Elections in 2013

How little things change? Hobbes’ observation holds as true today in Zimbabwe as it did in England in the seventeenth century: peace and war are distinguished not only by active violence, but the propensity to advocate and prepare for violence as opposed to the propensity to peace. The state of affairs is judged also by the words used by those engaged in politics: it makes a world of difference whether one describes those with whom we differ as opponents or enemies.

The central concern of the report is an attempt to fathom the source of the remarkable number of votes garnered by President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party in the “harmonised” July 2013 election when compared with the polls of 2008. The report investigates this issue by using the 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.

The Research and Advocacy Unit, RAU, is in the process of preparing a report on the state of the Voters’ Roll as it was as of 1st June, 2013. However, with elections pending, the exigencies of the situation demand that the key statistics, on which the report will be based, are released without delay. These statistics are of importance to all those concerned to ensure that the elections are conducted freely and fairly and with regard to accepted democratic standards. The statistics appear in the Tables set out below, and, although appearing with little accompanying comment, in most instances speak for themselves.

This is the second report on an audit of the June 2013 Voters’ Roll. It expands on the previous report, provides a more detailed analysis of the Roll, and corrects a number of minor errors.

A number of preliminary comments are necessary in order to more fully understand these elections. The fundamental purpose of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the Inclusive Government was to take Zimbabwe out of crisis into full international acceptability, and this had been necessitated by the unacceptable elections in 2008. However, apart from relatively minor changes, the reform agenda envisaged under the GPA did not materialise, and there was endless wrangling over the “outstanding issues”.

When election fever begins to afflict Zimbabwe, there are usually two major issues that have emerged strongly: an end to political violence and intimidation, and the lack of a wholly independent electoral machinery. Both have been shown to underpin the four flawed elections held since the 2000 Constitutional Referendum. However, important as it may be to stress the need for independent electoral machinery and non-violence, there is also the general observation that the probabilities of electoral fraud increase as much as a function of the lack of basic democratic freedoms and rights as they do with the lack of an independent implementing authority, and offer broader problems than mere violence and intimidation.

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. There were a number of intractable problems inherent in the GPA that led inexorably to the problems of the 2013 election:

The manner in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducted the 31st July 2013 general election has been the subject of much discussion. The timeliness of this report, coming as it does sixteen months after the poll, may also seem redundant. However, several events make it necessary to highlight and bring to the fore once more ZEC’s conduct of the 2013 ballot.

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