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Zimbabwe: Presidential Poll Results - No Winner
Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2008

By Sydney Kawadza
May 03, 2008
The Herald

RESULTS of the March 29 presidential poll were announced yesterday with no winner of an absolute majority, automatically setting the stage for a second election between the two top candidates – Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T and President Mugabe of Zanu-PF – with the other two candidates eliminated.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission constituency election officer for the presidential poll Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi said a second presidential election would be conducted between the two since no candidate had received the required majority of more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast.

"No candidate has received a majority of the total number of valid votes cast, the provisions of Section 110 (3) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] do apply and a second election shall be held on a date to be advised by the Commission.

"According to Section 110 (4) of the Electoral Act, the two candidates who received the highest and next highest numbers of valid votes cast shall be eligible to contest in the second election.

"Accordingly, Tsvangirai and (President) Mugabe are eligible to contest in the second election," he said.

Zanu-PF, through President Mugabe's chief elections agent, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, immediately said it accepted the results although the party did not believe they reflected the expression of the people.

Tsvangirai's national election agent, Chris Mbanga, said although his party did not accept the final result, he still had to report back to his national executive.

According to ZEC results, Tsvangirai received 1 195 562 votes, representing 47,9 percent of the valid votes, while President Mugabe of Zanu-PF polled 1 079 730 votes, which is 43,2 percent of the valid votes.

Independent candidate Simba Makoni won 207 470 votes, which is 8,3 percent of the valid votes, with Langton Towungana, another independent candidate, polling 14 503 votes, translating to 0,6 percent of the valid votes.

A total of 39 975 ballots were spoilt while the percentage poll was calculated to be 42,7 percent.

Addressing a Press conference after the announcement of the results, Cde Mnangagwa said President Mugabe accepted the ZEC result and would stand as Zanu-PF candidate in the run-off.

"Following the announcement by ZEC in the first stage of the presidential election, I have to advise that the Zanu-PF presidential candidate, Cde Mugabe, accepts the results as announced and is offering himself for election in the pending presidential run-off whose date is yet to be announced," he said.

He, however, said the results did not reflect the genuine expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people.

"Given the many anomalies, malpractices, deflation of figures of Zanu-PF candidates as information was transmitted upwards, inflation of figures relating to opposition candidates as information was transmitted to higher command levels, multiple voting and people who are not on the voters' roll being allowed to vote, persons on voters' roll being turned away and not allowed to vote and irregularities in the manner that handicapped persons were assisted to vote," he said.

He said the anomalies were exposed in the sample recounting exercise that was undertaken at Zanu-PF's request by the ZEC in 21 constituencies.

The anomalies revealed a pattern in the management of the electoral process, which was biased against Zanu-PF and in favour of MDC, he said.

"In short, Zanu-PF and all its candidates, especially its presidential candidate, feel aggrieved and were greatly prejudiced by attempts by the MDC and its sponsors to tamper with the electoral system."

He said the Zimbabwe Election Support Network undertook voter education without the authority of ZEC and outside the legal framework.

"Evidence that has come to light indicates that ZESN voter educators were not, in fact, neutral and in any sense real voter educators but MDC party activists who masqueraded as voter educators to decampaign Zanu-PF while extolling the virtues of MDC (Tsvangirai)," he said.

He said there was also evidence that ZESN observers abandoned their observer status, becoming "conduits through which monies used in bribing and compromising certain electoral officials were channelled", while there is evidence that these funds were provided by the British and American governments.

Cde Mnangagwa said NGOs involved in distributing food abused their humanitarian role and used food as a weapon to decampaign Zanu-PF.

"There is unchallenged evidence that these NGOs, in the last food distributions they made just prior to the election date, advised voters that they will not resume food distributions after elections in the event that the electorate voted for Zanu-PF."

He said recounting in the 23 constituencies also revealed that electoral officers allowed multiple voting and voting by people not on the voters' roll while there was massive voter buying of traditional leadership by the opposition party.

Cde Mnangagwa said the overall operating electoral environment was poisoned against Zanu-PF as the elections were held against a backdrop of illegal Western-imposed sanctions to oust the ruling party from power while the people voted in an environment subjected to Western blackmail.

He said there was also massive funding of the opposition MDC-T and Makoni by the British, Australian and American governments including foreign corporates to influence and determine the

outcome of the elections.

The Zanu-PF legal affairs secretary said pirate radio stations intensified broadcasting into the country's airspace during the election period and were critical players in the electoral process over which ZEC and our laws had no control.

He said some newspapers, such as The Zimbabwean, stepped up supply and frequency and even took MDC-T colours to consolidate opinion for the opposition.

Cde Mnangagwa said Zanu-PF withheld seeking a recount in all constituencies to avoid disrupting the electoral process.

"Nevertheless, the party's candidates have filed petitions in 52 constituencies seeking the setting aside of the announced results and these petitions have been filed with the Electoral Court," he said.

He called on ZEC to institute appropriate measures to eliminate some of the anomalies in the pending presidential run-off.

Cde Mnangagwa said ZEC should allow polling agents to verify whether people intending to vote were on the voters' roll, whether they have already voted or not and ensure that the voter's name has been cancelled from the voters' roll.

They should ensure that fingers are dipped in the indelible ink, among other measures.

He said police officers are equipped to ensure no fraudulent activities take place in the polling station while polling agents should be present during compilation of the V23 Form to ensure accurate information is transmitted from V11 returns.

Apart from posting V11 returns outside polling stations polling agents should be supplied with carbon copies of the V11 and V23 forms to ensure transparency, he said.

Cde Mnangagwa urged the MDC-T to disband the democratic resistance committees to ensure a peaceful campaign in the run-off period.

"Zanu-PF is committed to a total peaceful environment before, during and after the run-off," he said.

He said the MDC had failed, during the presidential verification exercise, to prove its claims that it won the presidential ballot by 50,3 percent, a figure peddled to the world through the Western media.

"They failed dismally, often making arguments which were extremely ridiculous mathematically as it turned out their figures had no relationship at all with what was on V11 forms, which themselves were the primary source of information on the polls."

Mbanga, speaking shortly before the announcement of the results, brazenly claimed that the opposition party had been denied the opportunity to verify the results.

"ZEC wanted to put the burden of proof on us but it's their duty to prove the results," he said.

Prior to the verification process, ZEC announced that it had agreed with all parties that it would present its final results while it was the duty of objecting parties to prove their contrasting results.

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