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'Zimbabweans need to speak out strongly'

2013-08-02 07:39

Harare - Robert Mugabe's rivals rubbished his claim to election victory Thursday, branding the vote a "sham" and urging "passive resistance" as early results showed the Zimbabwean president's party taking a clear lead.

A top member of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party claimed Mugabe had trounced Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Wednesday's presidential and parliamentary elections.

"We have romped [to victory] in a very emphatic manner," said the party member who asked not to be named. "We have won all of them, including the presidential and parliamentary" (votes).

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First official results from the disputed national assembly elections showed Mugabe's party storming ahead, winning 52 of 62 seats announced.

Zimbabwe's 6.4 million eligible voters were choosing a president, 210 lawmakers and municipal councillors.

But Tsvangirai, who is making his third bid to end 89-year-old Mugabe's 33-year rule, quickly slapped down the victory claims.

"It's a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people," he said, pointing to a litany of alleged irregularities.

"In our view this election is null and void," he added. "This election has been a huge farce."

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the count has been completed and results are now being collated from the first vote since bloody polls in 2008 led to an uneasy power-sharing deal between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.

Tsvangirai stopped short of claiming victory himself, a move that could have enflamed tensions in a country where political violence is common.

But top MDC official Roy Bennett called for a campaign of "passive resistance".

"I'm talking about people completely shutting the country down - don't pay any bills, don't attend work, just bring the country to a standstill."

"There needs to be resistance against this theft and the people of Zimbabwe need to speak out strongly."

Grave misgivings

Foreign diplomats and independent Zimbabwean election observers also expressed grave misgivings about the conduct of the poll.

"Up to a million voters were disenfranchised," said Solomon Zwana, chairperson of Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which has 7 000 observers. "The election is seriously compromised."

The Catholic Church - which has 3 000 people on the ground - said it was premature to call a winner but there was a "strong feeling" across the country that Mugabe would lose.

"If certain people feel their choice was not accepted, they may resort to violence. That potential is still there," a church spokesperson  said.

Since no Western groups were allowed to monitor the polls, the view of observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) may now be pivotal in deciding how the international community reacts.

The SADC said it will deliver its verdict on Friday.

Meanwhile the African Union, accused of whitewashing problems in the run-up to the vote, said initial reports indicated it was "peaceful, orderly, free and fair".

While there were "little incidences here and there", these did not flaw the election "to the point of not reflecting the will of the people", judged former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who led the AU mission.

Final results

Jeffrey Smith, from the Washington-based Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights, said that while it would be wrong to rush to disregard the final results, "we must also not be blind to potential irregularities both leading up to the vote and on the [voting] day".

After years of international sanctions, there had been hopes that a free election would allow Zimbabwe to reset relations with the West.

Final results are expected within five days of the election and police had warned that anyone trying to release unofficial figures ahead of time risked being arrested.

Mugabe himself had even threatened to arrest Tsvangirai if he tried to declare an early victory.

On Tuesday the firebrand vowed to step down if Tsvangirai won, saying: "If you lose you must surrender."

Mugabe shot to prominence as a hero of Africa's liberation movement, guiding Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 from Britain and white minority rule.

But his military-backed rule has been marked by controversial land reforms, a series of violent crackdowns, economic crises and suspect elections that have brought international sanctions and made him a pariah in the West.

Foreign investors

As the economy recovers from a crisis that saw mass unemployment and galloping inflation, Mugabe loyalists insist their hero is "tried and tested" and dismiss concerns about his age.

Mugabe had focused his campaign on attacking homosexuals and on promises to widen the redistribution of wealth to poor black Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai himself had predicted the MDC would win "quite resoundingly".

The 61-year-old former union boss won the first round of voting in 2008, but was forced out of the race after 200 of his supporters were killed and thousands more injured in suspected state-backed attacks.

Tsvangirai hoped his plans to lure back foreign investors, create a million jobs in five years and improve public services would deliver a long-awaited victory.

But some Western analysts said this could be Tsvangirai's last bid at the country's top job if the MDC fails to prevent Mugabe, Africa's oldest leader, sweeping to a seventh term.

For all Zimbabwe election stories please visit our Zimbabwe Special Report Page.

Comments
  • Phumi Ntlabati - 2013-08-02 07:52

    The minority parties in Africa will never concede to a free and fair victory. To them a free and fair election is when they and only they win at the polls. We once more like to congratulate Zimbabwe for their outright rejection of Western Imperialism and their stooges. Amandla!! How I wish this republic could learn a thing or two from them!

      Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat - 2013-08-02 08:14

      So if you are so confident, why not have the whole world observe your 'free and fair' election? The fact that the police prevented people from even getting near results at polling stations should tell you something. Winning by cheating is not winning.

      Thandi Cele - 2013-08-02 08:19

      Come 2014, showerhead is going to be doing exactly the same - stealing an election along with anything else he can can get his grubby little paws on.

      Jambo Lucille - 2013-08-02 08:30

      Well said Phumi, spoken like someone who has never travelled, read a book or experienced what it is like live in a country where the thieves are your own people. By all means, go to Zim, try get some land, maybe a job, see what it is like to earn the US$ and what that US$ can buy you. When you come back with your tail between your legs, just remember those you left behind and what they live with everyday.

      Derek Wright - 2013-08-02 08:32

      Phumi, do you know that 'western imperialists' are by far the biggest donors uf unconditional aid to Africa! To feed people, clinics, hospitals,schools, agriculture, job creation etc including in South Africa. Put you money where your mouth is and go and live in that Zimbabwean paradise. Ask the 5million Zimbabwians here why they are here! Fool!!!

      Eben Van Derr Merwe - 2013-08-02 08:41

      Perhaps you will then also enjoy the poverty and shambles we will be faced with to the like of Zimbabwe. Your hate is clouding your better judgement you fool!!!!.

      Phillys Winterbottom - 2013-08-02 09:11

      this is what the EFF arsewipe phumi ntlabati wrote on Fin24 on 10 june this year(read it carefully): " Mugabe will always remain a hero who never sold out in our eyes. He did the unthinkable of breaking the back of imperialist rule, and gave his people what is dear in their hearts, that is land! Contrary to what reactionary media is saying, Zimbabwe is on the rise. Ten years from now we will be the laughing stock of our neighbours just like Botswana!" hahahahahahh!!!! another malemaarzehole idjit!!

      Robert Reeve - 2013-08-02 09:37

      Idiot!

  • Robert Gabriel Tsvangirai - 2013-08-02 07:53

    In 2008 it took a month to announce the results when Mugabe lost, today it took hours after closing of polls for Mugabe to be declared a winner, people like Zuma still find it credible to say the elections were free and fair. Brace yourself South Africa, zimbos are on their way to come and compete with you for those few jobs still available

      Thandi Cele - 2013-08-02 08:20

      Come 2014, showerhead is going to be doing exactly the same - stealing an election along with anything else he can can get his grubby little paws on.

      Taf Murenje - 2013-08-02 08:55

      I was thinking of the same, then you have the talkshops Sadc and Au endorsing this sham. If process was fair why did ZEC not print the roll a week or so before??

      Bernard Ngwira - 2013-08-02 09:36

      @Robert, thts true and painful,but again the majority Shonas must rise and storm the state hse, you have been voting Mugabe since 1980, how can he rig with such magnitude? Pliz answer me?

      Robert Reeve - 2013-08-02 09:47

      It would pay South Africa not to support Bobby's mobsters and make Zim boom again so all their folk can return to reconstruct the once jewel of Africa that fed from its agriculture, their nation and many others in need. The called it Rhodesia then!

  • Phil Hattingh - 2013-08-02 07:53

    Brace yourself South Africa!

  • Petrus Smit - 2013-08-02 07:55

    So how is that 'passive resistance' working for you?

  • Interesting - 2013-08-02 07:57

    Hahahahaha

  • Interesting - 2013-08-02 08:01

    And all those good people will starve because of it.

  • Jambo Lucille - 2013-08-02 08:09

    Even I find it hard to believe that Zanu PF could pull off a win of this magnitude without the votes of at least half of the population. Surely the rigging could not been this brazen? If it is though, the people must speak out, if not - then should we, the neighbours of Zimbabwe (Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia) continue to feel sorry for the Zimbabwean people. I have lived in Zimbabwe and I feel for the Zimbabweans that needed the change, but if the majority - even through the decade long spiral - still chose Mugabe, then should we still be so neighbourly....?

      Jambo Lucille - 2013-08-02 08:40

      I think so to, I believe they want the MDC to have little or NO seats - hence this magnitude of rigging. I hope then, that the people do not sit back and take this 'defeat'. It is criminal what is happening in that country. The diamond mines, the land grabs, Zimbabwe's indigenisation policy (now wanting 100% from the initial 51%), the plans to take over the banks etc etc. Scary the scale of the devastation that will ensue if not ended soon.

      Naas Du Plessis - 2013-08-02 09:23

      Bob is not an honest man. He has so much blood on his hands

      Bernard Ngwira - 2013-08-02 09:24

      The only solution could be violence.

  • tobiasmuller - 2013-08-02 08:15

    Happy times indeed for Zanu-PF. More suffering for the people of Zimbabwe. What about the future in South Zimbabwe/Zuptastan/Guptastan, where Bob is even more popular? But wait a minute, SA isn't Zimbabwe, is it? Or Africa, even? History judges deluded fools very harshly indeed.

  • Japhet Gochela Mangena - 2013-08-02 08:21

    Vuka Mthwakazi vuka Mthwakazi vuka weMthwakazi

  • Paul Mangwiro - 2013-08-02 08:23

    What message can be stronger than that from the ballot box? A hard place is barely an alternative when you are on a rock, nor the fire when one is in the frying pan. You lost a golden opportunity by pulling out of the 2008 run off and by getting carried away by material gloss during your 4yrs of shameful fame in the GNU as your legislators have been more corrupt than the ZANU PF. It's a pity both the MDC and ZANU are irrelevant white elephants we are better off without. A pity it is, too, that when we're so hard pressed for change we barely had alternatives. Quite a pity, too, that my choice of leader, Simba Makoni, threw his lot with the irresolute, equivocal, shallow and dumbwit 'dick-totter' Morgan whose only message of campaign has always remained; "MUGABE! ZANU PF!" instead of focusing on petinent bread and butter issues affecting us. We'll move on with whoever wins!

      Bernard Ngwira - 2013-08-02 09:16

      @mangwiro, avery good point,again can u help me why we hv 2 Mdcs when the job was to push this Monster out.?

  • Kutloano Nene - 2013-08-02 08:26

    Well done ZANUPF, i use to accusse u 4stilling votes. Esh no clear nw Zim' like Mugabe dis side we r being mislead by d media.

      Philo Pillowcase Simelane - 2013-08-02 09:16

      English 101: An introduction to Grammar classes urgently.........

  • Stinkvingertjie van Tonder - 2013-08-02 08:30

    The world has been in an humanity mode the last few decades, soon it will pass and the strongest will survive. Handouts to the africans will stop, millions will die and the new majority species will be Chinese-African.

      Phillys Winterbottom - 2013-08-02 09:14

      where did you put that finger??

  • BenR - 2013-08-02 08:36

    They indeed 'need to speak up' or accept. People get the government they deserve.

  • Novo911 - 2013-08-02 08:41

    I agree JohanA but this seems to be not only a Zim sickness this is a southern African sickness we all take and eat the politicians poo and eat it we all are a bunch of whusses

  • Brian Ndwane - 2013-08-02 08:52

    A few weeks ago I said Shona people loves Mugabe but I was taken otherwise now it has been proven at 90 Mugabe becomes the first ever President to win elections against a younger person.

      Bernard Ngwira - 2013-08-02 09:04

      Brian, you are correct , They love the dictator , they hv brought pain & suffering to the minorities in Zim.

  • Graham Phillips - 2013-08-02 08:54

    why are mugabe`s people allowed to announce the the election results but anyone else who announces will be arrested for braking the law

      Philo Pillowcase Simelane - 2013-08-02 09:16

      thats a good question i was asking myself.................

      Slice Cucu - 2013-08-02 13:26

      Noone did announce but they did claim victory , get ur english right

  • Richard - 2013-08-02 08:56

    Here comes trouble.

  • pws69 - 2013-08-02 09:00

    The results published by www.Sokwanele.com are at odds with the results post on the Baba Jukwa Facebook page. Baba Jukwa results are apparently the results sent in from observers at polling stations. As an example: Chegutu West Sokwanele: 58% to Zanu Baba Jukwa: 72% to MDCT In this video (http://vimeo.com/71455891) two bus loads of "voters" are delivered to a polling station. All have the same address, which is across the road from the polling station (you now need a bus to cross the road??) and some of these "voters" are estimated to be 14 to 16 years old. Be very interesting to see how polling agent results compare to official results. Interestingly enough, party monitors were barred from monitoring the count at some stations, and the voting stations refused to post the results outside the voting station as required by law, stating they would send the results directly to the central ZEC office. So, why do I care? We have our own elections next year, and the best way to minimize vote manipulation is to have party monitors at every single voting station. Volunteer as a monitor for your political party. It is one day out of your life to ensure a clean election. Not a lot to ask. I've worked the last two elections, and I have confidence in our processes and the IEC but it is always best to err on the side of caution. DA supporters can find their nearest office at www.da.org.za and click the contact button.

      Victoria Falls Jobs - 2013-08-03 16:12

      the truth will set u free...

  • Phillys Winterbottom - 2013-08-02 09:04

    anyone who thinks this was going to be free and fair, and knows the long history of greed, corruption, murder and mayhem that the mugarbage syphilitic old cnut has caused against his very own people needs to have their heads examined!!! Sadly this english-styled hitler-mustacheod miscreant will never see the hangman's noose for his massacre of 10's of thousands of his own countrymen or the inside of Chikurubi prison where he belongs, and where his sadistic CIO have tortured and murdered 1000's of people!!! Hell is too good a place for this shytebag!!

  • Mark Russell - 2013-08-02 09:05

    Would this type is action work? Mugabe had his own money and services taken care of. I think that hampering the already damaged economy would probably only hurt regular citizens. Unfortunately it is looking more like the masses need to take back their country by force. .... if that is what they want

  • Nqaba Tom - 2013-08-02 09:06

    People must not be confused by MDC who has loud voice and think that is the view of majority. It is like in South Africa someone outside may think DA is the majority party because of their loud noise. Zimbabweans have spoken for themselves.

  • Fani Mthethwa - 2013-08-02 09:08

    in africa ANC is the best never cheated win clean not even oppositions complain when it comes to elections zim people must go home and fight this cheaters we cant help them for ever , it heppened to us ,when they fight the zanu pf ,a lot of people will be lost ,but that is the price you pay ,when you fight for freedom

      pws69 - 2013-08-02 09:26

      Agreed Fani, our processes are pretty rock solid historically, and the issues raised in past elections were very minor, and sorted out very quickly. It would have been great to have our IEC run the Zim elections. If that had happened, I don't think anyone would have questions the voting results (intimidation would have been outside of their control).

  • Wayne Edwards - 2013-08-02 09:11

    Sorry Zimbo's but there's No hope for you all !!!

  • Philo Pillowcase Simelane - 2013-08-02 09:12

    Its a pity that im part of the SADC Mission in Zimbabwe currently here in Zimbabwe and i can safely say that this interim results are not a reflection of what exactly transpired here. Morgan was winning some provinces but when the results were announced, i was shocked because thats not what we saw on the ground. Only God knows.

  • Edwin Chipungu - 2013-08-02 09:14

    Zimbabweans are very individualistic.The probability of people uniting and bring to a standstill all activities is close to zero.Infact,some people get rich under the circurmstances.The Egpytion type of action is not a Zimbabwean thing.

  • Holdanigono - 2013-08-02 09:18

    "As the economy recovers from a crisis that saw mass unemployment and galloping inflation, Mugabe loyalists insist their hero is "tried and tested" and dismiss concerns about his age." -the MDC with the guidance of Tendai Biti is responsible for this recovery- Mugaby is the one who caused the slump

  • Phumlani Lolly Veliti - 2013-08-02 09:22

    I feel sorry for those(private companies and individuals) who have invested in Zimbabwe. Its sky blue(clear)that it's gonna be hell for them. He's on the lead(won) and why not congratulate him.

  • Jammies Jamneck - 2013-08-02 09:22

    No snipers left in Zim??? you will see how his soldiers run or turn....damm...you are brave enough to kill our farmers with you mozambiqen friends but not man enough for the wicked one..

      Brenda Mudenda - 2013-08-03 18:52

      Jammies....I'd kill those farmers ten times before their actual death...they steal our land, riches n abuse us and u think we shld smile....pple like you wld multreat blacks over n over gven a chance to...

  • Bruce Mawillis - 2013-08-02 09:30

    This vote is not rigged , polling stations had au, sadc , zanupf, mdct and mdc people and votes were counted after with all parties there. If the results were close maybe you would have said something but its now a landslide victory . Zanupf won resoundingly and the people's voice has spoken. In 2008 you were cheated everyone knows that but this is 2013 and you made a mistake of entering government of Zanupf. Zanupf is filled with lawyers and in 2008 you legimitised their cheating .85 percent of zanu politburo are lawyers or have a law degree and you honestly thought you would outwit them.

  • Naas Du Plessis - 2013-08-02 09:31

    Wait until he gets his new piggy bank. Isn't 4 bil us enough??

  • Livo Naledi - 2013-08-02 09:37

    one can easily see why botswana has always been touted as the best democracy in africa, since africa's independence from european colonisers!

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