MDC plans to boycott ZANU-PF imposed election rerun

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Last night the opposition MDC hinted that it might boycott the anticipated rerun of the March 29 Presidential election, insisting it won the election by a margin that allows it to automatically assume presidency.

from our correspondent in Harare

The MDC further says in the event of such poll, incumbent president Robert Mugabe has tainted the electoral environment by deploying army personnel in all regions of the country to intimidate people into voting for him.

“We have won this election and we will not participate in a run-off,” MDC
secretary general Tendai Biti told journalists at a media briefing in Harare on Wednesday evening.

“It is quite clear that Zanu-PF are desperate to reverse the people’s victory, to reverse the people’s expression on the 29th of March 2008.

“We will not accept the militarization of this campaign and of our beautiful Zimbabwe. How do you talk of a run off when you don’t know the result?”

Zimbabwe held its first ever harmonized elections on March 29, 2008. Only the results of the parliamentary and Senate elections have been announced so far, with the outcome of the presidential still outstanding 10 days after polls closed.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which organised the elections, has cited a variety of reasons why the announcement has been delayed.

The MDC has also refused to participate in a recount of ballot papers filed during the election, saying the Electoral Act prescribes that such recount be conducted within 48 hours of an election.

“There is no law that provides for a recount vis a vis a presidential election,” said Biti, arguing that the section of the Act that deals with the prospect of a recount only applies to parliamentary elections.

“It is quite evident to us that Zanu-PF have done a forensic audit of this
election. In complicit with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, they have opened those ballot boxes they have moved those ballot boxes and they know what is inside them.

He said that the insistence on the recount of parliamentary boxes by Zanu-PF was suspicious as they may have moved and staffed ballot boxes with ballots in favour of Zanu-PF.

“Those ballot boxes have become pregnant and they have reproduced during the time we have been waiting. There has been biological reproduction in those ballot papers and we will not accept that progeny because that progeny is illegal and it’s illegitimate,” said Biti.

This comes amid reports that on Friday, there shall be a recount of ballot boxes in respect of Chimanimani West and Mutare West constituencies, which were both won by the MDC.

“They have made an announcement of recounts. The whole talk of a recount vis a vis the presidential election is absolute nonsense,” he said.

Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who until the March election, was the minister of
information and publicity denied that Zanu- PF already knows the results.

“That is absolute rubbish,” he said, “The MDC and the international press have been flying around concocted statistics about the outcome of the results.

“ZEC is still verifying the results. ZEC is doing very well and it should not be pressured into releasing the wrong results. They should not work under duress. Zanu-PF has no hand in it and is eagerly waiting for the results too.”

Ndlovu said last week’s Zanu-PF politburo meeting only recommended the candidature of Mugabe in case of a rerun.

But statements by Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa suggest the contrary.

“We were sitting here to consider whether we should go for a re-run or not,” Mutasa said to journalists soon after the meeting, “The answer was in the affirmative. We have prepared ourselves simply to do just that.”

President Mugabe is under pressure to relinquish power after 28 years at the helm. The outcome of an election in which he is said to have lost, was widely expected to end the 84-year old leader’s controversial rule.

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