Opposition Retains House Of Assembly

Four weeks to the day after Zimbabwe queued to vote in the 29 March 2008 elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission have finally confirmed their original results, and that was that Zanu PF has lost its majority in the House of Parliament for the first time in 28 years.


Prior to the recount, ZEC announced that 99 seats had been won by the MDC MT, 97 seats were won by Zanu PF, 10 went to MDC AM, and 1 to Jonothan Moyo who stood as an Independent.

To win a majority, Zanu PF would have needed to win 106 seats – so they needed to win an additional 9 seats in the recounts to transform their earlier loss to a majority.

Zanu PF hoped to reverse 9 out of the 16 opposition seats that were included in the 23 recounts (7 seats that were being recounted were already Zanu PF seats).

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission have now announced enough results (18 out of 23), all showing no change from the original count, to enable us to confirm that the opposition parties have retained their majority.

We do not yet know the final counts for the other 7 seats, but we can confirm that there has been no change.

ZEC commission chairman George Chiweshe said:

“Unfortunately I do not have specific figures for each of the 18 recounted constituencies. But in as far as I know no major changes have taken place so far.”

The results of 10 constituencies below were published in the Herald:

Zanu PF retained: Chiredzi North, Mberengwa South, Zvimba North and Goromonzi West
MDC MT retained: Gutu Central, Gutu North, Gutu South, Buhera South, and Zaka West
MDC AM retained: Lupane East

The results of 18 out of 23 seats have been declared and the original results are confirmed by ZEC.

This means that there are 5 seats still to be declared. So even if Zanu PF won the remaining 5, they would still be short of a clear majority.

This of course assumes them overcoming likely opposition wins in the by-elections of Redcliff, Gwanda South, and Pelandaba/Mpopoma (Bulawayo).

Below are some of the events that have been happening during the re-counting process. This information has been emailed to Sokwanele, and we have reproduced it as per the email sent to us.

MIDLANDS

There was violence on 19 April at Mkoba Teachers’ College when Zanu Pf polling agents chased away MDC polling agents and beat them using logs, machetes and barbed wire accusing them of selling out.

Close to 30 polling agents ran away, some went to Honorable Chibaya’s place for security. The police was notified, but no action was taken.

Ballot boxes in Bikita South, Bikita West, Zaka South, Zhombe and Silobela were all open and seals broken.

1. Silobela

5 presiding officers did not show up on 20th April and hence the process was suspended for the day.
On 19th April Zanu PF candidates were refusing the recount and brought in their lawyers

2. Mberengwa East

16 out of the 29 polling stations were completed on 22nd April and no changes in results were noted.

3. Mberengwa North

On 20 April results at Shauro Primary School had been recounted. There was however a discrepancy of 5 ballot papers which did not tally with the protocol registered or the voters roll.

Counting at Mberengwa North Ward 2 was stopped around 14:00hrs, 20th April, because the protocol register and the voters roll for that Ward were missing yet the presiding officer had confirmed they sealed the ballot box with those documents inside.

4. Mberengwa West

Counting could not start on 19th April as the protocol register was missing in the ballot box, ZEC spent the whole day looking for them at Senga and Chaplin Command Centre.

One ballot box for Ward 8 had already been opened.

By end of day 22nd April, 10 polling stations had been completed and there was no change in the results.

5. Mberengwa South (No Change)

3 polling stations had results recounted on the 19 April.
22nd April by 20:00hrs 26 polling stations had been completed and no changes in results were noted except for one or two misplaced votes.

6. Zhombe

There was no recount done on the 19th as the Zanu Pf candidate refused to proceed arguing that Zanu Pf polling agents were not available. They brought their lawyers to stop the recount.

7. Gokwe Kabuyuni

One polling station had its results recounted on 19th April.

MASVINGO

8. Masvingo Central

As of 19th April only 1 box had been counted at Chikara Primary polling station in Ward 18.
One signature was missing from the form of secrecy.

The ballot box for presidential results had no seal at all, a polling officer confirmed that there had been a seal before.

Both presidential and parliamentary ballot boxes had no cereal numbers and were not sealed.

By 13:00hrs 19th April no counting had been done because there was no letter of complaint, 3 presiding officers were missing , the duty roaster for the 4 police officers who were guarding the ballot boxes and it is alleged that some ballot boxes were missing.

9. Zaka West (No Change)

By 13:26hrs 19th April the presidential results at Saraume Polling Station had been counted and they were the same as before.

20th April as of 17:30hrs 14 polling stations had been counted and 8 left .There was a ZEC official from Harare citing that MDC agents are too many, making noise and disrespectful.

Recounting in all polling stations was completed on 21st April and no major changes were noted in the results.

After winning the victory of MP Hon. Festus Dumbu after the recount, Basopo Senze who is the shadow councillor for Ward 29 was beaten up by Zanu PF thugs and taken to Chivamba ZRP base camp. The names of the actual perpetrators are still to be established.

Gutu

The losing Zanu PF Senate candidate for Gutu constituency General Vitalis Zvinavashe has blamed President Robert Mugabe for the party’s poor showing in Masvingo Province after a recount of ballots in his constituency failed to change the party’s fortunes.

Zvinavashe said:

“There is no need to fight over these results. We must accept the reality that we have lost these elections to the MDC. What is important is to live together in peace, both losers and winners. We do not want violence in this area. We are relatives.”

The former Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief startled election officials and agents when he publicly suggested that Zanu PF candidates in Masvingo had lost because of the party’s presidential candidate President Robert Mugabe.

He said:

“Most of us lost these elections not because we are not popular in our constituencies. We lost these harmonised elections because of one man.”

“People rejected us because we were campaigning for Mugabe. People in Masvingo have rejected him and we became collateral damage. There is no reason to fight with the MDC over this election. The real problem is that man not us.”

10. Gutu North (No Change)

Recounting in all polling stations was completed by end of day 22 April and the results had not changed.

11. Gutu West

In Ward 6 there were no V11 forms in all boxes as of the 21st of April.

12. Gutu South (No Change)

At 15:49hrs 19/04/08 there was still no counting in Ward 25 as they were still going through the voters roll at Shenjere, Hambakwe, Kufonya and Cheninga Primary Schools and Cheninga High School.

13. Gutu Central (No Change)

19th April at 11:00hrs recount had been temporarily stopped because Zanu pf was causing disturbances.

14. Bikita West

On 19th April Ward 23 polling stations closed at 20:00hrs as there was not enough light. The boxes did not appear to have been tempered with.
20 April At 1300hrs 2 polling stations in Ward 30 had been counted

15. Chiredzi North (No Change)

21st April, 163 extra presidential ballots could not be accounted for at Ruware polling station.
2 ballot boxes had unlocked keys at Dombo primary. Unused ballot material was brought to the polling station. The V11 forms tally with the recount. The process is however slow.

End of day 22nd April 58 polling stations had been completed and 9 remain for the process to be completed.

2 ZEC officials were arrested on the 22nd of April as there were 153 votes that could not be accounted for.

Election residue was not in the box for 3 polling stations in the constituency and in one instance the presiding officer was seen smuggling in the residues.

Some ballot boxes were not locked and in one instance the seal was broken although results did not appear to have been tempered with. Voting slips were also found among the election residues.

MASHONALAND WEST

16. Zvimba North (No Change)

By 15:00hrs 19th April, 4 polling stations had been counted and there were only slight differences in the results e.g. 1 or 2 votes. There were however no checklist forms.

20th April, at Manga polling station the ballot boxes’ seals for presidential and House of Assembly were visibly broken. There were no V11 forms from the previous count.

At Vilawa Polling station the ballot books were out of the ballot box. The signed V11 forms and results were fine.

At Mafuta Farmhouse Polling station the ballot books for presidential and House of Assembly were missing but there were two other ballot books in the box from another polling station. The recounted results were however the same as the previous results.

At Inkari settlement polling station there was no problem with the results but an unused ballot book was missing.

At Chininga Primary the V11 forms and an unused ballot book were missing.

By 19:00hrs 21st April 30 polling stations had been counted.

At the end of the day 22nd April 11 polling stations were left for the recount to be completed in the constituency.

MASHONALAND EAST

17. Marondera West

Minister Amos Mutinhiri with soldiers Chemi, Chitimbire and Chifaka, War vets and Zanu PF youths are said to be beating up MDC supporters in the area.

18.Goromonzi West (No Change)

19th April, candidates had requested Presidential and Parliamentary results only but ZEC went on to recount even the Senatorial and Council votes and despite not being recognized by Electoral law.

Election residue (unused ballot papers and stubs) were scattered all over making it difficult to identify which ones belonged to which polling station. The Electoral Act requires orderly safe keep of all election.

In Ward 4 at Zimburi primary polling station the ballot boxes did not have any side straps and there were no signatures of the polling agents on the seals clearly showing the boxes had been tempered with.

In Ward 6 at Glen Forest some V11 forms were missing. Previously Morgan Tsvangirai had 140 votes but after recount his votes had been reduced by only one vote which was rejected increasing the number of rejected ballot papers to six from five.

The reason for rejection was said it was because when the voter was putting an X on Morgan Tsvangirai’s name some of the voting ink went on Robert Mugabe’s name.

Recounting in all polling stations was completed by end of day on the 22nd of April.

MATEBELELAND NORTH

19. Lupane East (No Change)

By end of day 22 April there still was no feedback from Lupane East.

MATEBELELAND SOUTH

20. Bulilima East

19th April, Votes in Ward 19 and 5 had been done by 10 am. The number of total votes did not tally with the voters roll. In Ward 5 the number of total votes was 211 and yet the voters roll showed that only 191 people had voted.

Number of total votes did not tally with voters roll voting with slips.

MANICALAND

21. Mutare West

19 April Recounting has started and so far the recounted results are tallying with the previous ones.
22 April, This is one of highest minimal marginal constituency won by the MDC with only more than 20 votes of the HOA seat. By 11 am 4 out of 12 Wards were completed, and an MDC had gained 3 votes.

Because of the small margin the process is said to be generally slow, smooth and thorough.

22. Chimanimani West

As of 21st April recounting is still to be finished in the first Ward but so far the numbers are in order although five votes that had been given to the Zanu PF candidate are now in Kore’s (Mdc) favour.

22nd April Three Wards were completed, figures produced on recount were more or less similar to the initial results of the 29th of March 2008, overall by 10am today MDC had gained 5 votes against 0 for Zanu PF .

And there is generally a high level of state security presence within the vicinity of the Constituency Command Centre.

23. Buhera South (No Change)

21st April, there is 1 polling station still to have its results recounted to complete the first Ward. There has been a misplacement of ballot paper for presidential but it has not affected the final results.

By midday 22 April 20 out of 47 polling stations from 4 Wards were completed.

After a thorough check on the voters rolls, it was noted that the 4 postal votes rejected by the Constituency Elections Officer on the initial counting on the basis that they by passed the Ward collating centre, belonged to the Zanu PF neighbourhood watch committee members who had already participated on the ordinary voting of the 29th of March 2008.

The process went on smoothly resulting in the detection of the writing error of additional 100 votes for the MDC HOA candidate.

We note with concern that this kind of strategy could have been employed in a number of marginal constituencies to swing the total vote count in favour of ZPF.

 

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