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Fears of election rigging – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

There are growing fears that Zanu PF is already busy preparing to steal next year’s elections. Suspicions have been heightened by the government’s move to seize control of the new biometric voter registration process. 

Exiled Zimbabweans demonstrated in London on Wednesday for the third day in a row as unrest mounted in Zimbabwe
Exiled Zimbabweans demonstrating in London

It had been agreed that the process would be handled by the United Nations Development Programme but the bankrupt Zanu PF government suddenly announced it would itself pay for it. That Zanu PF is prepared to fork out $17 million instead of accepting UN funding is taken as clear sign that it intends to nobble the whole process. 

The legal adviser to the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) Douglas Mwonzora has expressed outrage at the move, which he said would help the government manipulate the elections. 

The move comes amid complaints that traditional leaders are again being coerced to support Zanu PF and that voters are being warned that the biometric system will enable Zanu PF to see how they vote. 

The Vigil has now submitted its petition to the UN calling for intervention to ensure a level playing field in the Zimbabwe elections. Here is our letter to the UN Secretary General, António Guterres:

‘We respectfully submit a petition calling on the United Nations to intervene in Zimbabwe. The petition reads: With mounting unrest in Zimbabwe, we urge you to appoint a Special Representative to prepare the ground for a UN Transitional Authority to take over from the failed Mugabe regime. We look to the Special Representative to initiate comprehensive negotiations so that the UN Transitional Authority can assume control of Zimbabwe’s administrative structures – foreign affairs, defence, security, finance and communications – to ensure a level playing field conducive for credible national elections.

‘The petition has been signed by thousands of people who have passed by the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London since 2002 in support of free and fair elections. In addition, many more have endorsed it online.

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‘93 year old President Robert Mugabe insists on clinging to office until death. His wife Dr Grace Mugabe even insists that he can continue to rule from the grave.

‘Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has been in power since independence 37 years ago and has reduced Zimbabweans to poverty and starvation. Polls have been blatantly rigged and, with no electoral reforms in sight, it is certain that the 2018 elections will again be stolen by a combination of rigging, bribery, intimidation and violence.

‘In the past the bogus polls have been routinely endorsed by the Southern African Development Community and the African Union despite all the evidence of malpractice. We fear that if it happens again there will be an explosion of anger by people driven to desperation and this will have serious consequences for the region as a whole.’ 

Other points

  • Civil rights activist and ROHR supporter Linda Masarira was convicted by a Mbare magistrate on Friday of obstructing traffic during last year’s anti-government protests. Magistrate Stanford Mambanje said she was a notorious activist and social media agitator. She is to be sentenced on Monday. Linda described the charges as trumped up offences for which she had already been detained for 87 days with 13 days in solitary confinement in Chikurubi.
  • Vigil supporters staged a demonstration outside South Africa House on Wednesday 1st March against the renewed xenophobia in South Africa. They handed a petition to the Deputy High Commissioner Golden Neswiswi. They also went around to the Zimbabwe Embassy to hand out information there. The protesters were: Martin Chinyanga, Rose Maponga, Rumbi Sambana and Gift Moyo.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Flemming Diza, Daizy Fabian, Ruvimbo Gwenzi, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Etines Kapiya, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Alice Majola, Nancy Makurira, Benjamin Molife, Tinotenda Mrewa, Lloyd Mudzengerere, Virginia Mutyambizi, Patience Muyeye, Edward Ndlovu, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Tawanda Rusape, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Farai Tanyanyiwa and Douglas Tavengwa. Thanks to Daizy, Alice and Patience for looking after the front table, to Nancy, Rumbidzayi, Maureen Tavengwa, Newman Richard, Chipo Parirenyatwa and Simbarashe Mutero for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Tawanda, Benjamin, Mduduzi, Tinotenda, Newman, Tapera Chabata, Phillip Mahlahla and David Makuyana for putting up and taking down the banners and tarpaulin. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 50 signed the register.