Zanu PF tests its rigging machinery
ZANU PF has reportedly manipulated referendum figures to suit its template
for predetermined victory in the next critical general elections, with party
officials telling supporters and would-be voters especially in Mashonaland
provinces since the greater percentage of the “Yes” voters were from its
strongholds, that would translate into a landslide at the polls.
Elias Mambo/Herbert Moyo
With referendum voting trends showing traditional Zanu PF rural strongholds
recorded high turnouts to drive the “Yes” vote compared to urban areas,
there are fears the party could manipulate the results to register a
convincing victory in the imminent make-or-break elections.
According to figures released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec),
voting trends showed an increase of voters in Zanu PF-dominated areas such
as Mashonaland provinces and key regions like Manicaland, Masvingo and
Midlands, raising questions over the accuracy of the results.
While Harare recorded the highest votes with 515 000, Manicaland recorded
418 000; Mashonaland Central 342 000; Mashonaland East 397 000; Mashonaland
West 342 000; Masvingo 304 000; Midlands 394 000, with Bulawayo and the
Matabeleland provinces recording low voter turnout.
Zec says 3 259 454 voted on March 16 and is the highest turnout in any poll
since Independence, beating the previous record of 3 046 891 set in the 2002
Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau initially projected a voter turnout of
close to two million on March 17 before announcing a turnout of more than
three million – a huge increase on its earlier projection.
Zanu PF has vowed to go for broke in the forthcoming high-stakes elections
and is known for using all sorts of strategies and tactics to win by fair
means or foul. Suspicion abounds that the more than three million voter
turnout in the referendum may have been manipulated to give Zanu PF leverage
in its rigging plot ahead of elections.
Those questioning the referendum figures point to the virtual absence of
queues at most polling stations countrywide, contrary to Zec’s claims of a
high voter turnout.
NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku said the results were doctored.
“To claim that there was close to a million more voters in the referendum
than in the March 2008 harmonised elections is to take the public for
fools,” said Madhuku. “In any event, the claim that more than three million
voted is a fraud by Zec.”
Sources in the security sector said there was a parallel collation of
results carried out by the police during the voting process.
“Police sent results every hour to an unknown centre not under the Zec
command centres,” said the source.
Political analyst Blessing Vava said Zanu PF used the referendum to test its
rigging machinery in preparation for the elections.
“This referendum was a dress rehearsal for Zanu PF to test its machinery for
rigging the next elections,” said Vava.
Vava said the NCA had observers at every polling station and is convinced
the figures are nowhere near three million. He said the MDC parties would
“suffer the consequences of their folly in joining Zanu PF to endorse what
was clearly a fraudulent process”.
“While it is understandable for Zanu PF to claim high turnouts, especially
in rural areas, it is surprising the MDC parties endorsed the fraudulent
process. Having endorsed this process, the MDC parties will no longer have
the moral high ground to complain when rigging is repeated in the
elections,” Vava warned.
MDC-T sources said the party failed to field polling agents across the
country, leaving Zec officials and the security apparatus to run the process
Sources said the fraud was committed by printing 12 million ballot papers
for the referendum which many estimated would not even attract a quarter of