POLITICAL Analyst Ibbo Mandaza has described Zanu PF’s alleged election rigging machinery as smart, after detailing how it focused less on their rural strongholds but on Harare and Bulawayo where it knew Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) had more support.
Zimbabwe’s August 23 elections were marred by embarrassing irregularities especially in urban areas, despite Zimbabwe Election Commission’s (ZEC) promises all was in order.
In most parts of Harare and Bulawayo, voting material was delivered late into the night after people spent over 12 hours in meandering queues.
Speaking at a public lecture in South Africa recently Mandaza said the move was deliberate and meant to disenfranchise thousands of opposition supporters, especially in Harare which constitutes a third of Zimbabwe’s total number of registered voters.
“The security operation included deployment of Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) and calculated delay in supply of ballot papers in Harare and Bulawayo on polling day with many polling stations securing these well into the night of August 23 and even on the following day,” said Mandaza.
“The rural areas all had papers on time, Harare and Bulawayo did not get their ballot papers until late into the night and we can only guess how many people could have been disenfranchised and you can understand why in terms of rigging objectives Harare alone accounts for one-third of the total voting population.
“A disruption of the capital city would have been enough to achieve the purpose for which that was being done. We are now learning that the rigging was done mostly in CCC strongholds, precisely in the areas where CCC won is where the rigging was done most. Smart guys.”
Regional body SADC, for the first time, gave a damning report of Zimbabwe’s polls highlighting the massive irregularities that Zanu PF maintains were normal and later sorted.
After the delays, Mnangagwa declared an additional 12-hour voting period that cascaded into the 24th of August albeit up to no later than 4 am on the day.
Millions claimed they could not vote.
Besides usual friends SADC, the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), the Commonwealth where Mnangagwa hopes for readmission and American observer mission Carter Center all reported that Zimbabwe’s election was not credible.
Added Mandaza: “On that basis, no one should be left in any doubt as to the extensive rigging that underpinned Mnangagwa’s victory of 52% to Chamisa’s 44%.
“Time will soon confirm but we can confidently conclude that the election as a whole was neither free, fair nor credible.
“Most depressing if not cynical features about elections in Zimbabwe is the extent to which elections are so brazenly stolen and the voters rendered useless statistics, deplorable, depressing.”
Some SADC leaders are now pushing for a transitional authority, in the mold of the 2008-2013 Government of National Unity (GNU) to take over Zimbabwe’s affairs until a yet-to-be-shared period.
The CCC is calling for a rerun of the election under the United Nations’ (UN) administration, an option Zanu PF has completely dismissed.
Mnangagwa, who is in his final term, did not waste time and was inaugurated barely a week after being announced the winner by ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba.
He has proceeded to announce a Cabinet dominated by his family and close allies. – NewZim