THE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) warned before last weekendâ€™s critical elections that President Robert Mugabe was unlikely to win an outright majority due to the economic crisis.
In a pre-election intelligence survey report to Mugabe, the state security agency said Mugabe was likely to get 49,2% of the vote if he did well. The CIO was however later put under political pressure to revise the figure to 52,3% and eventually 56%.
The CIO survey was similar in content and detail to the report released last week by University of Zimbabwe lecturer Dr Joseph KurebwaÂ prompting suggestions it was actually the same document. The idea was to use the report as a justification for rigging the elections and other shenanigans.
The CIO indicated main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was able to win the election if not contained, although they eventually gave him 29,1% in a bid to appease Mugabe. They said if Tsvangirai won it would be a disaster for Zimbabwe because he is regarded as a front for western powers.
The CIO said independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni was a â€œspoilerâ€ and was likely to get 21,5% of the vote. This figure was later revised down to 13%. Makoni has apparently won 7% of the vote. The other minor candidate Langton Towungana was given 0,2% of the vote.
Tsvangirai this week claimed he had won by 50,3% of the vote compared to Mugabeâ€™s 43,8%. However, the ruling Zanu PF rejected this,Â saying it was â€œwishful thinkingâ€ and advised him toÂ wait for the official results. Sources said Mugabe lost the election to Tsvangirai by 43%-49%. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said Tsvangirai was projected to get the most votes, with 49,4%, trailed by Mugabe with 41,8%.
If no candidate gets more than 50%, a run-off must be held within three weeks.
The CIO initially predicted Mugabe would not win an outright majority and a run-off was almost inevitable. They said the current economic and political conditions militated against a Mugabe victory.
Kurebwa made the same conclusions.
â€œThe precarious state of the national economy, characterised by high levels of inflation, unemployment and the cost of living, as well as low productive and export capacities, poses a serious impediment to an overwhelming Zanu PF election victory,â€ Kurebwaâ€™s report said.
â€œAdditional factors contributing towards the erosion of electoral support for Zanu PF are the partyâ€™s failure to transform itself, especially on the leadership, mobilisation, and ideological fronts, in line with changing times. The party has also failed to redress alleged marginalisation by certain racial, ethnic, regional and civic society groupings and social classes.â€
Kurebwaâ€™s report in its executive summary â€” hidden from journalists last week but later obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent â€” said Zanu PFâ€™s failure to accept dissent had undermined the partyâ€™s credibility and support.
â€œProbably the most critical failure has been the partyâ€™s ill-disposition towards internal dissent and external opposition, which has alienated potential and actual supporters,â€ Kurebwaâ€™s report said.
The CIO, like Kurebwa, initially predicted that there could be a run-off after the polls because Mugabe would not get the required majority.
â€œA run-off election would be necessary under the circumstances, pitting Tsvangirai against President Mugabe. Such an event would mass both factions of MDC, Makoniâ€™s supporters, certain sections in Zanu PF, fence-sitters and the politically apathetic against President Mugabe, alongside his external foes,â€ Kurebwa said.
â€œSupport for President Mugabe from his international allies would be expected to be very thin.â€ The CIO also said the same.
The CIO and Kurebwa also agreed that Mugabe and Zanu PF would be in trouble because they would not win the â€œstrategicâ€ Matabeleland vote.
â€œMDC (Mutambara), a key Makoni ally, negate the Zanu PF and MDC (Tsvangirai) desire to control the strategic Matabeleland vote. For Zanu PF, this vote is crucial to prove that the Unity Accord of 1987 is working, while MDC (Tsvangirai) needs Matabeleland to undercut the rival MDC (Mutambara) faction,â€ Kurebwa said. The CIO corroborates this.
â€œAs a spoiler, Makoniâ€™s first role in the presidential election will be to deny both President Mugabe and Tsvangirai at least 50% of valid votes cast on 29 March, thus ensuring a run-off election.â€
Kurebwa said in the hidden executive summary a run-off was looming because â€œthe notion that Zanu PF is dominant in rural areas as opposed to urban areas is more ideal than realâ€.
Kurebwa said there would be serious allegations of vote-rigging if Mugabe won the poll, â€œtriggering political violence, especially in urban areasâ€.
â€œThe key factor will be the prospect for further (and probably more rapid) economic deterioration, rather than the actual conduct of the elections or Zanu PF victory,â€ he said.
â€œA fresh and harsher round of Western political and economic sanctions will probably bring the economy of Zimbabwe to its knees, and seriously undermine government credibility both at home and abroad.â€
By Dumisani Muleya