How ZANU-PF rigs elections


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The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front inflated the number of voters in Mutare, Gwanda, Makonde and Gweru prior to the local government elections of 2003, according to an audit by the Movement for Democratic Change.

MDC director of Elections Remus Makuwaza said the initial audit had indicated that 4 000 people had been added in Mutare, 3 000 in Gwanda, 7 000 in Makonde and 6 000 in Gweru.

In Harare Central 1 7000 voters had been dropped.

MDC Shadow Minister of Justice David Coltart said the registrar-general’s office in Bulawayo had had delayed releasing he voters’ rolls until a week before the elections but even then, one of five rolls was outstanding.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1717, MIXED REPORTS IN RUN-UP TO ZIMBABWE’S LOCAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1717

2003-08-29 10:21

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001717

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MIXED REPORTS IN RUN-UP TO ZIMBABWE’S LOCAL

ELECTIONS

 

REF: (A) HARARE 1711 (B) HARARE 636 (C) 2002 HARARE

2354

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Zimbabwe will hold two parliamentary

by-elections, and mayoral and urban council elections in

twenty cities across the country on August 30 – 31. Embassy

Harare has been coordinating with other missions in Harare to

mount an observation effort to cover most of the

constituencies. There have been incidents of violence,

vote-buying, and other machinations; but there have also been

positive signs – police have arrested individuals alleged to

have been involved in intimidation, the GOZ has authorized

substantially more local election observers, and candidates

have met to reduce tensions. END SUMMARY

 

2. (U) Zimbabwe will hold two parliamentary by-elections,

seven mayoral, and eighteen urban council elections in twenty

cities across the country on August 30 – 31. By-elections

are scheduled for Makonde (Mashonaland West) and Harare

Central districts. In Makonde, ZANU-PF Minister of Higher

Education Dr. Swithun Mombeshora, who also had been MP for

Makonde since 1980, died from a stroke in March. MDC Harare

Central MP Michael Auret resigned due to prolonged illness.

The mayoral and urban council elections are being held

according to Zimbabwe’s convoluted schedule for such events;

more are to be held in November. With terms of five years,

this is the fist time that the opposition MDC, formed in

1999, has contested these seats. ZANU-PF still needs five

parliamentary seats to obtain a majority – these by-elections

are unlikely to change that number.

 

Observers

———

 

3. (C) Embassy Harare has been coordinating with other

missions in Harare to mount an observation effort to cover

most of the constituencies around the country. The GOZ has

accredited 308 observers from the Zimbabwe Elections Support

Network (ZESN)– enough to cover most of planned 350 – 400

polling stations. This stands in stark contrast to previous

elections in which a tiny fraction of ZESN’s proposed

observers were accredited. At the same time, the government

has not responded to repeated requests from numerous

diplomatic missions (including this one) for accreditation of

observers.

 

Machinations

————

 

4. (C) Based on their initial audit, MDC director of

elections Remus Makuwaza said that 4,000 people have been

added to the voters’ roll in Mutare, 3,000 in Gwanda, 7,000

in Makonde, and 6,000 in Gweru since the last elections in

those cities. 1,700 have been inexplicably dropped from

voters’ rolls in Harare Central alone. MDC Shadow Minister

of Justice and Bulawayo MP David Coltart reported that the

Registrar General’s Office in Bulawayo delayed release of

voters’ rolls to MDC officials until the week before the

election despite repeated requests; one of five rolls remains

outstanding. The MDC Mayor of Bulawayo reported that his

staff observed youths engaging in activities suspected to be

associated with ballot-stuffing. According to an independent

councilor in Mutare, where council and mayoral elections will

be held, youth militia members recently distributed Grain

Marketing Board (GMB) sourced maize meal to ZANU-PF party

cardholders only, a practice MDC officials maintain is

widespread. In the same vein, the independent press reported

that youth militia members in Bulawayo also sold GMB maize

for Z$1,000 (US$.18) per 10 kg bag, while the normal price

had been around Z$14,000 (US$2.50).

 

5. (C) According to Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN)

Director Reginald Matchaba-Hove, the Registrar General had

not formally announced polling stations locations as of

August 27. He also anticipated there would be “mobile

polling stations” in Makonde, and that the Registrar General

might reduce the overall number of polling stations

throughout the country from 441 to 350.

 

Violence

——–

 

6. (U) Ruling party supporters used intimidation tactics to

prevent at least twenty potential candidates from registering

their candidacies at nominations held on July 21 (Ref B).

Human rights lawyers in Mutare reported that during the week

of August 11, ruling party members beat about fifty MDC

supporters, including council and mayoral candidates. The

MDC also reported on August 27 that six of its polling agents

in Kwekwe were abducted and beaten by ruling party

supporters, and candidates in Kadoma and Kwekwe had been

intimidated by late-night visits by suspected members of the

Central Intelligence Office (CIO). In Makonde police

arrested members of a gang known as “Top Six” for attacking

MDC election agent Joseph Mutsvangwa on August 25. In Gwanda

police arrested ruling party supporters who reportedly had

intimidated MDC members and candidates during the week of

August 18. According to MDC officials, unknown assailants on

August 27 petrol-bombed the home of MDC council candidate

Nathan Makwasha in Kariba.

 

Progress

——–

 

7. (C) The Mutare troika of bishops called a meeting of all

three mayoral candidates and secured their public agreement

to abide by a “code of conduct” agreement and to call on

their supporters to conduct their campaigns peacefully (Ref

A). They established an office to mediate pre-election

complaints associated with the code of conduct. According to

Thomas Bvuma, Public Relations Coordinator for the GOZ’s

Electoral Supervisory Committee (ESC), as required by law ESC

officials had formed multi-party liaison committees in

Makonde and Harare Central to foster dialogue aimed at

reducing pre-election violence. ESC’s Bulawayo coordinator

reported such a liaison committee was working well in his

district and already had resolved a number of complaints

amicably.

 

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) While there have been troublesome levels of reported

violence, intimidation, and other machinations in the run-up

to these elections, the incidents appear to be fewer in

number and less egregious than in previous local elections

(Refs). On a national level, these elections will do little

to change the political imbalance of power in the short run.

Nevertheless, the integrity of their conduct and outcome may

have an impact on atmospherics for possible inter-party

dialogue and on the parties’ efforts to play to international

opinion.

SULLIVAN

(12 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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