FORMER South African president Thabo Mbeki, who was in the country this week to facilitate dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, is reading Excelgate, a book by exiled Professor Jonathan Moyo, which details how last year’s contested poll was rigged, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
In startling revelations, Moyo writes in Excelgate that the untampered election results indicated that Chamisa had won the elections by a landslide, garnering 66% of the vote, while Mnangagwa polled “just under 33%”.
Excelgate, whose launch this week in Harare was disrupted by a crowd of suspected Zanu PF hooligans, offers insights into how last year’s election was allegedly manipulated by the military in favour of Mnangagwa. It was published by Sapes Books.
In his foreword, publisher Ibbo Mandaza says the Excelgate scandal arose after a server which was designed to record the results electronically was severed illegally and irregularly.
It was then replaced with an Excel spreadsheet into which data was manually and fraudulently entered.The alleged fraud was “all done at Zec’s (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) National Command centre, which had thereby become a giant polling station.”
Mbeki, who brokered a power-sharing coalition between former president Robert Mugabe and the then MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008 in the aftermath of a disputed vote, is expected back in the country after the Christmas holidays as he prepares the groundwork for another round of talks among Zimbabwe’s political actors.
Mandaza this week told the Independent that Mbeki had been furnished with a copy of Excelgate through Advocate Mojanku Gumbi. A distinguished human rights lawyer and commanding the attention of the former president’s ear, Gumbi, who accompanied Mbeki to Harare, served as Mbeki’s special adviser during his time at the helm.
According to the book, Zec created fictitious “voting data” through an Excel spreadsheet at its command centre.“So, Excelgate amounted to turning Zec’s national command centre into a giant polling station to originate new untraceable and unverifiable voting data to generate a new result through an Excel spreadsheet,” Moyo writes in Excelgate.
Citing practical examples of the elaborate rigging scheme, Moyo noted that in Makoni North, Zec officers were found “completing V11 forms two days after election day.”
Prior to publication of Excelgate, Mandaza told this newspaper that Moyo’s explosive book detailed how the 2018 vote was systematically stolen by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in favour of Mnangagwa.
“It is a comprehensive and important book; a case study, which will add new light and insight mainly into how the electoral processes around the 2018 presidential election were run and the election itself conducted,” Mandaza said on August 22.
“The detailed study, a first of its kind locally, is thoughtful, reflective and insightful; it shows the processes were deeply flawed and the result ultimately manipulated or simply rigged.”
At the hearts of the book, Moyo chronicles how the military effectively hijacked Zec to announce an election result favourable to Mnangagwa.