Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party will not take part in elections until reforms are made, media reports said on Saturday. “Unless there are reforms, participation in those by-elections would be futile,” said Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist who beat long-time leader Robert Mugabe in the first round of presidential elections in 2008 and later served as prime minister in a coalition government. His comments were carried by the official Herald daily.
Southern African countries said Monday they found it “very difficult” to declare Zimbabwe’s elections fair, thanks to Robert Mugabe’s monopoly on state media and problems with the electoral roll. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission which observed the July 31 election declared the poll “credible” but stopped short of calling it fair. “On the question of fairness, it’s very difficult to say everything was fair,” SADC election observer Bernard Membe said in the capital Harare as he summarised his report. The 15-member regional body reiterated its call for sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States against Zimbabwe to be lifted, saying they actually helped Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. “Sanctions cannot be used as a tool for winning elections. As long as sanctions are there, this ZANU-PF will prevail for another 100 years,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC withdrew a court challenge against President Robert Mugabe’s re-election through a vote the party had denounced as fraudulent, saying on Friday it would not get a fair hearing. Mugabe, 89, and his ZANU-PF party were declared winners of the July 31 election but the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had filed a motion for the constitutional court to overturn the result. A hearing on the MDC challenge, which had alleged widespread vote-rigging and intimidation by ZANU-PF, had been planned for Saturday. “I can confirm that we have withdrawn the presidential election petition. There are a number of reasons, including the failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release critical evidence in this matter,” MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said. The decision appeared to end any hope of further action by the MDC through the courts, which Tsangirai’s party have said are dominated by ZANU-PF along with other state institutions in the southern African nation, formerly known as Rhodesia.
Zimbabwe: Mugabe tells opponents who dispute Zimbabwe election results to 'go hang… commit suicide' | The Independent
Hitting back at the furore over his disputed victory in last month’s elections, Robert Mugabe launched a new tirade against his opponents, telling them to “go hang”. In his first public speech since the 31 July elections, the 89-year-old Mr Mugabe taunted his defeated rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who is currently launching a court challenge to what he describes as a “fraudulent and stolen” vote. Mr Mugabe dismissed Mr Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as “pathetic puppets” and “Western stooges”. Mr Mugabe was speaking at a national shrine outside Harare at the annual Heroes’ Day rally to honour heroes of the country’s liberation wars. The MDC boycotted the event in protest at the contested vote. The President did not name Mr Tsvangirai directly during his hour-long speech, but his opponent was clearly the target of some choice invective. “Those who lost elections may commit suicide if they so wish. Even if they die, dogs will not eat their flesh,” Mr Mugabe said.
Zimbabwe: Prime Minister says election was manipulated and is not credible, poses new political crisis | Washington Post
Allegations of vote-rigging flowed in Zimbabwe on Thursday, with reports of fake registration cards, voters turned away from the polls and people appearing on voters’ lists four times with different IDs. Even before results were announced, the main opposition camp said longtime President Robert Mugabe stole the election, which his supporters denied. Either way, the country faces fresh political uncertainty. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the main challenger to Mugabe, said the elections on Wednesday were “null and void” due to violations in the voting process, and a poll monitoring group that is not affiliated with the state said the poll was compromised by a campaign to stop voters from casting ballots. In the first official results announced by the state election commission late Thursday, Mugabe’s party captured 28 of the 210 parliamentary seats, compared to three won by Tsvangirai’s party. Most of those results came from Mugabe’s rural strongholds. The elections had posed one of the biggest challenges to Mugabe’s 33-year grip on power on this former British colony, but claims by his opponents that the election was tainted and declarations of victory by the president’s supporters suggested his political career was far from over.
A Zimbabwean election commissioner has resigned, citing doubts about the integrity of results showing a big win for President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party but dismissed as a fraud-riddled farce by his main challenger. Mkhululi Nyathi said he quit the nine-member Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) over the way it managed the presidential and parliamentary vote held on Wednesday. His resignation is likely to add to the dispute over the election both inside and outside Zimbabwe. The vote, which looks certain to extend 89-year-old Mugabe’s 33-year rule in the southern African nation, passed off peacefully and received broad approval from African observers. Africa’s oldest leader, Mugabe has governed the former British colony, then known as Rhodesia, since independence in 1980. Mugabe’s main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has denounced the July 31 election as a “huge farce”, alleging massive rigging by ZANU-PF. Zimbabwe’s largest domestic observer group has also called the elections “seriously compromised”
As Zimbabweans awaited presidential election results, the ruling party declared victory Thursday as the opposition dismissed the vote as a “huge farce.” Vote counting was under way in the election that pitted incumbent President Robert Mugabe against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for the third time. Mugabe, 89, has been at the helm since 1980, the only president the nation has known since it gained independence from Britain. A win would extend his time in office to 38 years. Even though the nation’s electoral commission has not released any numbers, a ruling party official claimed victory.
The chaos in the voting process has strengthened allegations that Zanu-PF, with the help of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), wants to steal the polls by disenfranchising people in urban areas which are perceived to be MDC strongholds. Several police officers who failed to cast their ballots during the special vote also failed to vote on Wednesday after finding their names crossed off the roll, an indication that they had voted. ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told journalists the commission did not have an idea of how to deal with the police officers who were turned away other than investigating. “We are investigating cases in which such officers didn’t vote because the register indicated they voted as their names were crossed out,” she said. Only names of those who had successfully cast their ballots were supposed to be crossed off the voters’ roll. Makarau confirmed some voters had been turned away despite producing registration slips as evidence. She said the registration slips of those who failed to vote did not indicate the wards in which they were supposed to cast their ballots.
There is, perhaps, only one question that really matters in Zimbabwe this week, as the country finally tries to move beyond the violent, disrupted elections of 2008, and the five years’ worth of tortuous negotiations and snarling political stalemate that followed. Will the loser accept the result? The answer – despite years of international mediation, an economy no longer in free-fall, a new constitution and an overwhelming public appetite for political change – appears to be veering dangerously towards a resounding “no”. In one corner, the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has already publically condemned this Wednesday’s vote as “a sham”, citing numerous irregularities, from an alarmingly flawed electoral roll to the enduring political bias in the security services and state media. In the other corner, President Robert Mugabe, who calls this a “do-or-die” election and has recently threatened to have his main challenger arrested, is surrounded by hardliners who have publically stated that they would “not accept” a victory by the “Western puppet” Mr Tsvangirai under any circumstances.
Despite chaotic early voting last week, Zimbabwe’s Election Commission is reassuring the public that next week’s general election will run smoothly. Voting material and staff for the July 31 voting are already being moved into place, according to Joyce Kazembe, deputy chairwoman of the Zimbabwe Election Commission. “We are raring to go,” she said. “We have been on this for a number of months now. The ballot paper, which was one of our challenges during the special vote, was provided, the commission has procured the inedible ink, which is sufficient for the conduct of the harmonized election.” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party will lock horns in a contest to end the country’s power-sharing government, which was formed following a disputed election in 2009.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission yesterday started opening, verifying and tallying ballot papers cast nationwide during the special vote held between July 14 and 15. The process was done in the presence of political parties, regional and international observers.ZEC chief elections officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi and his deputy Mr Utoile Silaigwana superintended over the process while some commissioners also attended. Zanu-PF and MDC-T hailed the process saying it was transparent to the extent that no manipulation of results could be done.
Elections to choose a new government in Zimbabwe will go ahead on July 31, the disputed date that President Robert Mugabe, had unilaterally set, the country’s top court ruled on Thursday. The court dismissed appeals by both Mugabe and his nemesis Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to have the date postponed following pressure from regional leaders. “Elections should proceed on the 31st of July 2013 in terms of the proclamation by the president in compliance with the order of this court,” chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled. The presidential vote will be held on the same day as parliamentary elections to replace an uneasy power-sharing deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in place since 2009. Mugabe had lodged an appeal to shift by two weeks the date that he had himself set, after regional bloc the Southern African Development Community (SADC) asked him to allow more time for preparations.
Zimbabwe is on track for another flawed election this year unless it can refresh outdated voter lists, approve “an army” of outsider observers and find foreign donors willing to pay for the vote, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday. However, postponing the poll to maintain a stop-gap unity government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is not an option, with the fractious coalition well past its sell-by date, Biti told a Reuters Africa Summit. “I don’t think we are in a position today, right now, of having legitimate, credible, sustainable elections,” Biti, a leading member of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, said. “At the rate we are going, it is obvious that we are going to have another flawed election … Zimbabweans cannot afford another flawed election.”
Elections in Zimbabwe are still months away, but already President Robert Mugabe’s party is intimidating its opponents and threatening violence, human rights and pro-democracy groups say. Witnesses say Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has begun deploying youth militia groups in some of its strongholds. A young mother in the Harare township of Mbare said militants of a pro-Mugabe youth group known as Chipangano, or “the brotherhood” in local slang, have started door-to-door visits in the neighborhood and told residents to attend night meetings where names and identity particulars of participants were written down. “They are watching me every day,” she said, refusing to give her name because she feared violent retribution. If she doesn’t go to the meetings with family members and friends her absence will be noted down on another list of suspected Mugabe opponents, she said.
Zimbabweans go to the polls Saturday to vote on a new constitution that would pave the way for elections, but many believe the army and police, not voters, may ultimately decide the country’s fate. While the referendum on the constitution is largely expected to be fair, the main event — elections slated for July — may be decided by the outsize influence of a handful of those close to President Robert Mugabe, 89, the country’s leader for the past 33 years. Those allies include police chief Augustine Chihuri, who reportedly told senior police officers at a retreat late last year that anyone who did not support Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), had no business being on the force.
Police in Zimbabwe have announced a ban on the possession of shortwave radios, saying they are being used to communicate hate speech ahead of next month’s constitutional referendum and elections set to be held in July. Wind-up, solar-powered radios sets have been distributed by NGOs to rural communities, where villagers have established listening clubs to tune in to popular independent stations such as Radio Voice of the People, Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa. The broadcasts are produced by exiled Zimbabwean journalists based in Europe and the US. Zimbabwe has four state-controlled radio stations with a history of supporting President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. Two recently established independent stations are also perceived to be pro-Zanu-PF. There is demand among listeners, especially those supportive of the rival Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), for other viewpoints.
On March 16, the Southern African state of Zimbabwe is scheduled vote on whether to accept or reject a draft constitution which is the product of four years of collaboration between the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriot Front and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties. Later in July, national presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in order to form a new government inside this country which gained its independence from British colonial settlers in 1980. Zimbabwe is still facing sanctions by Britain, the United States, the European Union and their allies. The sanctions were designed to isolate the ruling ZANU-PF party headed by President Robert Mugabe, which launched a comprehensive land redistribution program in 2000 that seized the most productive farms and turned them over to the African masses. In recent years, a national reconciliation process has led to the lessening of tensions inside the country.
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday urged the world not to allow President Robert Mugabe to steal any future elections, but insisted his country is open for business despite its problems. “My call to the world is, ‘you must insist on the necessary reforms to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections and a lasting solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe’,” Tsvangirai said in Monday’s London Times. Tsvangirai won the first round of the 2008 presidential election only to withdraw after Mugabe’s Zanu-PF unleashed a wave of violence against supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was endorsed again by his party to stand for elections expected next year, but analysts say even for a veteran political survivor, the 87-year-old leader will find it harder to convince voters to extend his rule after 32 years in power.
Mugabe, they said, would face young voters, many born after independence from Britain in 1980, who may not be overly impressed with his party’s tales of its leadership role in the liberation struggle and are instead desperate to find jobs in the country which has the world’s highest unemployment rate.
Zanu-PF members want Mugabe to hand over the reins to a younger leader, but nobody has ever openly challenged him due to a generous political patronage system and his ability to patiently wear down opponents and keep them guessing on his next move.
Robert Mugabe has proclaimed that elections will be held before March next year, amid concerns he could make another one of his unilateral decisions, despite the unity government.
The ageing Mugabe told his ZANU PF’s National Consultative Assembly that elections would only be held after a new constitution has been adopted, but that it must be by March.
Further election-related tensions surfaced in Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government this week as hardliners in President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF called for the removal of the country’s electoral commission chief, who they accused of overstepping his authority and sympathizing with the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Critics of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe, a retired judge, charged that he made a statement recently at an elections symposium in Spain accusing war veterans with close ties to ZANU-PF of terrorizing rural dwellers.
ZANU-PF sources said the hardliners also took exception to Mutambanengwe’s publicly expressed position that elections cannot be held this year due to a lack of funds for the ballot, saying he has no mandate to make statements on election funding or timing.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s party has renewed its calls for new elections this year, rejecting a timeline that his own negotiators hammered out last week, a state daily reported today.
“The politburo is unanimous that elections should be held this year,” The Herald newspaper quoted Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo as saying after the party’s top decision-making body met in the capital.