- Mar 26, 2002MDC details fraud claims in presidential poll
Stuffed ballots, missing ballots, attacks on polling agents ― it's all in the
opposition's report on how the party says President Robert Mugabe's government
"manipulated the electoral process"
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), rejected the results of the March 9-11 poll shortly after Mugabe was
declared the winner.
But the inch-thick report released on Tuesday provides the most detailed analysis
yet aiming to support Tsvangirai's claim that the election was "stolen" and
The party found large differences between the number of ballots tallied at polling
centres and the number of votes cast according to the official results.
According to the party's count, 185 961 ballots went missing in 48 constituencies.
The number of ballots recorded at polling stations in those areas was higher than the
number announced when the registrar-general gave the results, the report said.
The opposite happened in 72 other constituencies. The number of votes announced
by the registrar general was as much as 246 445 votes higher than the figures
announced at the counting centres, according to MDC.
Official results gave Mugabe 426 454 more votes than Tsvangirai, extending his
22-year grip on power by a further six years.
The party said it had still been unable to
compile a complete national report on the
election because pro-Mugabe militants
had blocked their polling agents from
monitoring 40% of rural voting stations.
"The report covers only the initial phases
of information gathering because many of
the polling agents are still detained by
the police or their whereabouts unknown
as a result of intimidation or related
reasons," the party said.
Mugabe's government has not responded
to most of the allegations made by the
MDC and has rejected reports from
observer missions ― including local
independent observers, regional
parliamentarians, the Commonwealth and
most western nations ― which found the
polls were neither free nor fair.
At least 42 people have died since the
start of this year in political violence,
most of them MDC supporters.
The MDC has reported two of its polling
agents killed either by soldiers or
Thousands more have suffered beatings
or other intimidation, according to rights
In its report, the MDC said 83 of its
campaign rallies were disrupted or cancelled by police or the militias, who have set
up bases around the country during the last two years.
Among the other irregularities cited by the party were:
no opposition access to state media, which operate the only radio and
television networks in Zimbabwe;
a 40%- reduction of polling stations in urban areas, where the MDC enjoys
most of its support;
reduced numbers of independent observers, with only 430 domestic observers
granted accreditation, of the 12 000 who applied;
Mugabe's issuing of new electoral regulations right up to the day before the
new laws that curtailed freedoms of expression and association;
and a delay in opening polling stations on a court-ordered third day of voting in
Some African nations have backed the results, including South Africa, Kenya,
Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, even though South Africa and Nigeria were
part of a three-nation team that subsequently suspended Zimbabwe from the
54-nation Commonwealth for a year.
Other African nations, including Ghana and Senegal, have joined Western capitals in
criticizing the polls, saying they failed to meet democratic standards.
African leaders seek aid
Leaders of 21 African states have gathered in
Abuja in Nigeria to fine-tune a plan to finance
economic development in the continent, ahead
at a meeting of the world's biggest
The plan, dubbed the New Partnership for
African Development (Nepad), is the brainchild
of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
The BBC's Elizabeth
Blunt says African
countries are counting
on the plan to
donors and investors.
It is to be discussed by
G8 leaders, who will lay
out their response -
including financing to
tackle the Aids crisis
which affects tens of millions of Africans - in
South Africa has requested that the Western
countries, on whose money the plan depends,
should not victimise the whole continent
following the election in Zimbabwe.
The summit aims to develop in more detail the
ideas drawn up by the 16 member states of
Nepad before a visit to Nigeria by Canadian
Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who is due to
host the next G8 meeting.
It hopes to persuade Western countries and
companies to invest $64bn (£45bn) a year in
Africa, targeting economic growth of 7%, in
exchange for promises that good governance
and transparency will be encouraged.
On the agenda are
peace and security,
agriculture and market
access, capital flows,
But some fear that the
recent election in
Zimbabwe has put
that investment at
together with a clutch
cast doubt on the
legitimacy of the
President Robert Mugabe's victory.
Zimbabwe's neighbours, however, were broadly
in agreement that Mr Mugabe won fairly.
Punish one, punish all
Jacob Zuma, the South African deputy
president, warned against "collective
"There is a tendency to
look at one country and
say that it is every
country in Africa... to
almost want to punish
all countries in Africa
collectively," Mr Zuma
told reporters in South
"Zimbabwe was such an
example. If one country
has done certain
things... you must not
try to also punish other
African leaders should
not be expected to be
held responsible for
bringing Zimbabwe into
line, he warned.
"If a country like France
would say that
everything is in the
hands of (British prime
minister) Tony Blair," he
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>