The Devil that just will not die
Who said change was easy? Here we are, 14 days after the election and a
complete stalemate exists. Tonight Mugabe has announced that he will
attend the SADC summit on Saturday and this completes his admission
election has gone against him and he is now acting completely outside
law and violating his own constitution. He has illegally reappointed
cabinet and continues in office as if he was still President. The
have deployed and today they banned all political activity. In effect
have staged a military coup.
The action started on Sunday two weeks ago, when just after lunch, the
and the National Command Centre told the President that he had lost the
election. At that stage the results were 58 percent, Tsvangirai, 27
Mugabe and 15 percent Makoni. This resulted in a hurriedly convened
Politburo meeting and a decision to simply falsify the election results
give Mugabe a victory. When confronted by the security chiefs and his
staff and ZEC he eventually backed down and agreed to allow a result
showed Tsvangirai at slightly less than 50 per cent and a much improved
position for himself - a face saving formula.
Then came an effort to get him to step down, this was blocked by Mugabe
on the Thursday after the election, the Zanu PF leadership, working
heads of the armed forces in the JOC, decided to hardball the
They decided to force a re-run, extend the period before the re-run to
days instead of the 21 days laid down in the Constitution and to
the run off, intimidate the population and the MDC and to threaten that
would 'go back to the bush if Mugabe was defeated'.
Regional leaders intervened and Zanu PF backed down - or appeared to
down. They held another politburo meeting and announced that they would
allow an audit of the V11 forms (requested by the MDC on Tuesday) and
final count showed that Tsvangirai had less than 50 per cent of the
would insist on a re-run and allow the ZEC to run this on their own.
did not say what they would do if the vote were more than 50 per cent
favor of Tsvangirai.
ZEC then proceeded to bring all the V11 forms into town and a recount
Presidential ballot was undertaken. This was completed by mid morning
Monday. Still no declaration of the result. Instead, Zanu PF produced a
of 25 constituencies where they alleged there were irregularities. To
support this they arrested 7 ZEC officials and charged them with
counting the ballots for Mugabe'. They demanded a recount of the vote
those constituencies. This of course is a huge undertaking and illegal.
While this was going on, on Thursday they suddenly moved the whole of
ZEC office to a secret location. Denying the Chief Election Agents for
Presidential candidates access to the ZEC process. Even Simba Makoni
of the candidates, was denied access. The Chief Executive of the ZEC, a
PF functionary took over and even the Commissioners and the Chairman of
seemed to have little influence over what happened.
On Friday (today) ZEC held a number of recounts. We (MDC) decided not
attend as the process was unlawful and unconstitutional and we had had
control of the ballot boxes since the election. In addition we heard
they were going to interfere with the ballots themselves. So instead of
MDC attending - we sent lawyers to protest the recounts as being
and saying we would not witness the recounts and would not accept the
What outsiders need to understand is just what happened during the
and why we can say with conviction that we won.
When each polling station closed its doors to the voters on Saturday
(over 9000 of them) the polling station staff from ZEC took a short
and then started the count. This was done in meticulous way. Each of
four boxes were opened, one by one and their contents poured onto a
front of perhaps 10 to 20 polling agents (each candidate was allowed
polling agent - in my case that was 3 for the local government
for the parliamentary candidates, 4 for the senate and 4 for the
presidential candidates - 16 in all). Each ballot was held up and
and then the candidate voted for was noted and the ballot placed in
pile. When this was completed the piles of ballots were counted and
recounted and only after all were satisfied were the results recorded.
When this process was completed for each election and each candidate,
results were tallied and agreed - then the V11 form was completed by
Returning Officer (ZEC) and this was then signed - by each political
representative and the Returning Officer as the official result. A copy
then posted on the door of the polling station.
The V11 forms were then taken to a Command Centre for each electoral
district. This meant there were command centers for the local
candidates, for the parliamentary candidates and for the senate. Only
presidential ballot returns were sent to Harare for collating at the
National Command Center. In the case of all the other candidates we
had been elected before lunch on Sunday - I knew I had been elected
on Sunday morning and was declared the winner by ZEC in my electoral
So the critical thing to note is that the V11 forms are a legally
document - signed by all parties to the election and verified at the
stations. I had 48 hours to appeal the election and if I did not - it
taken that I accepted the results. After that, if I had wanted to
result I would have had to go to the Courts and argue my case - but
ballot itself could not be the basis of this appeal. That was final.
When they were counting the presidential results (over 9 000 V11 forms)
was the MDC team to saw the very high ballot figures for some of the
Mashonaland constituencies and stopped the count - we then demanded
the original forms and this took nearly 3 days to bring them into
But already our own tabulations based on 90 per cent of the results
polling stations (we did not have 100 per cent coverage) had given us
percent vote for Tsvangirai - even with the funnies in Mashonaland
still have to investigate. It was this figure we then took to the
We guessed that this would not change much in the remaining 10 per cent
the ballot and announced we had won the election. We were certain of
from leaks in the CIO and the ZEC itself. Now we understand the final
of the presidential ballot has been completed - without our observers
watching the process as laid down in the Electoral Act and we
that Morgan Tsvangirai is in the lead by a comfortable margin of well
50 per cent - in fact much better than we had originally expected.
But the devil just will not lie down and die. They have staged recounts
the ballots (all illegal and having no force or effect) and are clearly
trying to do everything they can to get a re-run. In expectation that
will succeed, they have deployed senior officers to all electoral
and have issued weapons to militia and the so-called 'war
veterans'. The war
was 28 years ago so most of the real vets are old or deceased. We are
a wave of violence against our activists and MDC structures. Clearly
think they can win a re-run using the tactics that served them so well
MDC will just not accept this state of affairs - we have said we won
election and when the ZEC finally gives us the result of their count,
will be proved, even after all this nonsense. We are saying we will not
condone a rerun as we won the election by more than 50 per cent. The
behavior of the State since the election pretty much declares as much.
We have been very patient and tolerant of Zanu PF behavior - as have
whole region and Africa as a whole. But now its time to stand up and
more! If the election results are not announced soon or the crisis
by SADC leaders, we have said we will call on the country to basically
down until they do, from next Tuesday.
SADC meets in the morning and bears a heavy burden in that they have to
defend constitutional government and legitimacy in the region. An
has been held - it was neither free nor fair and it was managed in a
partisan manner. Even so, the MDC beat Zanu PF and it is time to tell
to leave office and allow his beleaguered country to start its long
back to sanity and recovery.
Bulawayo, 11th April 2008