THE Research and Advocacy Unit (Rau) has released a new report which questions the source of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial one million extra votes in the disputed July 31, 2013 general elections compared to the 2008 polls.
Owen Gagare/Wongai Zhangazha
Titled Numbers out of Tune?, An examination of the vote in Harmonised July 2013 Election, the report examines some of the numbers and voting patterns from the July 2013 poll.
It is based on an analysis of published results in the presidential elections from 2008 and 2013 and voter registration statistics.
Mugabe got 2 110 434 votes while his closet rival former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai polled 1 172 349 votes. In the first round of the 2008 elections, Mugabe had managed only 1 079 730 whereas Tsvangirai polled 1 195 562.
Rau says since Tsvangirai’s vote remained virtually unchanged, there were limited number of possibilities for the huge jump in Mugabe’s numbers, possibly that; there was large increase in the number of registered voters; that large numbers of people who were registered as voters in 2008 did not vote in March 2008, but turned up to vote in 2013.
It says there could also have been numerous fraudulent ballots cast last year.
The think tank says an analysis of the voters roll and voter registration figures shows that a total of 779 279 new voters were added since 2008.
“With these considerations and numbers in mind, one can now consider the claim that Mugabe’s 1,03 million extra votes came from the large number of Zanu PF supporters added to the roll during the registration drives. If the pattern of bias claimed by Zanu PF during the first registration drive (4:1) continued during the second exercise, and one extends these ratios to the total of 779 279 new voters, then 623 423 of the new voters would have been Zanu PF supporters,” notes Rau.
“This would leave the source of 407 281 votes for Mugabe unexplained. Even if every one of the new voters added to the roll had voted for Mugabe, some 251 425 votes still would require explanation.”
Rau rejects the notion that a lot of voters who voted for Tsvangirai could have changed allegiance during last year’s polls.
“At the outset, it must be noted that the vote tally for Tsvangirai remained little changed from 2008, dropping by 23 213 votes. This constant in the Tsvangirai tally limits the possibilities when attempting to explain Mugabe’s tally.
In particular, it means that Mugabe’s tally cannot be explained by two simple parameters only: the increase in voters and a switch in allegiance from Tsvangirai,” says Rau.
“Since Tsvangirai’s total is almost unchanged from 2008, any gap caused by a switch in allegiance by former loyalists reducing Tsvangirai vote, would need to be filled (if confined to these two parameters) by new voters casting a ballot for Tsvangirai.
This then reduces the number of the new voters who could have voted for Mugabe, and thus reduces the number of these votes available to explain his tally.
“In other words, reallocating the votes within the pool cannot explain the increase in Mugabe’s tally, as the pool itself is too small to explain the vote. There must be some other source besides a switch in allegiance and an increased voter population to explain the 1,03 million additional votes.
“If all 779 279 newly registered voters are added to Mugabe’s tally for 2008 (1079730), the total is only 1 859 009, some 251 425 votes short of the official count of 2 110 434, and leaving the source of these votes unexplained.”
Rau says the fact that 206 901 voters were “assisted” to cast a ballot and may be assumed to have voted for Mugabe, does not change anything as it effectively constitute shifts in allegiance which cannot explain Mugabe’s tally.
The think tank adds that a transfer of votes by those that voted for the other outside presidential candidates in 2008 (221 973) cannot explain the increase in Mugabe’s votes as only 93 989 of these votes did not go to outside candidates in 2013.
“Even if all are attributed to Mugabe, 157 436 votes are still unexplained,” Rau says.
“In short, examining this explanation for the results, the sources considered thus far from which Mugabe’s votes are drawn, constitute a pool too small to explain all of his additional 1,03 million votes.
“If a more complex scenario is assumed, and all the possible sources for Mugabe’s final tally are included, the problem of the unexplained votes still does not go away.
Even if one attributes every single vote from all obvious sources to Mugabe – loyalists from 2008, newly registered voters, assisted voters, and switches in allegiance – the source of some 134 223 votes of his tally still remains unexplained.”
Rau also tables the number of unaccounted votes by province which shows there were anomalies countrywide.
It says the unexplained votes can only be derived from fraudulent votes – either ghost polling stations or multiple voting – or from people who were registered in 2008 but did not vote in 2013.
It highlights that circumstances were propitious for multiple voting as shown by the following:
An examination of the electronic roll as at the end of May 2013 showed the voters roll to be massively inflated;
Against an international norm of 10%, 35% more ballot papers were printed than there are voters on even this inflated roll. This would ensure that, if an “unexpected” number of voters arrived at a single polling station, there would be sufficient ballot papers to accommodate them;
Voters whose names were not on the roll were allowed to vote using voter registration slips. Election officials were thus unable to guard against multiple voting by checking to see whether the names of these voters had been crossed off the roll.
The slips also contained no information by which the election officers could determine the ward in which the voter was to cast a ballot, allowing voters to “ward hop” and there were no security features to prevent forgery;
During the election, 20 to 30 Zanu PF supporters were found with fraudulent voter registration slips allegedly distributed by a Zanu PF parliamentary candidate;
The main means by which multiple voting is prevented is by the use of the ink into which voters dip a finger before voting. The ink should contain specified quantities of silver nitrate.
This silver nitrate chemically combines with skin cells and cannot be washed off. Zec allowed the test for the chemical quality of the ink to be conducted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the very body whose members are alleged to have engaged in multiple voting.
Several anecdotal reports suggested that the ink was easily removed, and possibly due to inadequate supplies, had been diluted, and
The UV machines used in 2008 to test for silver nitrate residue on voter’s fingers, and utilised when a suspicion or allegation of a prior vote was raised, were inexplicably not used in 2013.