Despite massive irregularities and intimidation, the overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans have voted against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF ruling party. Although the state-controlled media (The Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation – ZBC - and the Herald Newspaper) openly campaigned for Mugabe, vilifying the opposition and granting extravagant TV airtime and newspaper coverage to ZANU-PF propaganda, the two main cities in Zimbabwe, Harare and Bulawayo, have overwhelmingly voted against the ZANU-PF government.
There was no voter education and voters rolls were not made accessible to the opposition. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was run by senior leaders of the Marxist ZANU-PF. Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) raided opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offices and hotel rooms. Observers, and even parliamentary candidates, were detained. Many MDC candidates, officials and independent observers were threatened, beaten and even murdered.
Observers reported that ZANU-PF had packed the voters rolls with hundreds of thousands of fake names and fictitious addresses, set up ghost polling stations which only ZANU-PF agents knew about, in order to rig the results of the election. Independent observers have also reported that large numbers of voters were being turned away from the polling stations claiming that their names were not on the voters rolls.
President Robert Mugabe threatened at an election rally last week that any vote for the opposition would be wasted, because it will “never be allowed to rule this country.” Mugabe threatened to put down any Kenya-style protests, “that will never happen here. Never ever, we have enough security forces.”
Observers also reported that the Marxist government had printed millions more ballot papers than there were voters in the country. They also permitted the ZRP police (who had been intimidating and beating up opposition candidates) into polling booths to “help” the voters. The ZANU-PF government had also intimidated rural voters by threatening their food supply if they failed to vote for their government.
The police also warned the MDC that they were not allowed to celebrate the election results in the streets as that would be interpreted as a coup!
Military and police leaders have threatened to seize power to prevent the opposition replacing ZANU-PF.
Against All Odds
Nevertheless, despite all the threats, intimidation and irregularities, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the MDC, has claimed an overwhelming victory in the General Election.
Sokwanele, a non-partisan observer group, has released the following results based on the Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) taken from the independent website www.zimelectionresults.com and cross-referenced with the Zimbabwean Electoral Support Network (ZESN) data that Tsvangirai’s MDC has won 99 seats, Mutambara’s MDC has won 11 seats, Independents have won one seat, and ZANU-PF 96 seats.
A Threat to Freedom
Sokwanele notes that while the opposition coalition now enjoys a majority control of the House of Assembly, should further vote rigging enable Mugabe to steal the presidential vote, he may dissolve the House of Assembly.
The “official” ZEC figures are being released at such “a snails pace”, and indicate massive discrepancies “a clear sign ZANU-PF is desperately attempting to inflate results in their favour. This is being done to reduce Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidential vote to below the 50% plus one result required for him to win the race in round one.”
A second presidential runoff election would be required if any candidate fails to achieve over 50%.
Independent observers have reported “blatant rigging at it’s most iniquitous” However “the people of Zimbabwe have spoken, and it is now time for ZANU-PF SADC, all other African bodies and the rest of the world to respect and support the will of the people.”
“Mugabe Has Been Defeated!”
Collen Makumbirofa of the Foundation of Reason and Justice reports: “MDC has scored election victory. Mugabe has been defeated! I have no doubt that they will try to manipulate results.”
ZANU Politburo Rejected
According to official results already posted at polling stations, at least 9 of Mugabe’s politburo, his inner circle, have been voted out of their seats. A senior source at the Electoral Commission has reported that actually Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has taken 191 of the 210 parliamentary seats.
The remainder has been split between the ruling ZANU-PF and the smaller MDC faction backing the ZANU-PF defector Simba Makoni.
Observers have noted that the state controlled ZBC television has, for the most part, ignored the most important election since Independence. ZBC has broadcast a mixture of cartoons and 1970’s football matches instead of reporting on poll results.
MDC MP David Coltart has written: “Mugabe and his cronies are chiefly responsible for an economic meltdown that has turned one of Africa’s most prosperous countries into a country with one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. The average life expectancy in Zimbabwe has fallen from 57 years to 34 years for women and 54 to 37 years for men. Some 3,500 Zimbabweans die every week from the combined effects of HIV/AIDS, poverty and malnutrition. Half a million Zimbabweans may have died already. There is no freedom of speech or assembly in Zimbabwe and the state has used violence to intimidate and murder its opponents.
“At the root of Zimbabwe’s problems is a corrupt political elite that has, with considerable international support, behaved with utter impunity for some two decades. This elite is determined to hang onto power no matter what the consequences, lest it be held to account for the genocide in Matabeleland in the early 1980’s and the wholesale looting that followed the mismanaged land reform in 2000.
“When change comes to Zimbabwe, the nation will have to rediscover the Rule of Law and the sanctity of persons and property. The public discourse and the economy will have to be re-opened. The new government will have to embrace a more limited idea of government and rescind the legislation that makes the operation of the private sector next to impossible. Moreover, the new government will have to find a way for the people of Zimbabwe to heal all the wounds caused by decades of political violence.”
Eddie Cross of Bulawayo has written: “The outcome of the election has been a stunning victory for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. Many of the strongholds of ZANU-PF have fallen to overwhelming MDC majorities.” He described the rising tide of opposition to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF as “a Tsunami.”
Mr Cross observes: “The consensus of the media and many other commentators was that the MDC was a spent force. Divided and confused, weakened by a year of relentless onslaughts of the authorities and the departure of thousands of their key activists to South Africa and elsewhere. In fact, it stunned ZANU when MDC was able to field 200 candidates at short notice and then come out fighting with a well-prepared and financed campaign. The key to that was the support network built up over several years in the region and these hidden heroes are very much responsible for the activity everyone has seen in the past few weeks – the adverts, the flyers, the postal war and the funding for our candidates.
The Anti-Rigging Campaign
“Finally the anti-rigging operation. We knew how they had rigged previous elections and we set out to try and stop a recurrence. The whistle-blower campaign was a key part of that and we have had hundreds of calls from all quarters and several key hits. The many people who climbed in and said ‘one more time’ and spent days in the bush helping with the count and the reporting system are unsung heroes.
“We Have Had Enough!”
“Then the people – they had just had enough, had enough of arrogance and being taken for granted, enough of the sufferings and destruction of the economy…They chose to suffer in silence and then go out and vote. For me they are the real champions and I hope they will never again be taken for granted. I also hope they will hold the new leadership accountable for the trust they have given us.”
The Destruction of a Country
As 84 year-old Mugabe struggles to extend his 28 year rule into a 6 th term in office, Zimbabwe faces widespread hunger, mass unemployment and inflation soaring above 100,000 %. Most shop shelves are empty. More than 5 million of the population have fled Mugabe’s misrule across the border to neighbouring counties, mostly to South Africa. Many observers recognised this voting with their feet as the most damning evidence of Mugabe’s oppression.
However, those outside of the country were prevented from postal votes, or voting in Zimbabwe embassies. In this way ZANU-PF had hoped that most of their opposition had been disenfranchised. Now it would appear that even those who had previously been supporters of Mugabe’s ZANU have finally turned against the misrule of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF regime.
Pray for Zimbabwe
Please mobilize your friends, family and congregation to urgently pray for the Christians in Zimbabwe. There is a very real potential that violence could break out, even worse that the recent riots in Kenya that followed the government rigging of election results there. The violence in Libya, Ivory Coast, the Congo and Rwanda could easily be replicated in Zimbabwe.
We need to pray that the Christian Church in Zimbabwe will humble themselves and pray, and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14).
May every form of corruption and interference with the vote counting be exposed. (As Marxist dictator Joseph Stalin once said: “It’s not who votes who counts, it’s who counts the vote!”
As Reformer Martin Luther pointed out, when we pray: “Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” then “He must put all the opposition to this in one pile and say: “Curses, maledictions and disgrace upon every other name and kingdom. May they be ruined and torn apart and may all their schemes and wisdom and plans run aground.’”
To pray for the extension of God’s Kingdom is to pray for the destruction of all other kingdoms.
“The God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom which will never be destroyed…It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” Daniel 2:44
Advance and victory for the Church of Christ means defeat and retreat for the kingdom of satan.
A War of Worldviews
There is a life and death struggle between two kingdoms. We are involved in a World War of Worldviews. God’s Kingdom cannot come without satan’s kingdom being destroyed. God’s Will cannot be done on earth without the destruction of evil. Lives and liberty are at stake.
Pray the Psalms
We need to pray the Psalms for Zimbabwe. Pray that the wicked may fall into the pit that they have dug for others (Psalm 9:16; 35:7-8; Galatians 6:7). Pray that the declarations of the wicked may come back to haunt them (Psalm 64:7-8).
Pray that their actions against God’s people may be exposed, confounded and confused (Psalm 64:2-9).
Let us pray in Christ (John 14:14) against the enemies of God (Psalm 119:113) for the glory of God (Psalm 58:11;68:34) naming the individuals and groups according to their malice and persecutions (Exodus 7:2-5; 17-21; Exodus 8:20-21; 12:12; Nehemiah 4:4-5; 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:14).
“When justice is done it brings joy to the righteous, but terror to the evil-doers.” Proverbs 21:15
“Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules…” Psalm 59:13
“…Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
Dr Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: (021) 689-4480
Fax: (021) 685-5884