I do apologize for the four-day gap in communication but we were called
Harare for an urgent National Executive meeting and I have been in the
capital since then dealing with the aftermath of the elections.
By now you have all had the results - official and unofficial, but just
summarize them - Zanu PF took 78 seats, MDC 41 and Independents 1. I
do not have the total poll numbers and a lot of other detail - simply
not had the time to follow this up, but it looks as if there was a low
compared to the voters roll (expected) and the MDC has rejected the
of the poll. Mugabe is crowing and Mbeki bowing down to this regional
of electoral fraud.
My rough calculations suggest that there were about 500 000 false
this election - down from the 2002 election when our data suggested 800
false ballots. On this occasion of course, they simply had to target
sufficient constituencies to ensure that the regime obtained their
majority. A message passed on to Morgan Tsvangirai from an agent in the
State security services said that in fact the MDC had "won" in 94 of
seats. An unofficial comment from another representative of the
community (not Zimbabwean) suggested that the MDC had won "over 80
What was very disappointing was the appalling lack of integrity (or was
simply stupidity) in the SA and the SADC observer missions. But then we
told by almost everyone before this whole farce was conducted that we
wasting our time and money - the election would be rigged (Zanu PF
get off the Tiger without being eaten, hypothesis) and that the African
observer missions would whitewash the result. Our detractors were spot
but it was worth the effort.
Let me just try to summarize the electoral situation here as a backdrop
your own analysis. The voters roll had 5,7 million names in it.
last census of its population showed a total population of 11,6
This was nearly 2 million short of the anticipated total projected from
previous census in 1992. By extrapolating these census figures and
death rates and migration estimates we now think the total population
fewer than 11 million. Of this total 45 per cent would be over 18 -
about the historical average.
So we start this analysis with a total adult population of 4,95
we assume (optimistically) that 75 per cent register as voters then we
up with a potential voter register of 3,7 million. Of this number at
very best we could expect a voter turn out of (say) 65 per cent and
suggests total voter turn out of 2,4 million - 42 per cent of the
registered on the voters roll. This was just about the total number of
cast, so on the surface we have quite a good turn out.
But it must be understood that we now have a death rate of over 300 000
adults a year and migration has been running at about 500 000 a year.
this has been the case then actual potential voter numbers may be much
than the above estimate - perhaps as low as 1,8 to 1,9 million and
estimate of false ballots.
Whatever the real situation, the voters roll was about 60 per cent
and there were at least 2,7 million "ghost" voters on the roll. These
manipulated and used to pad out areas where Zanu PF felt they could
the election campaign and control the electoral process. It was by
means that the delimitation exercise was gerrymandered to further tilt
electoral process against the MDC.
In the 2004 delimitation exercise 40 seats were allocated to urban
This is one third of the total number of seats contested. However, in
past 25 years the percentage of the total population located in the
areas has risen steadily - and is now estimated at over 60 per cent.
means that the MDC strongholds were under represented by almost 100 per
in the numbers of seats they should have been allocated. With the urban
population rising by about 5 to 6 per cent per annum and the total
population shrinking by about 2 per cent - rural populations are
quite rapidly. Harare/Chitungwiza metropolitan area has over 3 million
people living in it according to municipal records. This is equal to
million potential voters - say 1 million for the voter's roll or a
total potential voters yet it has only 18 seats - 15 per cent of the
Then you have what I call the invisible hand of intimidation. We have
populations that now enjoy little or no security over their means of
and who live at or below subsistence. These people face instant penury
they are deprived in any way of their means of survival. They include
panners (about 500 000 adults), "settlers" on expropriated commercial
(about 200 000 adults) and peasant farmers in communal areas (1 million
adults). All of these groups are subject to the whims of Zanu PF and
obey their dictates if they want to survive. The pressures are enormous
from families threatened with expulsion from their homes in communal
districts by local Headmen who are appointed and paid by the State and
as "enforcers". They include the threat to small-scale miners that they
be expelled from their claims - 90 per cent of which are illegal. They
include thousands of small informal businesses in urban areas where
to operate are controlled by Zanu dominated administrations.
Any of these people who voted MDC are faced with threats of one kind or
another - sanctions on food and agricultural inputs from government
are widespread and in the context of this year when we have 6 million
threatened with starvation, a life or death issue. At one polling
a commercial farm 190 votes were cast for Zanu PF, one vote for the
When this result was seen by the "constituency control center" the
was made - that this one vote must have been the white farmer and death
threats were made - until the returning officer for the polling station
that he had not voted. A Minister had threatened the workers previously
if you vote MDC we will confiscate the farm. The workers voted to
their jobs with one of the few remaining white farmers in the country.
white farmer was simply too frightened even to vote.
Then there is the voting process itself. In my wife's polling station
were 18 officials - 11 teachers, 4 policemen, one CIO officer and 3
officials from the Electoral Commission. We were allowed one polling
into the polling center at any one time and they, without exception,
treated with hostility or worse. Our people tried to watch the poll
the day and to count the vote's cast, in the evening they also tried to
witness the verification and counting process. Then, unexpectantly,
were locked in while the returning officer took the result off to the
control center where the results were reported. On return the
officials informed our agents of the result for the station and then
with all the records in a government truck for an unknown destination.
When the results were subsequently announced they bore little
the physical count on the ground. In one constituency the total number
votes counted exceeded the physical count of voters by nearly 100 per
As Stalin said " it is not who votes that counts, but who counts the
So what do we do from here - well that is still being decided but one
is sure - the legal route is a waste of time (in 2000 and 2002 we
justice from the Courts and were denied). Also under threat is the
our people in the whole democratic process. Three times now the vote
been stolen from the people. To say we are angry and disappointed is to
it mildly and if you weigh up all the possibilities, there is really
one remaining option.
Bulawayo, 5th April 2005