that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission came into existence on February 1, 2005 when registration was already in progress or close to being completed and was completed on February 4, 2005. This meant that there was little time to supervise the processes. The state of the voters’ roll was questionable as access to it was late and it is costly to purchase the roll. In addition ZEC did not supervise its compilation and its inspection and the shortcomings of the voters’ roll of having duplicate names. ZESN recommends the need for an overhaul of the voters roll which will also be accessible to everyone through the internet or other electronic means and should be linked with birth and death registries to ensure constant updating.
Although the SADC Principles recommend that there must be no discrimination in voter registration, the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 4:01))stripped the fourth generation Zimbabweans of their nationality. There is thus a need for laws which allow those born in Zimbabwe the right to vote. Further, there are restrictive requirements for voter registration such as proof of residence, utility bills and in case of tenants, a letter from the property-owner confirming residence.
Postal Votes
The issue of postal votes remains a major concern to Zimbabwe, taking into cognisance there are millions of people living in the Diaspora and were not allowed their democratic right to vote in this election. It was our hope that the same administrative systems in place for those who are in diplomatic Foreign Service and the uniformed forces on duty be extended to the ordinary citizenry for them to exercise their right to participate in governance issues while in the Diaspora. ZESN recommends that there be transparency in the manner in which the already existing postal voting system is administered to ensure accountability and transparency in that there should be local and international observers present when opening of the postal votes takes place and when the uniformed forces also vote. There should be details with respect to the number of application for postal voting made, the constituencies to which these relate to and this should be widened to include all Zimbabweans outside the country.
Delimitation Commission
In the demarcation of constituencies, the general public should have an input in the process so that the constituencies will reflect community interests e.g Harare South. The report of the Delimitation Commission which came out in December 2004 was not well publicised as evidenced by the high numbers of people who were turned away at polling stations because they were in the wrong constituencies or lacked proper documentation. Official figures provided by ZEC indicate that the number of votes cast and those turned away by close of polling in six provinces totalled 130 000 or 10% of the voters. For instance, in Makoni East where ZANU PF won by 9 201 votes compared to the MDC’s 7 708, a total of 2 223 voters were turned away. In addition, in Mutasa South, ZANU PF got 9 715 and MDC got 9 380 votes, a total of 1460 voters were turned away. In both cases, the number of voters turned away was higher than the margin of victory.
According to the SADC Principles and Guidelines, all citizens should be given the right to participate in the political process and an equal opportunity to vote.
Campaign period
There were cases of violence in the pre-election period before February 1, 2005 observed by ZESN long-term observers. The immediate campaign period was generally peaceful with minor incidents of intra-party and inter-party violence. There were reports of political gatherings which were disrupted, cancelled or banned though later on this improved. Laws which restrict fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens to freely assemble associate and express themselves such as Public Order and Security Act (POSA) (Chapter 11:17), the Access to Information and Protection Privacy Act (AIPPA) (Chapter 10:27) and the Miscellaneous Offences Act (1964) render the electoral environment hostile. It is our considered view that these laws are at variance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines which stress the need for member states to take measures that ensures that all citizens enjoy freedom of movement, association and expression and political tolerance.
The public media, both print and electronic, were biased against the opposition political parties. Even though political parties and civic organisations were belatedly allowed to advertise in electronic media, this should have been extended to the print media. ZESN is concerned that opposition parties, which in the past polls were denied airtime to campaign, were granted late access to the public broadcaster. This anomaly was also compounded by the fact that there was unequal access to the airwaves and all access was heavily skewed in favour of the ruling party. The regulation should also have been extended to the print media especially where it concerns public print media. The post election should also see the opening up of the airwaves, and repealing of laws that create a monopoly for the state controlled broadcaster. ZESN welcomes regulations introduced to give access to media to contesting parties.
With regards to the political parties funding, the government distributed funds to political parties which satisfied the set legal thresholds thereby fulfilling the provisions of the SADC Guidelines and Principles which state that funding of political parties must be transparent and based on agreed legal thresholds. However it does not nurture emerging new political parties and independent candidates.
Invitations to local and foreign observers were sent out by the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The continued involvement of these Ministries has resulted in selective invitation and vetting of observers. There were 45 foreign state groups which were invited and over 8000 local observers. Although these invitations were sent out in February, the SADC Principles recommend that should be done at 90 days before the polls. Also of concern is the issue of the SADC PF and EISA, regional organisations which have vast experience in electoral observation but where not invited.
ZESN managed to deploy, 260 long term observers who observed the pre-election period and 6 000 accredited observers nationwide for the polling period of which 240 observers were mobile and managed to cover most of the country.
ZESN recommends the decentralisation of accreditation to provincial centres or even at constituency level
Polling period

Polling Stations
There were 8 235 polling stations for March 2005 elections which were also publicised earlier than before. However there were concerns that some of the polling stations were situated in non-neutral locations such, chiefs’ homesteads such as Chipinge North, Chief Mapungwana and Chief homesteads, in Rushinga Chief Makuni(Mukazika village)
Polling started on time (0700hrs) with minor problems. For instance, at 16 polling stations ZESN accredited observers were denied access at the opening of polls but this was later rectified whilst in Mudzi, ZEC electoral officials were also refused entry to the polling stations.
There is need for appreciation of the role of observers and electoral officials.
By the end of polling, ZESN observers reported that the voting process nationwide had progressed smoothly and speedily amid general peace and tranquillity. The speedy processing of voters could be attributed to the introduction of the alphabetical voting system, where there are three voting booths at individual polling stations, as well as the increase in the number of polling stations.
In terms of the Electoral Act, once counting has been completed and the results conveyed to the constituency centre, the presiding officer for that particular polling station should display the results outside the polling station for the public to see. This was not done in some places. We applaud counting of votes at polling stations to enhance transparency. Observers were also unnecessarily ‘detained’ at the polling stations when counting had been completed. We propose electoral authorities to look into it. Had ZEC provided observers with unfettered access to vote counts at polling stations, ZESN would have been in a position to help verify results and help resolve any election-related disputes. Failure to display results at some polling stations reduces transparency and accountability and undermines the value of counting ballots at polling station in accordance with the SADC Principles.
In Goromonzi, which was won by ZANU PF, for example, the number of votes announced by ZEC at 2am, April 1, 2005 to have been cast by close of polling had suddenly gone up by 62% from 15 611 to 25 360 when the final results were announced on April 1, 2005. Another glaring example pertains to Manyame Constituency where, according to ZEC 14 812 had cast their ballots at the close of polling but the figure catapulted by 72% to 23 760 as the results were announced. In Highfield which was won by the MDC, the total number of ballots cast does not tally with the number of votes cast for the contesting candidates.
ZESN, therefore, urges ZEC to seriously look into these discrepancies as a matter of extreme urgency as this has serious implications on the credibility of the electoral process.
We are already in the process of preparing our final detailed and comprehensive report. This will cover all the three periods of the electoral period: the pre-election period, the election and the counting days and the immediate post-election period. The emphasis will be on identifying areas for future and further improvement of our electoral process such as a single constitutional independent electoral management body, improvement of the role of civic society as monitors of the electoral process, the repealing of the requirement for civic society organisations to obtain permission from ZEC before conducting voter education, timeous access by all political parties to the electronic and print media, the repeal of restrictive legislation such POSA, AIPPA, and the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06) as well as section 7 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act (1964). Flawed electoral processes are known cause of intra-state conflict. Hence significant reforms of the electoral process would go a long way in preventing, minimising and managing conflict.
Zimbabwe’s electoral climate has been one shrouded in fear from the time of the 2000 parliamentary elections as these elections were accompanied with extensive physical violence and a number of fatalities were reported. This climate of fear continued during subsequent by-elections that were held. This was the background against which the 2002 presidential elections was held and subsequently Zimbabweans have come to associate elections with physical violence. The long term pre-electoral period was not accompanied by overt physical violence as compared to the two previous elections but incidents of intimidation were recorded as well as intra-party violence. Examples of intimidation include the politicisation of food distribution and the partisan role of some traditional leaders. This leads to the conclusion that the pre-election period was not in compliance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines in particular that:
• Opposition political parties were not free to campaign in certain parts of the country as some of these areas were no go areas for the opposition before February 2005.
• Citizen participation was curtailed in that the rights to association and assembly was limited by POSA which was selectively applied by the police who deliberately misinterpreted the Act to say that opposition political parties required permission to hold meetings and rallies, which is not what the law says. The law simply states that the police should be notified and the police are not required to give permission.
• AIPPA imposes severe penalties to journalists who publish false information but the same law does not define what amounts to false information. This affected the citizens’ rights to information in that journalists found it difficult to report on election-related issues or matters which could be interpreted as false.
• There was no equal access to the media by political parties. The ruling party monopolised access to both the print and electronic media and limited access to the electronic media was granted to opposition political parties close to the actual polling day.
• Although there were no incidences of overt violence, reports of intimidation and the politicisation of food distribution was used to persuade the citizens to vote for the ruling party.
• The traditional leaders threatened their subjects with eviction and sometimes unspecified action should they fail to vote for the ruling party.
• The changes that were introduced by the new electoral framework on February 1, 2005 were not adequately communicated to the general population. This could explain the high number of voters who were turned away from polling stations on polling day.
Notwithstanding the above, we note that polling day was generally calm and a peaceful environment prevailed. Citizens had the opportunity to exercise their right to vote and were free to do so.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the various foreign observer missions that took time to consult us. We are of the view that their presence and actions helped to create the relatively peaceful climate in which the elections were held. We also trust that all stakeholders will take heed of the important recommendations made.
Many thanks to all our observers and volunteers many of whom who worked tirelessly for over 24hrs.
Finally, we commend Zimbabweans for the peaceful manner in which they conducted themselves during the elections.

On Thursday last (March 31) a theft of breath-taking proportions took place in Zimbabwe. Stolen from the citizens of this land was their constitutional right to elect their own representatives to Parliament. So great was the scale of the national heist that effectively it took from the people the government of their choice and foisted upon them a government they did not want and had not voted for.

The Mugabe regime had been planning to rig the elections from the moment the date was announced – indeed from long before that, for this regime knows well enough it would be trounced by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party in any free and fair contest. So the preparations to rig the poll had to begin early. Without the months of careful preparation and total manipulation of the electoral process ZANU-PF knew it would face extinction in the poll.

But the purpose of this short piece is not to describe the months of cynical scheming, including the manipulation of the entire food delivery system and the cunning re-writing of the country’s electoral laws, effectively to put Mugabe appointees in command, with the military to control it. That story has been told elsewhere (see our own “SADC Checklist” which reviewed the electoral and security legislation, and our weekly feature “Mauritius Watch” which chronicled events on the ground). Nor is it our purpose here to review the widespread and systematic abuses of the SADC election guidelines which occurred on the day of voting - such as the use of a supposedly indelible ink to mark the fingers of those who had voted, which it transpired could be easily removed by the application of a mild detergent. These abuses will no doubt be documented by others before too long.

No, our purpose here is to take our readers through the events of the evening and night following the poll, specifically between 7.00 pm when voting ended and 11.00 pm, for it was during these few hours that ZANU-PF’s central rigging strategy was carried out. The plot was so cunning and audacious that the likes of John le Carre and P.D. James would have been proud to have written the script themselves.

It went something like this.

At 7.00 p.m. the polls closed and the presiding officers of each polling station were required to advise the total numbers of people who voted and of would-be voters turned away. A simple matter, and this information was conveyed by radio or telephone to the constituency office. By 7.30 p.m. most presiding officers around the country were ready and waiting to begin the count.

Then comes a mysterious intervention which interrupted the process. All presiding officers were instructed in very clear terms that they should not begin the count. They were to await specific authorisation from their superiors within the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) before proceeding with the count. Here was a clear signal that some skulduggery was being planned, though exactly what it was difficult for those outside the ZANU PF mafia to see immediately. Presiding officers in the majority of polling stations across the country, and those waiting with them to confirm the count, had to cool their heels awaiting further instructions. In some cases that further instruction from the command centre only came many hours later – in at least one instance as late as 2.00 am the following morning. The presiding officers became very impatient at the delays – which incidentally were in breach of the Electoral law. Remember, most of them had been on duty from 3.00 a.m. on the Thursday morning. Altogether they were not a happy lot. Whilst some were hand-picked by the regime from the military and the civil service for their known loyalty to and compliance with ZANU-PF, many of them it seems were not in on the full plot. Why the interminable delay?

The Mugabe regime had a very good reason for delaying the count in most stations. During this time they were conducting a sample survey of the voting patterns from a few selected polling stations. In these stations the count went ahead early (starting at 7.30 p.m.) and immediately the results were known they were conveyed by the presiding officers concerned to the constituency offices. Constituency offices manned by loyal ZANU PF cadres thereby afforded themselves a golden opportunity to consider voting trends – and respond. Where the sample results indicated a deficiency of ZANU PF votes – which, it transpired, was the case in the great majority of constituencies, the matter could be easily remedied. A simple calculation would indicate how many additional ballots were required for the losing ZANU-PF candidate. From that a decision how many additional ballots to be cast in each polling station, and the appropriate instructions were soon on their way to the compliant presiding officers – one phone call or radio message sufficient.

To understand how ZANU-PF could get away with this fraud one must appreciate how much of a disadvantage MDC election agents were at. At every polling station they were in a tiny minority compared to the police, the army, the presiding officer and his minions – all of whom were batting for the ruling party. Added to which their means of communication from the polling stations was poor at best and, as we shall see later, there were times when they were effectively cut off from the outside world altogether. The problems were grave enough for the MDC agents in urban constituencies: one can imagine how many times over the problems were compounded in remote rural areas.

Reports from around the country indicate that time and again the opposition representatives were hassled, restricted and frequently shut out of the polling stations altogether for significant periods of time. Quite enough time for the ZANU-PF team to take instructions from central command, write out additional ballots and slip them into the box. And at no time was the exclusion of MDC election agents from the polling stations more rigorously enforced than when the early “sample surveys” were being done. Some candidates themselves were excluded from participating in the count!

By 8.30 p.m. or thereabouts the sample survey had been completed – and one can imagine the alarm bells it set ringing for ZANU-PF! The MDC was set for a comprehensive victory. ZANU-PF was not slow to respond. They had the figures and knew roughly how many additional ballots were required to turn each defeat into victory for their candidates – except in those urban constituencies in which the MDC had such a massive lead and ability to prevent ballot stuffing that it would have been impossible to stage a ZANU-PF win without stretching credibility well beyond breaking point.

If one asks where the additional ZANU-PF ballots appeared from the answer is quite simple. Presiding officers had access to spare ballot papers. The voters’ roll has over a million “ghost” voters on it so there were plenty of names left that could be crossed off. A ballot could be completed, a “ghost” name struck off the register, and when the MDC polling agent was either looking the other way or physically removed from the station, a whole bunch of ZANU-PF ballots dropped in the box.

The national heist was proceeding smoothly and according to plan. There were, it is true, a number of irate MDC polling agents, and complaints of irregularities were sure to follow – but these could be dealt with in the partisan electoral courts in due course. All but the most conscientious foreign election observers were already tucked up in bed in their comfortable hotel bedrooms. It seemed that ZANU-PF could not lose - literally. Except for one unforeseen glitch, which, unfortunately for them, gave the whole game away.

On state television and radio the not-very-bright agents of the Electoral Commission had started to read out the initial results coming in from the constituencies. For each constituency the number of votes cast and the number turned away, was announced. Not yet the final tally for the parties, but just the total of votes cast. At one point the senior ZEC representative said that the results given represented the position at 7.30 p.m. – that is 30 minutes after the close of the polls. He got as far as reading out the results for 72 of the 120 constituencies when, inexplicably, he stopped – almost in mid sentence. No further results were ever again announced of votes cast.

It is known that a message was relayed nationally over police radio ordering the announcement of the voting figures be stopped, immediately.

Someone in ZEC / ZANU-PF had realized the fatal damage they were doing to their own elaborate plan to rig the vote. They had already given out too much information. All the MDC had to do for those 72 constituencies for which the total number of votes had been announced was a very simple calculation to arrive at the truth.

The compromised counting procedures continued across the country once the presiding officers were authorised to proceed. In most cases the count did not take long, because on average there were only a few hundred ballots to count at each polling station. The results were conveyed by radio or phone to constituency offices, and thence to the National Logistics Committee in Harare for a final number crunch by Robert Mugabe’s closest allies and partners in crime, headed by Tobias Mudede, the infamous Registrar-General of Voters who had already delivered two stolen elections to his master.

Meanwhile back in the polling stations the presiding officers held hostage all the MDC representatives present, to ensure that they did not interrupt the smooth flow of the ZANU PF master-plan. In very many instances (precise figures will no doubt follow) MDC agents were locked up after the count for several hours, and they were banned from using cell phones and all other means of communication. Unlawful imprisonment to add to the catalogue of crimes committed by and for the ruling party that night. (Not to mention the blatant violation of Section 64 (2) of the Electoral Act committed by all presiding officers who failed to post the results of the count in each polling station on public view).

But back to the one single serious blunder which provided clear and irrefutable evidence of ZANU-PF’s perfidy – the announcement of the total of all votes cast in 72 constituencies by 7.30 pm. Once the ZEC had completed their reading of all the results, giving the “official” numbers of votes for both main parties, the MDC could ascertain, by a simple calculation, the true number of votes cast for each candidate and the number of ZANU PF votes stuffed in the ballot boxes in each one of the 72 constituencies.

MDC had the following information for these constituencies (all ZEC’s own figures):

(1) The total number of votes cast
(2) The number of votes for their candidate (working on the safe assumption that ZEC would not increase the number of ballots cast in favour of the MDC)
(3) The number of votes said to belong to ZANU-PF.

Accepting (1) and (2) as true figures, subtract (2) from (1) and you have the true number of votes for ZANU-PF – which in most cases was considerably lower than (3). The difference between this (true) ZANU-PF number of votes and (3) represents the number of bogus votes stuffed in the ballot boxes by compliant presiding officers.

The fraud is out, and for all to see. There can be no denying that ZANU-PF have been caught red-handed. To which we can add that, using this windfall information and the results declared for MDC, it is possible to calculate by a simple matter of arithmetic, that the absolute minimum of seats actually won by the opposition is 62. Again we would emphasise that this is the most careful and conservative figure and represents the absolute minimum of seats secured by the MDC. Yet even the figure of 62 seats proves two simple facts of enormous significance:

(1) ZANU-PF did not obtain the two thirds majority in parliament they crave and worked so hard – and so dishonestly - to obtain, and
(2) MDC secured the majority of the popular vote which was their target – 62 seats(minimum) out of 120 contested seats.

We await with interest ZANU-PF’s response to this exposure and, with almost as much interest, a comment from the SADC and South African government observer teams, which have already pronounced the elections as free and fair.

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Sokwanele does not endorse the editorial policy of any source or website except its own. It retains full copyright on its own articles, which may be reproduced or distributed but may not be materially altered in any way. Reproduced articles must clearly show the source and owner of copyright, together with any other notices originally contained therein, as well as the original date of publication. Sokwanele does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt of this email or use thereof. This document, or any part thereof, may not be distributed for profit.

5. Petition Zimbabwe: Save Lovemore Madhuku & Lovemore Matombonow!

Please forward this e-mail to anyone who supports the Zimbabwean human
rights activists Lovemore Madhuku & Lovemore Matombo!

Sign the online petition for Lovemore Madhuku and Lovemore Matombo at

Mugabe won the elections by a landslide. The MDC appears powerless. Fears
are that the regime wants to eliminate political activists. We received
word that the Zimbabwean secret police, the CIO (secret services), plans
to get rid off human rights activist Lovemore Madhuku and union leader
Lovemore Matombo.

Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), is one of the few Zimbabweans who openly oppose President Mugabe's
regime. In Zimbabwe that is highly dangerous. Augustine Chichuri, the
chief of the Commisioner of Police, recently threatened Lovemore openly.
We fear for his life.

Lovemore Matombo is President of the coordinating union organization
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). Matombo fights for human rights,
especially those of workers in Zimbabwe. Last month he survived an attempt
on his life, but there is evidence that suggests another attempt is in the
making. Furthermore, Matombo's family was threatened repeatedly.

Lovemore Madhuku and Lovemore Matombo need protection from the
international community NOW. Therefore, sign the petition! On April 18 we
deliver the petition * together with an appeal to President Mugabe * to
the Zimbabwean ambassador in Brussels.

What can you do?
- forward this e-mail to all those sympathetic to this cause
- sign the petition at
- put a banner on your website to support this campaign, look at

6. Military Crackdown
Sokwanele Report : 4 April 2005

Sokwanele earlier reported on the signs then emerging of a popular uprising in protest against the patently false election results being announced from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in Harare, through Friday and Saturday (April 1st and 2nd). Readers may have wondered what happened to that uprising, or had we got our facts wrong? Today we are able to bring you a report about life on the streets in Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, through the extremely tense hours following the vote, which helps to explain and put that story into context. Our informants are a number of eyewitnesses, whose individual stories we have combined into one summarised account.

In the early hours of Saturday morning the residents of the western suburbs of Bulawayo found their neighbourhood swamped with troops. The troops were in full combat gear, including steel helmets, and were brandishing AK 47 rifles. They were deployed in groups of between five and eight soldiers on the streets throughout the high-density suburbs, and to the ordinary peace-loving, law-abiding citizens their presence was extremely intimidating.

The soldiers made their presence felt in deliberate fashion, ordering even the smallest gatherings of residents in business centres, pubs and other public places, to disperse. When a local dared to comment on their presence within earshot of a group of soldiers, he was told in no uncertain terms to go home, and that the slightest disturbance would be met with ruthless force. A few hours later the soldiers boarded military vehicles which then proceeded to circle the western suburbs a number of times in the most menacing fashion.

If any proof was required of the menace behind Robert Mugabe’s words broadcast over state radio the day before, that “any mass action will be met with mass action”, here it was for all to see.

Later on Saturday morning after the troops had been withdrawn to their barracks, the citizens of Bulawayo discovered that, not only the western suburbs but now the city centre as well, was covered with an unusually large number of police patrolling in full uniform. The police, who carried radios, were deployed in groups of four or five. They remained on the streets throughout the day.

Here was a glimpse of the only authority left to Zimbabwe’s reviled dictator, and the authority by which he continues to rule against the will of his people. Here was a glimpse also of the reason the expected uprising may have been, not cancelled, but postponed for strategic reasons.

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Visit our blog for regular updates: This is Zimbabwe (Sokwanele blog)

We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Sokwanele does not endorse the editorial policy of any source or website except its own. It retains full copyright on its own articles, which may be reproduced or distributed but may not be materially altered in any way. Reproduced articles must clearly show the source and owner of copyright, together with any other notices originally contained therein, as well as the original date of publication. Sokwanele does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt of this email or use thereof. This document, or any part thereof, may not be distributed for profit.

7. Zimbabwe: Essential websites

- The Zimbabwean Online
- Essential news and events on the elections from Kubatana
- Zvakwana - Enough is Enough: A must visit website for activists
- Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
- ZW News