African observers say vote recount is heavily flawed

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A South African member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer team Monday said the recount of votes in a number of constituencies in Zimbabwe was futile because ballot boxes had been tampered with.

“From what I have seen and experienced in Zimbabwe over the past three days, it is clear that the process of recounting the contested wards from the recent elections is fatally flawed,” said Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard.

She said evidence of ballot box tampering points to a concerted effort to rig the election results in order to bring about a Robert Mugabe victory.

Meanwhile the leadership of AfriForum, the civil rights initiative established by South Africa’s Solidarity trade union, and a group of students Monday displayed protest banners against the Zimbabwean Defence Force’s purchase of arms from China at the Zimbab wean and Chinese Embassies in Durban, South Africa.

Chinese not welcome

The banner displayed at the Zimbabwean Embassy, read: “Zimbabwe needs Ballots, not Bullets”, while a banner displayed at the Chinese Embassy carried the message: ” Take your weapons … and go HOME!”.

AfriForum would have displayed these banners in Durban this past Saturday with t he aid of two chartered fishing boats at the site where the Chinese ship carrying the arms consignment had been anchored.

The protest action was, however, cancelled after the ship had hurriedly departed from South African territorial waters.

AfriForum also intended organising peaceful demonstrations along the route followed by the arms consignment across South Africa to Zimbabwe.

According to Kallie Kriel, the Chief Executive Officer of AfriForum, Monday’s protest had been held in order to demonstrate resistance to efforts which are still being made to deliver these weapons via an alternative route through Angola to Zimbabwe.

“The fact that the weapons are intended for the Zimbabwean Defence Force – which has already indicated that it will not accept an election outcome which will oust Robert Mugabe from his seat as President – is reason enough for any government

or civil rights organisation not to allow the abuse of their territory for enabling the armament of the Zimbabwean Defence Force,” Kriel said.

Kriel said that state violence in Zimbabwe would not only have negative implications for Zimbabweans, but would also influence all countries in the region negatively.

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