Below is Cross’s article in full
The Harsh Reality
Well the elections have come and gone, Mugabe voted for Nelson Chamisa and the MDC Alliance and the rest of us queued on average for about 3 hours to cast our votes. I voted in a tent and could hardly see the ballot paper. I had to use my cellphone to illuminate the voters roll to find my entry and without the same light I would not have recognized any candidate. All three ballots were poorly printed – the text was so small it was difficult to read.
But I voted and at our polling station I guess the turnout was over 80 per cent. Very few were turned away and it was, by and large cheerful and with no tension at all. The Police were outside the tent and very helpful. From all accounts it was like that all over the country. Quite unlike any other election in the past 20 years – very good so far. In fact, looking back over the past 8 months since the MAT in November 2017, there is little doubt in my mind that this was the most democratic election in Zimbabwe since Independence.
As Stalin said in the 1930’s, ‘it is not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the vote that determines the outcome’. This was no different. I won my election in 2013 partly because I had tight control over all polling stations, people who could read and write to check the count when it took place at the polling stations and then a team at the control center where the vote was tallied and announced. I knew by three in the morning that I had won, how many votes had been cast and for whom and how many had voted for Morgan Tsvangirai as President. I also knew how many people had voted with voter slips that were used in 2013 to influence the outcome.
When the Electoral Commission announced my results they had tampered with the Presidential ballot, not mine and all I had to do was phone the Commission and say their numbers were wrong. Without any further discussion or pressure they amended the results to reflect what I knew was the position. If you cannot do this in every polling station (11000) and every Command Center (210) then whoever is running the elections can do what they want.
This election was no different, you could tell where MDC Candidates had their poll tied up – they won. Hwange was a prime example. One of my criticisms of the international Community in these elections was that they failed to support the polling agent system. In all previous elections we had significant assistance with this aspect – training for agents, provision of materials and food and a small per diem. This time nothing.
The problem with such a situation is that when it comes to reporting the results the ZEC has no choice but to accept the results from each Command Center. These returns, cover the election of Councilors, Members of Parliament and the President. Each return must be signed by everyone representing the candidates at the Command Centers when the tally was concluded – otherwise the result cannot be announced, as they are, at every center. Once that process is complete, the election is over for everyone.
So it is that when it was announced that Zanu had won 68 per cent of the Parliamentary seats, there was no real outcry. The results were accepted because they had been agreed at the Command Centers by all Candidates and their representatives, MDC increased their tally from 49 (2013) to 64, leaving Zanu with a narrow two thirds majority.
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