Mutambara stumbles at first hurdle


0

Movement for Democratic Change leader Arthur Mutambara stumbled in the first by-elections to test the strength of his faction which he claimed was the legitimate MDC when the rival Morgan Tsvangirai faction swept the Budiriro seat.

Emmanuel Chisvuure of the Tsvangirai faction won 7 949 votes, almost twice the number polled by the other two candidates.

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front candidate, Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes while the Mutambara faction candidate, Gabriel Chaibva won a paltry 504 votes.

The seat was left vacant following the death of Gilbert Shoko who had represented the united MDC. Shoko garnered 17 053 votes.

The three candidates were generally allowed to conduct rallies. However, in an incident that attracted widespread media attention but had no impact on the election results, police arrested pro-Senate leader Mutambara along with Chaibva and dozens of other party members for allegedly campaigning without permission.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE610, ANTI-SENATE MDC FACTION WINS PARLIAMENTARY

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE610

2006-05-22 16:08

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXYZ0053

RR RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHSB #0610/01 1421608

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 221608Z MAY 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0072

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1213

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1049

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1219

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0033

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0477

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0843

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1270

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3636

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1042

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1679

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1428

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000610

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2015

TAGS: ASEC PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: ANTI-SENATE MDC FACTION WINS PARLIAMENTARY

BY-ELECTION

 

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1

.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) The anti-Senate MDC faction candidate, Emmanuel

Chisvuure, successfully defended the Budiriro constituency in

a by-election held on May 20. The seat was vacant as a

result of the February death of MDC M.P. Gilbert Shoko. In a

tally confirmed by an independent election observing body,

Chisvuure won 64 percent of the vote and the ruling ZANU-PF

party candidate garnered 32 percent. The pro-Senate MDC

candidate managed only 4 percent of the vote, a major setback

for the fledgling party in its first foray into national

electoral politics. The Harare high-density suburb was

generally peaceful during the campaign and on election day,

marred only by sporadic acts of violence and by the brief

detention of the pro-Senate MDC leader Arthur Mutambara and

his candidate. End summary.

 

—————————

Tsvangirai’s MDC Holds Seat

 

SIPDIS

—————————

 

2. (SBU) Results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral

Commission (ZEC) and confirmed by parallel vote counts

conducted by the independent Zimbabwe Election Support

Network (ZESN) and the anti-Senate MDC show that anti-Senate

MDC candidate Chisvuure received 7,949 votes, almost twice

that of the other two competitors. Chisvuure was the

campaign manager for Shoko when the latter won the seat in

the March 2005 parliamentary elections. Significantly,

Shoko, who had remained loyal to MDC President Tsvangirai

during the recent party split, had garnered 17,053 votes last

March.

 

3. (SBU) The largely unknown ZANU-PF candidate, Jeremiah

Bvirindi, got 3,961 votes as compared to 4,886 for the

ZANU-PF candidate last March. The pro-Senate MDC candidate,

Gabriel Chaibva, who lives outside of Budiriro, was the

day,s big loser, winning only 504 votes. Voter turnout was

26 percent, well below last March, but according to ZESN

officials, typical for a by-election. The anti-Senate

faction of the MDC and ZESN both had observers at all 24

polling stations and at the constituency counting center to

monitor the final tabulation.

 

4. (SBU) Full statistics are not yet available, but ZESN

estimates that approximately 2,500 would-be voters were

turned away at the polling stations. The chief reason for

these turn-aways appears to be a change in the electoral law

last year that forbids the use of driver’s licenses as proof

of identification. ZESN officials noted that most voters

appeared to be unaware of this change and said that it would

alert ZEC to the need to conduct better voter education in

the future.

 

———————–

Generally Calm Election

———————–

 

5. (SBU) Observers from ZESN and western Embassies in Harare

) including one accredited observer from post ) reported

relative calm on election day, with voters progressing

smoothly through polls and electoral agents generally acting

professionally. In a briefing to the diplomatic community on

May 22, ZESN Chairperson Reginald Matchaba-Hove reported only

one violent incident on election day, when MDC supporters

 

allegedly assaulted four ZANU-PF supporters near a polling

station. Police also arrested an apparent ZANU-PF supporter

who was caught with a bag of fraudulent ballots.

 

6. (SBU) The campaign period was also generally peaceful,

but Matchaba-Hove noted that supporters of the anti-Senate

MDC candidate had engaged in some “petty thuggery,” including

vandalism of four homes belonging to ZANU-PF supporters and

the assault of ZANU-PF supporters who attended anti-Senate

MDC rallies. A Japanese diplomat who attended Tsvangirai’s

rally in Budiriro on May 14 was also surrounded, shoved, and

threatened by anti-Senate youths who reportedly believed the

diplomat was Chinese.

 

7. (SBU) The three candidates were generally allowed to

conduct rallies. However, in an incident that attracted

widespread media attention but had no impact on the election

results, police arrested pro-Senate leader Mutambara along

with Chaibva and dozens of other party members on May 19 for

allegedly campaigning without permission. The pro-Senate

organizers were released later that day, but have been

ordered to return to court on May 22.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) The anti-senate MDC probably had the most at stake in

the by-election. A loss to ZANU-PF in what it considered a

&safe8 seat would have been a sharp setback. Although it

dodged that bullet and for the first time successfully

conducted a parallel vote count, Tsvangirai and his

supporters have to be disappointed with the relatively low

voter turnout, which clearly points to voter apathy as a

major obstacle to their efforts to press for political and

economic change.

 

9. (C) That said, ZANU-PF also has to be disappointed with

the results. The ZANU-PF candidate’s defeat came despite

Mugabe’s personal appearance in the district two days before

the election. Moreover, a ZANU-PF victory in an MDC

stronghold would have justified the party,s campaign bravado

that the MDC was “doomed.” However, the most disappointed

party has to be the pro-Senate faction of the MDC, which took

a significant hit to its legitimacy. Its meager showing will

further marginalize the faction, which has largely failed to

attract popular support and which has begun to bleed

supporters in recent months. The faction has yet to be heard

from publicly following the election and will have a

difficult time spinning the results as anything other than a

disaster.

 

10. (C) Arguably the best showing in the by-election was put

in by ZESN, which dramatically improved its performance from

last March and emerged from the by-election both stronger and

more independent. ZESN also successfully conducted a

parallel vote count for the first time. Moreover, its public

and private statements were timely and firm, including

forthright condemnation of opposition-led violence.

SCHULTZ

 

(8 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *