Zimbabwe: Election Fraud Report, 04/18/05
Zimbabwe: Election Fraud Report
Apr 18, 2005 (050418)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
A new report from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) in Zimbabwe, released on April 12, has presented detailed
evidence of bias and outright fraud in the March 31 elections. In
particular, the report details allegations of ballot-stuffing
sufficient to change election results in at least 20
constituencies. This would shift the balance of directly elected
seats from 78-41 in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF to 61-58 in favor
of the MDC.
Although the MDC is presenting its findings to the official
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, no one expects the official results
to change. However, even South African President Thabo Mbeki, who
has tended to dismiss criticism of the elections, acknowledged last
week that the discrepancies did need to be considered. A final
report from the non-governmental Zimbabwe Election Support Network
has also reportedly been completed, and is likely to raise similar
issues. If these receive no convincing answer from the Zimbabwean
authorities, the credibility of the election results, already low,
will be further undermined in the region as well as
Initial observer reports from the elections followed predictable
patterns. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) official
observer mission cited "peaceful, credible, well managed and
transparent elections," and the official South African delegation
concluded that the elections reflected "the will of the people."
Observers from the African Union, the All Africa Conference of
Churches, and others, however, echoed the view of the local
Zimbabwe Election Support Network that despite the reduction in
violence and general calm, there were many grounds for concern and
discrepancies to be explained.
While the MDC report details many reasons to conclude the elections
were not free and fair, the key quantitative data presented is
based on the suspected addition of "ghost voters" in rural
constituencies to the count after the polls close. As described in
an April 5 report on the Sokwanele website
whathappenedonthursnight_5april2005.html [type URL on one line],
after the polls closed the electoral commission announced the
total number of votes cast in 72 constituencies. But then counting
was delayed, observers were blocked from observing the count, and
the final figures in 30 constituencies presented the next day for
each party added up to quite different totals.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the MDC election
report and a link to the full report available at
For earlier AfricaFocus Bulletins on Zimbabwe and additional
background links, visit
Other reports on the March 31 election are available at
http://www.kubatana.net. There are extensive current news reports
on http://www.zwnews.com and http://www.zimbabwesituation.com.
For the latest musical and political statement by Zimbabwean
musician Thomas Mapfumo, including music downloads from the just-
released album "Rise Up", see http://thomasmapfumo.afropopshop.org.
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
- How the Elections were Rigged
MDC Report on the March 2005 Parliamentary Elections
12 April 2005
[excerpts here include executive summary and part of chapter 8 on
discrepancies in the final results. The full report in Word format,
along with a Excel table presenting the detailed data on
discrepancies, is available at
1 Executive Summary
Periodic and genuine democratic elections are the cornerstone of
any functioning democracy. Zimbabwe does have periodic elections
but they are not democratic.
The March 2005 parliamentary elections cannot be judged to be free
and fair nor can they be deemed an accurate reflection of the
will of the Zimbabwean people. The distorted nature of the
pre-election playing field and the failure to address core
democratic deficits, in the context of both the legal and
administrative framework, and the political environment,
precluded a free and fair election from the very beginning.
The determination of the Zanu PF government to manipulate the
electoral process and to eschew the need to ensure adequate
levels of transparency and fairness led to them breaching their
own rules on polling day. They were determined to have a system in
place with sufficient capacity to enable them to rig the ballot in
the event that initial voting trends indicated an MDC victory.
The MDC participated in the elections under protest. More than
133,000 voters attempted to participate on election day but were
turned away. Unknown thousands of voters were either added or
subtracted from vote tallies in 72 of 120 constituencies where
figures were made available by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC). We still have received no explanation from the ZEC for the
serious inconsistencies in the ZEC's own figures.
* ZEC must supply the polling station returns (Form V11) for
* ZEC must supply a copy of the voters roll in electronic format.
MDC agreed to participate on the basis that the prevailing view
amongst our structures and supporters on the ground was in favour
of participation. The issue of our participation, however, does
not confer legitimacy on the result. If the MDC had won the
elections, and secured a parliamentary majority, it would have
been a testament to the courage and determination of the people of
Zimbabwe to overcome the nefarious obstacles deliberately placed
by Mugabe and Zanu PF to frustrate their collective desire for a
new beginning and a new Zimbabwe.
The electoral reforms introduced by the Zimbabwe Government were
woefully inadequate and failed to ensure that Zimbabwe's
electoral framework and political environment adhered to the new
democratic benchmarks encapsulated in the SADC Protocol On
Guidelines and Principles Governing Democratic Elections.
This report provides compelling evidence to substantiate the MDC's
position that the elections cannot be judged free and fair.
Chapter Two exposes the fallacy of claims that the electoral
process was managed and run by 'impartial, all-inclusive,
competent and accountable national electoral bodies'. Those who
pronounce such claims site the role of the new 'independent'
The new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), as an institution,
failed to demonstrate its independence. Its chair, Justice
Chiweshe, was directly appointed by President Mugabe, without
consultation, and failed to discharge his duties in an impartial
manner. Moreover, the ZEC was established too late in the day to
have any meaningful role in the management of the electoral
process. By the time it was officially established most of its
core duties, such as voter registration and the compilation of the
voters' roll, had already been carried out.
The elections were managed and run by the same institutions that
presided over the wholesale rigging and subversion of the
electoral process in the 2000 parliamentary elections and 2002
presidential elections. Nothing had changed.
It is important to note, however, that the MDC retains a degree of
confidence in the ability of the four ZEC commissioners,
appointed upon the recommendations of Parliament. We believe that
their task has been made impossible by the Commission chair and
the staff seconded to the Commission. Given the irregularities that
have occurred, in particular the discrepancies in a large number
of constituencies between voter turnout and final totals, the
onus is now firmly on these commissioners to demonstrate their
independence, fairness and integrity in unequivocal terms.
Chapter Three outlines how the administrative processes for the
elections were manipulated to secure political advantage for the
ruling party. The voter registration exercise was carried out in
a discriminatory manner under the directions and guidance of the
Registrar General who openly supports Zanu PF. Thousands of people
in urban areas (especially the youth), perceived MDC strongholds,
were disenfranchised through gratuitous proof of residency
requirements. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean citizens
outside the country were denied their legitimate right to vote,
while the notorious Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act prevented
thousands of Zimbabweans, whose descendents came from other
southern African countries, from registering to vote.
The voters' roll used for the elections was a shambles. It was
inaccurate and grossly inflated. The MDC was denied access to the
electronic copy but was eventually given a hard copy. Data
extrapolated from an audit of 10% of the roll indicated that there
were over one million dead people on the roll. The names of MDC
activists who have been killed were still on the voters' roll.
The names of thousands of people who have left the country in the
past few years, and who were denied their moral right to vote, are
still on the roll. This created tremendous capacity for 'ballot
stuffing', especially when one considers that members of the
military, the ruling party or the intelligence service (CIO) were
in charge of a large number of polling stations.
The delineation of constituency boundaries by the Mugabe appointed
Delimitation Commission resulted in Harare and Bulawayo losing
two constituencies each. Three new constituencies were created in
areas perceived to be pro-Zanu PF. The MDC had technically lost
three seats before a single ballot had been cast.
The allocation and location of polling stations was again a clear
attempt to boost the electoral chances of the ruling party. A
disproportionate number of polling stations were allocated to
rural areas compared to urban areas. Moreover, a number of polling
stations were located at the homesteads of local headmen renowned
for their support for the ruling party.
Chapter Four illustrates the extent to which voters were unable to
access the wide variety of information necessary to make an
informed choice at the ballot box. Legislative curbs on a free
press, and a flagrant lack of equal access to the state
controlled media, severely restricted the free flow of information
and ideas to the electorate, especially in rural areas. In this
context, the situation was worse than in the 2002 presidential
Chapter Five describes the hostile political conditions on the
ground, which remained prevalent throughout the campaign period,
and details the extent to which the law enforcement agencies and
traditional leaders were firmly harnessed to the campaign agenda
of the ruling party.
MDC rallies and meetings continued to be banned under the Public
Order and Security Act. Not a single Zanu PF rally was banned.
While the MDC was obliged to comply with Section 24 of this Act
and provide police with notification of rallies/meetings four days
in advance, this did not apply to Zanu PF; it was free to hold
public meetings and rallies without police notification or
While political violence was lower compared to the 2000 and 2002
elections it still remained at unacceptable levels. For this
election, however, Zanu PF did not really have much need to
encourage its supporters to go out and beat the electorate into
submission. Five years of terror and violence has had a severe
psychological impact on the electorate, especially in rural
areas. People fear retribution if they freely express their
political preferences. This psychological impact enabled Zanu PF
to engage in slightly more subtle techniques to coerce and
intimidate the electorate, as this chapter clearly demonstrates.
Chapters Seven and Eight demonstrate the extent to which Zanu PF
breached the very rules that it had introduced to improve the
transparency and fairness of technical and administrative
procedures on polling day. These two chapters also underline the
abject failure of ZEC to demonstrate its independence from the
ruling party. Numerous incidents were recorded in rural areas of
local Zanu PF officials, headmen or CIO officials acting as ZEC
representatives at polling stations. This would have had a massive
negative impact on the voters at polling stations where this
occurred. Chapter 8 in particular details the unaccountable gaps
in certain constituencies between the turnout figures announced
by ZEC and the final results announced by the same body hours
later. These discrepancies were facilitated by the deliberate and
systematic breaches of the Electoral Act during election day.
These discrepancies, along with many others, were reported to the
various observer missions. The MDC remains deeply concerned that
despite the weight of evidence available, the various observer
missions invited by President Mugabe to observe the election
process continue to claim that the MDC has no evidence to back up
its allegations of electoral malpractice. As this report clearly
demonstrates, this is not the case. Observer missions have been
provided with evidence of numerous allegations of malpractice yet
do not appear to have carried out full investigations.
We are concerned that they have spent too much time in urban areas
and not sufficient time in rural areas, where most irregularities
The MDC received assurances from all the observer missions that
they would conduct their duties in a fair, impartial and
transparent manner. We were assured that their final reports
would be based on an objective assessment and analysis of the
situation on the ground.
Comments during the election period by senior South African
officials mandated to observe the elections, raised suspicions
that South Africa, from the very beginning, was bent on declaring
the results a 'legitimate expression of the will of the people',
regardless of the scale and extent to which the liberation
principle of one person, one vote was subverted.
We are therefore not surprised that the SA Observer team was the
first to declare the elections free and fair.
It is the MDC's view that the findings in this report demonstrate
in unequivocal terms that the huge irregularities that occurred
in both the pre-election period and on polling day itself, make
it impossible to judge the elections as free and fair.
The will of the people has not prevailed. This is a serious setback
for the democratization process in Zimbabwe and provides further
confirmation of the extent to which Zanu PF has become detached
from the principles that guided our liberation struggle.
The final chapter, chapter nine, sets out the political and
electoral reforms that will be necessary to ensure that future
elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair and produce outcomes that
accurately reflect the sovereign wishes of the people.
The Final Results: Discrepancies
Investigations and anlaysis by the MDC has revealed that in 30
constituencies (see list below) in the provinces of Manicaland,
Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland South there are
serious and unaccountable gaps between the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission's (ZEC) official pronouncements on the number of votes
cast and the final totals accorded to each candidate. This
indicates massive fraud in which the ZEC appears complicit.
At present the MDC is unable to carry out an analysis of the
accuracy of the number of votes cast in constituencies in
Mashonaland Central, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Midlands North
and Midlands South as the ZEC refuses to release these figures. The
ZEC's refusal to release these figures indicates widespread
Where the MDC was widely predicted to regain seats, such as in
Harare and Bulawayo, very few discrepancies were identified. This
raises further suspicions that there was a calculated plan to
ensure that the MDC won a sufficient number of seats to provide the
electoral process with a veneer of legitimacy. While little attempt
was made to deny the MDC victory in key urban areas it is clear
that all stops were pulled out to ensure the MDC made few gains
In 11 constituencies (Kariba, Manyame, Goromonzi, Murehwa South,
Mutoko North, Seke Rural, Buhera South, Mutare South, Mutasa South,
Mutasa North and Nyanga) the deficits between the ZEC's official
pronouncement on the number of votes cast and the final total
directly account for the Zanu PF 'victories'. In most of these
constituencies the Zanu PF candidate was either a senior party
official or a Government Minister
This analysis does not even take into account the uneven electoral
playing field, the inflated voters' roll, the coercion of the rural
electorate, nor the high number of people who were turned away on
1. Manyame: ZEC announced the total votes cast as being 14 812. The
MDC candidate polled 8 312 votes, meaning she had an unassailable
lead. However, when results were finally announced the winning Zanu
PF candidate was reported to have received 15 448 votes, with 543
ballots spoilt. The total vote count for the constituency becomes
24 303, with the discrepancy being 9 491 votes.
2. Goromonzi: ZEC announced the total votes cast as being 15 611.
The MDC candidate, with 8 578 votes, polled more than half of the
votes cast. However, when results were finally issued the Zanu PF
candidate was announced the winner with 16 782 votes, 1 171 votes
more than the total number of votes cast. The total votes cast for
the 2 candidates, including spoilt ballots, becomes 26 123. The
discrepancy is 10 512 votes.
3. Kariba: ZEC announced the total votes cast as being 16 676. The
MDC candidate, with 9 540 votes, polled more than half of the votes
cast. However, when results were finally issued the Zanu PF
candidate was announced the winner with 13 719 votes. The total
votes cast for the 2 candidates, including spoilt ballots, becomes
24 142. The discrepancy is 7 466 votes.
4. Seke Rural: ZEC's total votes cast in Seke are given as 11 344.
The MDC candidate, with 8 843 votes, polled more than half of the
votes cast. But, when results were finally issued the Zanu PF
candidate was announced winner with 15 434 votes, which is 4 090
more votes than the total votes cast. The total votes for all the
candidates, including spoilt ballots, mysteriously becomes 24 873.
The discrepancy is 13 529.
5. Mutare South: The ZEC figures for the total votes cast is 14
054. The MDC candidate received 12 163 votes. The final result
released shows total votes as being 28 575, with 16 412 of these
being for the winning Zanu PF. This registers a discrepancy of 14
6. Buhera South: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 25 447. The
MDC candidate received 13 893 votes, more than half of the total
votes cast. When results were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate
was announced the winner, with 15 066 votes. This gives a total of
28 959 ballots cast for the constituency, leaving a discrepancy of
7. Marondera East: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 25 193.
When results were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was
announced the winner, with 19 192 votes against 10 066 for his MDC
counterpart. The total vote count for the constituency is 29 935,
leaving a discrepancy of 4 742.
8. Buhera North: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 16 795.
When results were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was
announced the winner, with 17 677 votes against 4 137 for his MDC
counterpart. The total vote count for the constituency is 22 688,
leaving a discrepancy of 5 893.
9. Murehwa South: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 8 579. The
MDC candidate received 4 586, more than half of the total votes
cast. However, when results were finally issued the winning Zanu PF
candidate was announced to have received 19 200 votes, more than
double the number of votes cast. This gives a total of 24 463.
There is a discrepancy of 15 207.
10. Mutasa South: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 15 733.
The MDC candidate received 9 380, more than half of the total votes
cast. However, when results were finally announced the Zanu PF
candidate was reported have received 9 715votes. The total vote
count, including spoilt ballots, amounts to 19 573, leaving 3 840
votes unaccounted for.
[20 more examples given in web version of this Bulletin, at
Zimbabwe: Election Fraud Report
Mon, 18 Apr 2005 07:50:30 -0700
Page Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D.