AWAITING THE RESULTS…

It is now more than 72 hours since voting ended in Zimbabwe’s combined presidential, parliamentary, Senate and Council elections yet the nation and the world at large still await the official announcement of the full results. As we go to press, the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) has only announced 131 out of the 206 contested seats. At this rate it may take up to three more days for ZEC to go through the Senatorial and Council and finally get to the highly awaited presidential election results. Of the announced 131 House of Assembly seats the distribution is:

ZANU PF – 68

MDC – 67

MDC (Mutambara) – 5

There is no clear explanation for ZEC’s delay in announcing the results that is now fueling all manner of speculation and projections. This unnecessary delay in announcing the result has been interpreted by the opposition and many in civic society as ZANU PF’s attempt to manipulate the figures in favor of Mugabe. Consequently the credibility of the March 29 election is now severely undermined.

The opposition MDC has been announcing their own independent results through a series of press conferences. At present the MDC says that with data they collected from 80% of the contested seats the distribution stands as:

MDC – 98

ZANU PF – 72

MDC ( Mutambara) – 13

Independent – 1

Yesterday the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a network of two dozen civic groups that plays a key independent watchdog role in Zimbabwe’s elections released what they called a ‘Projection’ of the election results based on a random sampling of 435 out of the 9400 polling stations. ZESN’s projection show Morgan Tsvangirai as the winner with 49% followed my Mugabe at 42 percent and Simba Makoni at 8%. If this were to be true then Zzimbabwe will be heading for a run off – the constitution requires that the winner must have at least 51% of the vote, failure of which there shall be a run off to be held within 21 days.

Whilst the main obsereor missions including SADC, COMESA, and the Pan African Parliament have already pronounced Zimbabwe’s elections as ‘free, fair and credible’ , the reality is that this is another contested election. this flatly defeats the purpose of the SADC initiated dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF that was aimed at producing an election that will not be disputed.

Rumours circulating amongst Zimbabwe’s civic society is that ZANU PF plans to declare victory claiming 52% of the presidential vote and a slight majority in parliament. If this were to happen Zimbabwe will sink even further as Mugabe lacks capacity to slow down the country’s economic collapse.

What the results announced by ZEC show so far is that the country is still deeply polarised between urban and rural. Almost all of Mugabe’s support is concentrated in the rural areas whereas the MDC’s base is urban even though this time around the party has been able to garner a lot of support in rural areas as well.

The most important thing right now is for ZEC to speedily announce all the outstanding results so that the country can move forward. The recent move by ZEC to invite all contesting candidates to have representatives at the tabulation of the presidential results is very encouraging and ZEC must now proceed with efficiency to quickly conclude the job to defuse the charged environment generated by the inefficient reporting.

The government of Zimbabwe has deployed heavy police presence in the city of Harare and other major urban areas presumably to discourage any mass action. Especially at night, people report seeing groups of sometimes up to 50 policeman in riot gear just roaming the streets. Because of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s deplorable human rights record, their presence on the streets only fosters an environment of fear and intimidation and exposes ordinary people to abuse!

As i head out to the airport with others who had hoped to witnessing the final announcement of the results, i leave Zimbabwe a nation in waiting – for the results, for change, and for an end to the unbearable suffering of ordinary people…

Maybe 3 days will tell…

Dare to Invent the Future!

Briggs

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One Response to “AWAITING THE RESULTS…”

  1. cduckwo1 Says:

    Briggs,

    Hello and thanks to your colleague and my good friend Marie for connecting us. I’ve been following your postings eagerly, as I served in the Peace Corps in Zimbabwe (98-99). In fact, we ended up pulling out as the situation deteriorated and we were disinvited by the regime. I await further news. I was surprised to read the observer’s description of the election as “free, fair and credible” given what I’ve heard about ballot boxes missing and open threats from security forces on the BBC. Anyway, thanks much for the news and I’ll be returning soon.

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