Tendai Biti defies Mugabe and announces ‘a people’s victory’

2013-07-31 17:59

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MDC secretary Tendai Biti has defied Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and announced that the MDC-T had won the election.

At a press conference held at the MDC-T’s headquarters in downtown Harare, Biti, who is also Zimbabwe’s finance minister, told journalists that “our people will win the elections ... I can confidently say that the mood out there is a mood of a people’s victory. It (election) will not be stolen.”

Biti said this would happen despite the election having been “illegal, illegitimate, unfree and unfair”. The announcement was in defiance of a call by Mugabe earlier this week that anyone who announces election results before an official announcement by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) would be arrested.

Biti had called the press conference to report “major irregularities” uncovered by the party. The irregularities, said Biti, include:

» The discovery of 2 million dead people on the voters’ role.

» At the Tafarha Primary School polling station, 260 people voted and 130 others who are MDC-T supporters were turned away.

» At an MDC-T stronghold there was a deliberate go-slow, with the turnaround time being 15 minutes per candidate in order to frustrate MDC-T supporters. “We have fears that by 7pm a lot of candidates would be turned away.”

» Across the country many people went to vote where they had registered for the 2008 election, only to find that their names appeared in wards far from there. They were turned away.

“Thousands and thousands and thousands of people are being disenfranchised by not finding their names where they had registered,” Biti said.

If the voters’ role had been provided timeously, Biti said people would have been able to verify their credentials and rectify them. The roll, he said, was provided to political parties at midnight last night after numerous court actions.

Biti said they had a meeting with the electoral commission last night, which told them that in future it will avail the voters’ role timeously. Wrong polling stations were also placed in wrong wards, he said, adding that despite Zimbabwe being recognised as a country with high literacy levels, countless people were forced to be assisted by Zanu-PF at the ballot box.

Biti also complained about 40 000 special voters who were allowed to vote today in contravention of Zimbabwean electoral laws. These were supposed to vote with other special voters from July 14 to 16.

The electoral commission had also “suspiciously” printed 2 million more ballot papers, he said, adding that the ZEC had failed to reform the commission.

“So gross are their mistakes that many of them can only be done under the orders of some people and I don’t know who those people are.”

An observer who didn’t want to be named said he also couldn’t understand why the voters’ role was only released a few hours before the polls.

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