Friday, April 08, 2005

Zimbabwe's poll numbers don't add up.

Well they add up, it's just over 100%.

I wonder how the farming is going over there?

Zimbabwe's opposition claims to have found proof of "massive electoral fraud" carried out by the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

The Movement for Democratic Change said on Wednesday that tens of thousands of votes appear to have been conjured from nowhere to guarantee victory for candidates from the ruling ZANU-PF party in last week's parliamentary election.

Seven hours after voting ended last Thursday, Lovemore Sekeramayi, an official from the election commission, began reading out the total number of votes cast in each constituency to journalists. He did so for 72 seats, before stopping abruptly without any explanation.

Later, George Chiweshe, the High Court judge who chairs the election commission, announced the totals won by each candidate on state television. But in 45 of the 120 seats there were discrepancies between his figures and the turnout broadcast earlier.

In Goromonzi constituency, Mr Sekeramayi announced a turnout of 15,611. Mr Justice Chiweshe then declared the ZANU-PF candidate had won 16,782 votes. The victorious MP was Herbert Murerwa, the acting Finance Minister, who, if the turnout figure was correct, swept up 108 per cent of the total vote.

Sydney Sekeramayi, the Defence Minister, won 19,912 votes in Marondera East against 10,066 for Iain Kay, a former commercial farmer standing for the MDC. But the turnout in this seat was announced as being only 25,193. Thus 4742 votes seem to have appeared from nowhere.

Patrick Zhuwawo, Mr Mugabe's nephew, won 104 per cent of the vote in Manyame.

In 11 seats, the discrepancies were larger than the majorities of the winning candidates from ZANU-PF. Had the MDC won those 11 constituencies, it would have held enough seats in parliament to prevent Mr Mugabe winning the two-thirds majority that lets him amend the constitution.

"This indicates massive electoral fraud by the ruling party," an MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, said.

Although election observers from South Africa and the Southern African Development Community have said the vote reflected Zimbabweans' will, human-rights groups and many Western governments have called it seriously flawed.