LET me begin by asking the question, “At what point are elections rigged in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular?”
I have observed that the road to elections and the post-election period in Africa is more or less the same. It begins with the establishment rigging elections in one way or the other and ends with the opposition taking the establishment to court for stealing victory. The courts under instruction will then ensure that the opposition’s case is thrown out.
It is alleged by the losing opposition in Kenya that the recent elections were rigged right from the onset through to the counting of the votes by Uhuru Kenyatta and his people. The same goes for the Ghanaian and the Namibian ones. The losing candidates cried foul, took the winning candidate to court and the story unfolded.
Coming back home, “at what point does President Robert Mugabe and his people rig elections in Zimbabwe?” Zanu PF believes in starting early.
The 2013 elections were rigged starting in 2008 when Robert Mugabe was beaten by PM Morgan Tsvangirai, but refused to let go of power. The violence unleashed by Zanu PF thugs and militia started the ball rolling in the rigging process. Those thugs and gangs instilled fear in anyone who did not publicly support Zanu PF.
Not only did those monsters use violence, but they also used the politics of the stomach to try and ensure a win in 2008.If a person was not Zanu PF they did not get any food aid either from the State or from intimidated non-governmental organisations.
The ominous presence of security personnel which includes the Central Intelligance Organisation, army and police was enough to instill fear in the masses.
These security personnel moved about in rural areas in their uniforms carrying their AK 47s which had the poor villagers shaking in their boots. The party then felt that it was not enough to use the security services, it sent its war veterans leaders to the villages to harass and intimidate people feeding them with useless propaganda.
Knowing that that alone would not work, Registrar-General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede who should be resting at his rural home drinking ndhari with his peers, started fiddling with the voters’roll. He was also busy refusing through his officers to register people perceived to be MDC. The officers were always on go-slow or their ink kept running out. They assisted Zanu PF by allowing them to bring lists of their people to be registered.
They also allowed Zanu PF to go to neighbouring Mozambique on the eastern border town of Mutare to bring in people and register them for voting purposes. Then the first mobile voter registration exercise began. This was the most farcical mobile voter registration I ever witnessed. When it started, the centres for registration were not known to the people.
The RG’s staff always had excuses as to why they could not register more than 10 people per day. They had a special queue for Zanu PF members. Other people spent hours in the long queues. In one constituency in Harare the office wanted us to believe that all of a sudden they had the capacity to register 10 000 of those people in two days.
In the current exercise people have been turned away with all manner of excuses. My poor 18-year-old daughter had to spend a good two days just to register. She was fired up and wanted to have a say in how her country is governed and she was almost denied the opportunity. Then you have the so-called aliens being tossed left, right and centre. Someone even had the audacity to say that it was a privilege for the aliens to be allowed to vote not their right! What nonsense is this when all these people know that their home and country is Zimbabwe?
There were few or no centres in some areas but many in so-called Zanu PF strongholds. The officers in most centres were on go-slow with many excuses as to why only a certain number of voters were registered on a daily basis. Soldiers and the police were bused in and were given preference over the ordinary people who would have queued for many hours.
In addition to the machinations, Zanu PF will not allow any reforms without screaming and kicking. In 2008 MDC-T won without reforms, it can and will still win with or without the reforms.