OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai told supporters at the party's 14th anniversary celebrations at Mutare's Sakubva Stadium Saturday that his MDC-T party had put together a dossier of evidence proving what the party describes as "one of the biggest electoral heists of our time". Tsvangirai has refused to accept his defeat in the July 31 elections which were won by President Robert Mugabe and his party won with a landslide majority.
The former prime minister claims his rival carried out a monumental fraud and told supporters he would be taking the evidence to the African Union and SADC groupings whose observer missions have since described the elections are free and credible. In the following excerpts from his Saturday speech, Tsvangirai explains how the his party believes the "vote fraud" carried out ... .
How It happened
Those who stole this election claim to have been overwhelmingly voted by the people, even here in Manicaland where we know you have since declared this province shall never be Zanu PF again. They made a farce of our electoral petition where we intended to expose how this election was stolen. But I want to say here that we had to withdraw the Presidential election petition because we were denied election material and figures. They refused to allow us to bring witnesses to testify.
We have teachers, school heads and other civil servants who wanted to testify on how they were asked to plead illiteracy. We wanted to bring in many witness and cross-examine Tobaiwa Mudede and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chief Rita Makarau, among others. We wanted Mudede to explain many things, included the millions of dollars he paid Nikuv without the knowledge of the Minister of Finance and what national services the company had offered the people of Zimbabwe. We have sat as a national leadership and received reports from across the country on how these thieves did it and we have frightening information, most of it from some of the players involved in the electoral theft.
A militarised election
This election was highly militarised. The militarisation started with the deployment of military personnel such as former Air Vice Marshall Henry Muchena and several other former intelligence officials to work at the Zanu PF headquarters. We have a list of 10 senior military officers who were deployed as co-ordinators for the July 31 election in each of the provinces.
We now have impeccable information that 35,000 youths were trained and deployed specifically in Harare, all Matabeleland provinces and here in Manicaland after Zanu PF said the people in these provinces were "resisting re-orientation programmes run by civilians." Inkomo Barracks in Harare had 7,343 recruits who went through training and were deployed three days ahead of the election. Named intelligence and military intelligence department officials were working with Nikuv to manipulate the voters roll in both rural and urban areas.
We now know who stole how many carats, on what date, who took them to the intermediary in Angola and how much was paid as the regime mopped national resources to fund electoral theft. We now know which countries, which individuals and companies were at the centre of this electoral theft. I now have the dossier with me, which I will be sharing with heads of State in SADC and the rest of Africa.
Voters' roll, registration and voter displacement
Six weeks after the election, we still do not have a copy of the voters roll. We now have information that there was a deliberate ploy to prevent registration for a certain age group and people from perceived MDC strongholds. For example, during the initial voter registration period, Mashonaland East, a perceived Zanu PF stronghold, had 18 mobile registration teams while Harare had only five. As a result, Harare had only 27,000 newly registered voters after the intense 30-day registration exercise while Mashonaland East had more than 50,000.
750,000 people in urban areas were disenfranchised while the limited time allocated for voter registration resulted in the disenfranchisement of over two million potential voters, 350,000 of these in Harare alone. Others found their names on the rolls of other districts and other provinces. While the new Constitution restored voting rights to the so-called aliens, the majority of them could not register to vote as registration authorities continued to make dubious demands that led to most of them being disenfranchised.
And despite the SADC Election Observer Mission saying the voters roll is at the heart of any election and should be made available to all parties timeously, which did not happen in our case, the same observer mission found our election to have been "generally credible." An election is either credible or not and surely an election which takes place when other parties do not have a copy of the voters roll is certainly not credible.
Printing of ballots
There was no transparency over how many ballots were printed and by whom. There was no accountability on how many ballots were printed for both the special voting and the actual election on 31 July 2013. To date, no one has accounted for the printed ballots and we now understand 300,000 Presidential ballots were printed for the special voting even though there were far much less that 100 000 people eligible to vote during the special voting. The fact that ZEC printed 8,7 million ballots against 6,4 million registered voters raised suspicion. We have requested for a full national audit of the production and distribution of ballots but that was not done and we were denied access to the required material.
Fake voter registration slips
The voter registration slips were abused. On election day, we unearthed a scam where tens of thousands of fraudulent slips were issued out and used to vote. In Hatfield constituency, six people were arrested on election day and they confessed to being part of a large group of people that has been issued with fake registration slips. The fake registration slips did not have a block number meaning they could be used to vote at any polling station in a given constituency.
Abuse of chiefs and the harvest of fear
Traditional leaders were told to lead their people on voting day to vote for Zanu PF. We have a case of three village heads in Mashonaland East who were suspended after the election for not doing what every village head had done, to commandeer their people to the polling station to vote for Zanu PF. We also had teachers, including school heads and principals, nurses and other professionals who are still prepared to testify in court on how they were made to claim illiteracy so that they could be assisted to vote.
This is probably the only election where headmasters and other senior civil servants were assisted to vote by Grade two drop-outs after they were asked to plead illiteracy. In short, it was a peaceful but rigged election. A coup by ballot, a chaotic football match where the referee, in this case ZEC, joins the other team and scores for it!
I shall be engaging SADC and the AU because they simply do not have the information of how the people's verdict was stolen. So I shall visit them and update them on what happened during the July 31 theft.