Zimbabwe votes : Results could be canceled

Reading time 4 min.

THE worlds focus would zoom on Zimbabwe tomorrow as millions of
citizens file to the polling stations to elect new leaders.

from our correspondent in Harare

The general belief is that Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980 will be trumped but would not accept it.

Judicial manipulation

Political analysts suggest that Saturday’s election results will be suspended if early returns suggest a Mugabe defeat. On the ground Mugabe looks increasingly likely to lose the popular vote but he won’t lose power, they say.

They point to a legal and constitutional piece of trickery that is
being worked out, which will see Mugabe remain president for up to
another year.

This would be the work of his Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku,
who will, if it becomes necessary, use new electoral laws passed late
last year, under constitutional Amendment No 18, to declare the
result of Saturday’s election null and void.

Said one analyst “The new law says that if an appeal against the
Electoral commission Court is upheld in the High Court, the election
must be suspended.

Two such appeals have been made, by two little-known candidates who
are said to have arrived late with their papers and were consequently

Early suspension

‘Therefore, if early vote count indicates that Mugabe is losing, the
Chief Justice will swiftly move to uphold these appeals. The effect
will be to suspend the elections for 90 days, during which Mugabe
will continue to rule”

When this happens, Mugabe will then suspend Parliament and declare a
state of emergency. This will give him another year in power.

This last-ditch plan to cling to power has come about because one of
Mugabe’s main weapons of terror and subversion, the much-feared
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), has suddenly become
politically unreliable.

Observed another resident “It is the CIO’s job to rig the election in
Mugabe’s favour.

9m ballot papers for 5.9m voters

“Its agents are responsible for the intimidation of opposition supporters,
the stuffing of ballot boxes with some of the 9million ballot papers
available for a registered voting list of 5.9 million people, the
forging of postal votes, the organisation of mass army and police
votes for Mugabe”

But spy organization is widely believed to have divided into two
distinct groups cliques, those still backing Mugabe, who will continue
with the vote rigging, and those supporting his Zanu-PF rival Simba

Opinion polls

CIO boss Happyton Bonyongwe, is said to be leading the pro-Makoni
faction, while his deputy Mernard Muzariri, supports the pro-Mugabe

“So when one looks at all this it simpll means that Mugabe may not
have it his way easily. Therefore, he would be left with the constitutional and legal option.”

If elections are won on opinion polls and the level of attendance at rallies, neither Mugabe nor Makoni is the front-runner.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition party, is in front,
Mugabe second in polls with Makoni closing on him.

But will Mugabe accept defeat.

This is unlikely as he has put his security forces on alert to quell the disturbances that are expected.

The move reveals anxiety within the corridors of power that there might be anti- government riots similar to those that rocked Kenya after that country’s disputed elections in December, if Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) win.

Security sources said Zimbabwe’s military and police forces have been told to be ready to act after the poll results because the government fears there could be street protests.

Sources further say that 84 year old Mugabe was most likely to scrape through with at least the required 51% of the vote.

But if Mugabe fails to get 51% there would be a run-off which many analysts say he will lose to either Tsvangirai or former finance minister Makoni.

Weapons from China or Russia

This week there was widespread speculation with the security system
that Zimbabwe could take delivery of jet fighters from either China
or Russia this week to prepare for the feared violence.

This is strengthened by the arrival of a team of Russian military
experts in Harare.

Zimbabwe has bought arms from Russia and, mostly, China to strengthen its arsenal which was largely depleted by involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo civil war between 1998 and 2002.

The opposition has said there is overwhelming evidence of manipulation of the polls through ballot fraud, voters’ roll tampering and gerrymandering. Mugabe’s regime denies the charges.

“The army, police and other key security agencies have been put on alert
because government fears that there could be an eruption of protests and violence after the elections,” a senior government official said.

By any standards, the election wont be decisive come Saturday.

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