With the recent development of the SADC initiative on Zimbabwe, and the enforced nomination of Robert Mugabe as the Zanu PF candidate for “harmonised” elections in 2008, the political problem in Zimbabwe has significantly altered. It is also significant that some dialogue has taken place between factions of Zanu PF and the MDC, apparently brokered by the South African government. These “talks” suggest that some discussion has taken place, within Zanu PF and between Zanu PF and the MDC, on ways to resolve the “succession” problem in Zanu PF. The paper explores possible outcomes for Zimbabwe after the elections of 2008
The SADC mediated Global Political Agreement, signed in September 2008 and brought into operation in
February 2009 is clearly in trouble. Established as a modality for creating the conditions for a generally
acceptable election, after ZANU PF’s violent response to a popular vote against the Mugabe regime in
2008, many hoped, in the face of indications to the contrary, that the resultant interim government would
serve as a bridge to an internationally acceptable electoral solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.
While the process has done little to open up democratic space in Zimbabwe it is clear that after June
2008 some form of compromise between the parties was necessary given the balance of forces in the
country. However the prospects of a cohesive transition were always problematic given that the GPA was,
in its very make up, a site of struggle for state power between the contending parties ahead of a future
election. It was also a badly constructed and ambiguous document that in itself has led to unnecessary
problems for governance.
No terms have been more abused or deliberately misunderstood than land reform, sanctions, regime change, and sovereignty, and especially because these terms have become inextricably inter-locked in the highly successful propaganda war mounted by ZANU PF for more than a decade. De-constructing the ZANU PF position around these terms is relatively simple: land reform leads to Western-imposed sanctions, which leads to the desire by Western nations for regime change through elections, and that now means that Western puppets are planning to interfere with Zimbabwe’s sovereign status. And it is breath-takingly simple to run a campaign using this framework, and so extremely difficult to argue against such evocative rhetoric using fact and logical argument. Only those that are prepared to work very hard at a nuanced understanding of the Zimbabwe crisis will perceive the crudity of the argument, and, as always with fascist propaganda, nuanced argument is trumped by the power of endless repetition.
Since the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September 2008 and the setting in place of the Inclusive Government (IG) in February 2009, Zimbabwe has been stuck with the inevitable consequences of a dysfunctional peace agreement. With the fixed constitutional deadline for the dissolution of parliament in June 2013, the implications of the lack of reform and impasse over the constitution, it is perhaps time to think more creatively about how to unblock the Zimbabwe crisis.
Following on earlier papers by RAU considering the date for the 2013, this paper considers further controversy and difficulties caused by a ruling of the Constitutional Court that the poll must be held before 31st July, 2013.
The difficulties now made evident by the 2013 Harmonised Elections are a product of the failure to institute the reforms required under the Global Political Agreement [GPA] of 2008. The inability by SADC to compel reforms led to increasingly strident demands for a clear “Road Map” for elections, built around a new constitution and reforms; essentially, these were demands to fully implement the GPA. At the eleventh hour, in Maputo, in June 2013, SADC re-stated these demands, to little avail. The election was held on the 31st July, resulting in an overwhelming victory for both Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF. This has not been a result without controversy, with many observer groups expressing reservations about the conditions under which the elections were held and others expressing downright scepticism. This report concerns itself with the conditions under which the elections were held - subsequent reports will deal with the actual poll and the results
A wit once commented that a camel was a horse designed by a committee. Very rarely are designs of anything useful the result of compromises, and especially compromises where the parties involved in design have radically different ideas. This might be a fair characterization of the draft constitution. This was perhaps inevitable with the Global Political Agreement as it stood, for this was not a transitional arrangement, but a peace agreement to lead to a transition, which it patently has not done. This paper considers Zimbabwe's proposed new constitution against the need for reform ahead of elections.
A close look at the numbers which emerged from the March 2013 Referendum should cause some disquiet for those who hope that the general election of 2013 will meet democratic standards. The numbers show that the question marks pertaining to the state of the Voters Roll remain. In fact, the need for urgent attention to this element of the electoral process is underscored. Furthermore, comparing the numbers on the Voters Roll with those of the Referendum and Census also somewhat undermines any confidence one might place in data presented by ZEC and ZEC itself.
Following the 2013 elections, RAU commenced a preliminary audit of the poll, seeking to fathom, as a central concern, the source of the over 1.03 million more votes Mugabe garnered in 2013 when compared with the 2008 poll. This is an increase of over 95% for ZANU PF, while Tsvangirais tally remained virtually unchanged.
The report is based on an analysis of published results in the presidential elections from 2008 and 2013 and voter registration statistics; the latter derived both from the voters roll and figures officially announced in the press.
Key Findings & Conclusions:
Conclusions from the study indicate that the additional 1.03 million votes gained by Mugabe cannot be explained by:
An increase in the number of registered voters; With the Registrar Generals office reporting that about 780 000 new voters were added to the voters roll for 2013, even if all of those newly registered had voted for Mugabe (unlikely), the source of about 250 000 thousand votes remains unexplained.
That there was a swing in voter allegiance away from Tsvangirai to Mugabe If Tsvangirais tally had been reduced by some switching allegiance to Mugabe, the deficit in votes would have had to be filled by some of the newly registered voters voting for Tsvangirai to keep his tally roughly the same. This then reduces the pool of new voters available to explain Mugabes vote, leaving the tally of unexplained votes unchanged. There were about 90 000 votes which had been cast for outside candidates in 2008 looking for a home in 2013. But even if these had been cast for Mugabe in 2013, 160 000 votes are still unexplained.
This then leaves two, and only two possible explanations, for the minimum of 160 000 unexplained votes.
a) That at least 160 000 people who were registered as voters in 2008, but who did not vote in that election, decided to vote in 2013; or
b) That Mugabes unexplained 160 000 ballots consists of numerous fraudulent votes (through multiple voting or ghost polling stations);
It must borne in mind that the 160 000 is a very conservative estimate. It does not take into account the possibility that some of the over 300 000 voters turned away may have been legitimate voters who were then unable to cast a ballot; it assumes that none of the nearly 290 000 people removed from the roll as deceased ahead of the 2013 poll had voted in 2008; it assumes that no voter from 2008 or new voter withheld a vote in 2013 and that none of the spoiled ballots were from new voters or those that voted in 2013.
RAU does not choose between the possibilities, but suggests that the matter certainly raises a large enough question mark over the poll to warrant further investigation, which should be welcomed by all parties.
NOTE: THIS IS AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF A LONGER REPORT TO FOLLOW SHORTLY
This paper critiques the judgment of the Constitutional Court in the case of Jealousy Mbizvo Mawarire v Robert Gabriel Mugabe N.O. and Ors CCZ1/13