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Zimbabwe 2013 Election Rigging Report: Part 4

This is the final (Part 4) of a 54 page dossier compiled by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which details the strategies employed by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party to rig the July 31, 2013 elections in Zimbabwe.

'Robbery' Mugabe voting on election day
‘Robbery’ Mugabe voting on election day


The strategies that were used to rig the elections included;

1) Manipulation of the voter registration process 

• Through the expert guidance of Nikuv, obstacles were created by the rigging machinery to deliberately slow down the registration process in urban areas, known to be MDC strongholds.

• There was also under registration and frustration of people aged between 18 and 35 years across the whole country.

• During the initial voter registration exercise, urban areas were allocated fewer mobile registration teams to deliberately slow the process and that resulted in hundreds of thousands being left out. Comparatively, Harare had five mobile registration teams but Mashonaland East had 18, despite the former having a population more than three times of the latter province.

• Harare had 27 000 new voters registered after the 30-day intense exercise, MashonalandEast had 50 000 new voters, Mashonaland Central had 48 000, Mashonaland West had 42 000, showing the deliberate plan to populate the rural constituencies on the voters’ roll while at the same time depopulating urban constituencies.

• The rigging machinery also created channels through which fake Identity Cards were issued to Zanu PF militia and supporters in order to facilitate their eligibility to vote as well as assume wrong identities.

• For example, as shown in Annexure B of this report, registration details of long deceased people were retrieved and used to create fake IDs for Zanu PF youth, who in some cases were even still below 18 years of age. The copy of ID shows how registration particulars of an old man were doctored to reduce his age to 18 when the picture clearly shows him to be well beyond prime age.

• The example of fake ID shown on Annexure B exposes how the rigging machinery was coordinated to allow such blatant anomalies to pass through.

 2) Disenfranchisement of many voters in MDC strongholds 

PICTURE: Zengeza 4 voter registration farce
Zengeza 4 voter registration farce as hundreds were deliberately frustrated from registering as voters

• A total of 950 000 people in urban areas were disenfranchised, 350 000 in Harare alone.

• The Registrar General of voters used a host of tactics to frustrate the huge numbers that wanted to register to vote, such as demanding proof of residence, letters from landlords or employers or marriage certificates.

• In clear violation of the law, the RG’s teams also prevented many aliens from registering to vote and their voting population in the whole country is more than 1 million.

• Huge numbers were turned away from the voter registration process, with hundreds of thousands of potential voters also turned away on the day of voting after failing to find their names on the voters’ roll or having learnt of displacement of their entries to other constituencies, including as far as hundreds of kilometres away.

• According to information provided by ZEC, 305 000 voters were turned away on voting day but independent assessments showed the number to exceed 500 000 voters that were turned away at polling stations.

• A survey carried out in three sampled suburbs of Harare showed that on average, out of 10 potential voters, four were disenfranchised and failed to register whilst another three had registered but were turned away on the day of voting, reflecting about 70% of voters that were affected by the deliberate bungling and sabotage tactics of the rigging machinery.

• In Bulawayo 180 000 people were disenfranchised with surveys showing an average of 60% of potential voters that were barred from voting.

• Midlands Urban had 100 000 people affected, with an average of 50% potential voters failing to exercise their right.

• Masvingo Urban recorded 140 000 disenfranchised voters at an average rate of 60% of potential voters denied the right to choose their leaders.

• Mutare had 80 000 voters disenfranchised and an average of 54 % failed to cast their votes.

3) Creation of 1,7 million ghost voters

• Names of deceased persons, numbering over 800 000 were deliberately included in the voters’ roll by the rigging machinery and concentrated mainly in rural constituencies.

• Another 900 000 names of persons that are permanently staying in the diaspora and did not come home to vote were included in the voters’ roll.

• A thorough assessment of copies of the voters’ roll that were used in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central Provinces showed that in all the constituencies, the numbers of voters on the register were strangely disproportionate and higher than the census figures released in 2012 and what was recorded as the adult population.

• For example, Marambapfungwe constituency in Mashonaland East had more than 28 000 names on the voters’ roll when census statistics showed that the population of adults was below 20 000 in that constituency.

• Virtually all the constituencies in the three Mashonaland provinces had huge disparities between the numbers of the voters’ roll and the population figures from latest census, indicating that the Registrar General and Nikuv used the ghost voters as one of the major strategies in these provinces.

• An investigation into the voters’ roll used in Mashonaland Central’s Rushinga constituency showed that out of 30 000 names, 8 000 belonged to the deceased and people staying in the diaspora.

• The trend in the Midlands, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces showed that there were specific constituencies that were targeted by the rigging machinery and flooded with ghost voters on the voters’ roll.

• For example, in Midlands province’s Chiwundura constituency the voters’ roll had 22 000 names compared to an adult population of less than 18 000 people from the census.

 4) Massive doctoring and corruption of the voters’ roll 

Mugabe's trusted election rigger: Registra General Tobaiwa Mudede (in glasses)
Mugabe’s trusted election rigger: Registra General Tobaiwa Mudede (in glasses)

• The rigging machinery deliberately created a shambolic voters’ roll as the first trump card for the rigging mission during voting and for that reason, made sure to resist all efforts to have a national, consolidated hard copy and electronic copy released on time.

• Investigations revealed that the Registrar General, working with Nikuv experts, deliberately created a shambolic voters’ roll through the combination of displacing names of many voters from their constituencies, deleting hundreds of thousands of names and also flooding the register with names of deceased persons or those living in the diaspora,

• The voters’ roll was compiled in a manner based on guidelines or rigging objectives, resulting in various and different versions being produced and distributed. There was not a consolidated national voters’ roll as required by the law.

• Copies of the voters’ roll differed and varied along provincial and even constituency lines and through that, the rigging machinery had hundreds of thousands of names with multiple appearances in more than one province or constituency, to facilitate for, and justify, multiple voting and ballot stuffing.

• The voters’ roll for urban areas had hundreds of thousands of names, mainly of people aged between 18 and 35 years, deleted or misplaced through a meticulous secretive process that involved the Registrar General and Nikuv.

• Through the dirty tactics that were applied in preparing the voters’ roll, the rigging machinery achieved the goal that was set by the Zanu PF leadership, of disenfranchising close to 1 million MDC supporters while at the same time creating 1,7 million ghost voters.

• Investigations carried out in Harare’s Mt Pleasant constituency showed that about 8 000 voters failed to vote because their names had been deleted or misplaced under far away constituencies. Of the 15 000 names on the voters’ roll, 5 000 belonged to Zanu PF supporters who resided outside Harare and were bussed to cast their votes on the voting day. Through this sinister plan, Zanu PF won the constituency with 7 945 votes against 3 817 for the MDC.

• The similar trend was established to exist in other constituencies of Harare, such as Harare East, Harare North, Harare South, Hatfield, Mbare, Dzivarasekwa and where the strategy helped Zanu PF get votes to either reduce the margin of MDC wins or in some cases, even claim victory.

• Masvingo and Manicaland provinces also witnessed the same strategy being used to dilute urban constituencies with huge numbers of names that appeared on the voters’ roll but belonged to people who stayed in rural and farming constituencies.

• For example, in Masvingo Urban constituency, 7000 names of people staying away from the city were on the voters’ roll and the people were transported to help Zanu PF win that seat on the day of voting with 10 928 votes against 10 424 for the MDC.

• It must be noted that the people that were transported into urban constituencies in most cases voted twice as they also appeared on the voters’ roll of their rural or farming constituencies.

 5) Fake voter registration slips

• The Zanu PF rigging system created 200 000 fake voter registration slips and which were distributed across the whole country for use by youth militia and Zanu PF supporters to vote in constituencies they were not registered and in some cases used by persons who were not eligible to vote.

• A syndicate involving the Registrar General, Nikuv experts and Zanu PF structures produced the fake slips and established networks at polling stations that paved way for the fraudulent use of the slips.

• SixZanu members were arrested in Harare’s Hatfield constituency on the day of voting after they were found with fake voter registration slips that didn’t have block numbers, meaning they could not be used to vote at any polling station. However, to show the complicity of law enforcement agents in the rigging mission, no action was taken against the offenders.

• The use of fake registration slips was widespread across the whole country and there were targeted constituencies where Zanu PF militia and supporters were specifically deployed to use the slips in order to balance the numbers for rigging objectives.

6) Bussing of voters

• Urban constituencies in Harare, Masvingo, Kwekwe, Kadoma, Mutare and Gweru were flooded with voters from rural or farming communities, whose names were put on the voters’ roll and bussed on voting day to dilute the MDC vote or even hand Zanu PF victory.

• In Harare, voters were bussed into the constituencies of Mt Pleasant, Harare East, Harare North, Harare South, Epworth, Mbare and Dzivarasekwa.

• All the constituencies in Chitungwiza had hordes of Zanu PF supporters bussed in from the rural areas of Seke, Mhondoro and Hwedza.

• In Manicaland thousands were bussed into Mutare urban constituencies and helped Zanu PF to claim victory in Mutare North, Mutare South and Mutare West constituencies.

• In Harare North constituency, 4000 Zanu PF supporters were bussed from Domboshava, Shamva and Musana areas and voted. Some of them had their names on the voters’ roll as had been pre-arranged by the rigging machinery and others voted using fake voter registration slips.

• A voter that was bussed from Shamva revealed that soon after voting in the rural constituency, they were transported to Harare North by trucks and had the ink erased using a special chemical from China to facilitate their voting for the second time.

7) Enforced assisted voting/abuse of traditional leaders

Chief Charumbira leads fellow members of the Chiefs Council at the Heroes Acre this year. Chiefs played a crucial role for Zanu PF in the just ended election frogmarching villagers and intimidating them into voting for the party.
Chief Charumbira leads fellow members of the Chiefs Council at the Heroes Acre this year. Chiefs played a crucial role for Zanu PF in the just ended election frogmarching villagers and intimidating them into voting for the party.

• A total of 250 000 voters were assisted to cast their votes and that was mainly in the rural provinces where the Zanu PF rigging system had identified all voters known or suspected to support the MDC to force them into enlisting assistance in the polling booth.

• The assisted voters included teaching, health and agricultural extension professionals, who do not require assistance to cast their votes.

• The officials that were delegated to assist the voters had been clearly instructed to ensure that all the votes would go to Zanu PF, thereby robbing the voters their right to freely choose candidates and political parties to vote for.

• Traditional leaders played the role of identifying people in their villages they knew and suspected would vote for the MDC, before dragging them to the polling stations for enforced assisted voting.

• A survey carried out in Mashonaland East’s Mutoko South constituency revealed that village headmen and chiefs compiled lists of people in their areas they knew or suspected to support the MDC, including professionals and handed them over to Zanu PF militia before the elections, which visited the voters and instructed them to ask for assistance on the day of voting against the threat of violence and murder.

8) Extra ballot papers 

• The printing of ballot papers was done under the supervision and control of the rigging machinery to cover up for the fact that many extra ballots were produced and used for the rigging mission.

• The rigging machinery printed 10 million sets of ballots for local governance, parliamentary and presidential elections against 6,4 million voters that ZEC claimed were on the voters’ roll.

• It was established that the ballot papers were printed at the Zimbabwe Republic Police Central Printers in Harare, without the ZEC commission being involved and monitoring the process as required by the law.

• The military and intelligence management committee remained in charge of the printing of the ballot papers until the process was done and a batch of 5 million ballots was handed over to ZEC two days before voting commenced.

• The other batch of 5 million ballot papers was channelled through the army bases and used for ballot stuffing.

• ZEC failed to account for the ballot papers that were printed, the numbers that were used and also those that were not used.

• The rigging machinery duplicated serial numbers on ballot papers to enable the strategy of stuffing of ballots. For example, information obtained from within the system showed that there were batches of ballot papers that were channelled through the military bases, which had similar serial numbers with batches that were dispatched to constituencies.

• During the special voting 300 000 presidential ballots were printed for special voting where about 70 000 people were eligible to vote and there was not proper accounting for the used or unused numbers.

 9) Water marked ballot paper

• The Chinese Communist Party brought 1 million water marked ballot papers specially made in China and which had a special feature to activate the X on Zanu PF candidates upon any application of ink.

• Of the batch, 500 000 were technically designed for the presidential voting while the other 500 000 were designed for council and parliamentary voting in selected constituencies.

• Information obtained from the rigging system shows that four provinces were specifically identified for the use of the water marked ballot papers, which are Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South. In all these provinces, Zanu PF claimed victory through unjustifiable wide margins.

• The water marked ballot papers were used alongside the normal ballot papers in specific numbers determined by the rigging system to balance the votes and hand victory to Zanu PF.

• The military and intelligence management committee handled the ordering of the water marked ballot papers, distributed them and used the rigging network to ensure their use according to specific guidelines and targets.

10) Ballot Stuffing 

• Extra ballots that were smuggled into army bases and marked by youths were used to rig the elections mainly in the rural constituencies across the country.

• Confirmed information shows that the rigging system that controlled the electoral process created avenues through which ballot stuffing was accomplished and also made sure to put obstacles that prevented MDC election agents from monitoring and recording all the stages of the voting, counting and verification process.

• Constituencies in the remote rural areas were targeted for massive ballot stuffing in the Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces, Mashonaland provinces, Masvingo and Manicaland.

• In some cases ballot papers already marked were smuggled into polling stations before voting commenced before being included for counting through the rigging network.

• In other cases, ballot papers were smuggled into the polling stations to balance numbers are voting had been completed and various ways were used to prevent MDC agents from witnessing the fraud.

• Information obtained from the rigging machinery shows that an estimated 1 million ballot papers were used for ballot stuffing at various levels and stages of the harmonised elections.