Repression and Arrests Follow Massive Electoral Fraud in Zimbabwe PDF Print E-mail


Over 1400 MDC election observers and supporters have been arrested in a massive nationwide clamp down, following ZANU-PF’s announcement that they had won the Presidential "elections."


Violence and widespread irregularities were reported throughout Zimbabwe during the 9th – 11th March elections. As many as 15%, (about ½ million) of all those who attempted to vote were turned away from polling stations by ZANU-PF officials, "war veterans" or Youth Brigade militia and prevented from voting.


The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) election observers were prevented from reaching and supervising over 47% of the polling stations by harassment, violence, roadblocks and interference by police and ZANU-PF militia.


The police and army personnel were forced to vote separately from the rest of the population, earlier on, in voting processes which the opposition and independent foreign observers were not only not invited to, but were not even informed of. Reportedly, each soldier or policeman was forced to make his mark next to Mugabe’s name under the supervision of their superior officers.


New citizenship laws and the Electoral Act prevented millions from being registered as voters, including youth who have been unable to obtain identity documents, urban residents who could not provide proof of residence, displaced rural people, Zimbabweans studying or working abroad and those who were born in another country.


The regulations governing the elections were changed five times in the 3 months running up to the elections. The last change was just 3 days before the elections, when the President used his emergency powers to reinstate regulations, which had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court the previous week.

The Marxist President, Robert Mugabe, placed his most trusted military appointees in charge of the entire electoral process. The retired head of his military intelligence, Colonel Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, is the Chairperson of the Electoral Supervisory Commission. Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba is the Chief Elections Officer. ZNA soldiers, ZANU Youth militia and "war veterans" responsible for the 2 year campaign of land invasions, terror and intimidation, were inside virtually every polling station. There are reports of them threatening, hitting or chasing away, from the polling stations, people they recognised as MDC supporters or observers.


NOVASC, a Zimbabwean NGO based in Harare, reported that the election was "deeply flawed and distorted", describing the voters roll as "chaotic." NOVASC documented the following irregularities: the disenfranchisement of voters, the state monopoly of the electronic media (radio and television), the bombing of printing presses of independent newspapers, the widespread violence and harassment "in very province and district" by ZANU’s youth militia and "war veterans"; the inability or unwillingness of the police force to restrain the violence of the ruling party’s supporters; the systematic forcing of sympathisers or supporters of the opposition out of the police, civil service, health, education and local government institutions; the severe limitations on observers; the militarisation of the election process; the deliberate confusion and constant changing of the electoral law and regulations; the prevention of the opposition party from freely campaigning; denying the opposition access to the state-controlled radio and TV; cancelling 80 MDC rallies; the mysterious supplementary voters roll; the reduction of polling stations in the urban areas; the logistical confusion of combining mayoral and city council elections with the presidential elections in Harare; the prevention of opposition monitors from supervising 47% of the polling stations; the partisan interference of the police (uniformed, Police Support Unit and Riot Police) at many polling stations; and allowing illegal political activities by ZANU-PF near the polling stations.


The International Ecumenical Peace Observers from the All Africa Conference of Churches reported that on the 5 issues of Universality, Secrecy, Fairness and Freedom, the elections failed to do justice to any of these principles.


The Churches in Manicaland released the following post-election public statement: "As a result of these serious irregularities, a considerable number of voters in our provinces were unable to vote freely and the integrity of the voting process was greatly undermined. If one views the pre-election period and the days of voting as part of a single overall process, it is clear that the Presidential Election of March 2002 was not conducted in a free and fair environment in the province of Manicaland. Reports from other provinces indicate that what happened in our province was repeated in other areas. From our experience on the ground, we cannot accept the legitimacy of the electoral process and therefore its outcome cannot be free and fair."

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) in their post-election statement said: "We are aware of many incidents of violence and intimidation both before and during the elections and also the uneven playing field as factors that marred the conduct of the election and preclude us from confirming it as free and fair."

Similarly, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference have also rejected the legitimacy of the elections.


Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, the president of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) rejected the election results citing "pre-poll violence and intimidation targeted at the members of opposition parties … unjust laws" which prevented opposition parties from "meaningful electioneering", deliberate moves by the Zimbabwe government to deny thousands of opposition party supporters their right to vote. "We strongly condemn Mr. Mugabe’s law enforcement agencies that are cracking down on the MDC leadership with the intention of annihilating legitimate opposition." The ACDP statement describes Mugabe as an "illegitimate President" who "has reneged on his promises so many times, changed rules to suit his purposes, challenged and over-ruled the courts whenever he felt like it cannot be trusted to bring justice, peace and reconciliation to a strife-torn nation like Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe is a man of lawlessness who does not deserve to be president for another term."

The ACDP then notes that "what the ZANU-PF government did in Zimbabwe, the ANC government could easily repeat here."


Incredibly, the African National Congress expressed their "warm congratulations" to Robert Mugabe for "a convincing majority win." "Indeed, the people of Zimbabwe have spoken and let their will be respected by all." (Cape Times, 14/03/02)


When Sam Motsuenyane, the head of the South African Observer Mission, described the elections as "legitimate" and brushed aside the widespread violence, murder, abduction and torture of observers and massive irregularities – he was jeered by journalists and diplomats alike.

When questioned about the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters, Motsuenyane dismissed it as "an administrative oversight"! Journalists laughed out loud, stood up and walked out in disgust, leaving Motsuenyane visibly flustered. One journalist was heard to say "This makes me sick! While a diplomat said: "I can’t take this anymore!" (Cape Times, 14/03/02)


One Zimbabwean declared: "The South Africans are selling us out. They just want to say everything is fine, so Mbeki can do the same thing next time he has an election." Many accused Mbeki of cowardice.


The Inkatha Freedom Party noted the blatantly biased state media, the disenfranchisement of voters and the pervasive violence by Mugabe’s men. "Yes, he did win, but it was a muddied and a bloody trail to victory."

The Democratic Alliance leader, Tony Leon, said "the election was characterised by fundamental violations and had broken the contract … if we again fail to act … our region will be written off by the developed world … The South African government should align itself on the side of human rights and democracy."

Mthutheyeli Khane was quoted in the Cape Times as saying "Our Observer Mission’s attempt to legitimise an autocratic, corrupt, incompetent and irresponsible dictator does not auger well for our own country and the rest of Africa." Another letter to the editor declared "our politicians are making our country a laughing stock by their complicity in Mugabe’s thuggery."


Economists were quoted as unanimously observing that Mugabe had "rigged the election in broad daylight" and that the results would include a massive reduction of investments in Africa. Mugabe’s brutal and destructive policies "would encourage a pessimistic investment world to stop taking issues of good governance in Africa seriously – with negative repercussions for the entire continent" (Cape Times – 14/03/02).

The fact that the ANC government of South Africa refuses to condemn Mugabe’s racism, terrorism and fraud for what it is, only compounds the problem, chasing even more investors away – just when we need them most. "The economic consequences are incalculable. The lawlessness before polling day, plus the shameless conduct of the poll itself, have sent alarm signals to the international investment community." (Cape Times – 14/03/02).

The left liberal Guardian newspaper in Britain declared: "The whole thing stinks!" The general viewpoint in British newspapers was that South Africa’s support for the "fatally flawed" elections would be the gravestone of NEPAD. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) calls for $64 billion to be invested in Africa a year in return for which African leaders will commit themselves to democracy and stamping out corruption. The official support of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and South Africa’s Mbeki for Mugabe will kill NEPAD, warned the Financial Times.


Supporters of Marxist dictator Robert Mugabe celebrated their "electoral victory" by parading coffins draped with the US flag and pictures of opposition leaders. One coffin clearly threatened the opposition leader (whom most observers agree should have won the election, but for the massive fraud by ZANU): "Tsvangirai is dead!" "We’re going to bury him" declared one ZANU-PF member.


The head of the South African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum team, Botswana’s Duke Lefhoka, cited the widespread violence and irregularities that prevailed to prevent the elections qualifying. The European Union and USA also rejected the legitimacy of the elections. The Commonwealth Observer group issued a scathing condemnation of the Zimbabwe elections, saying that it did not reflect the will of the people.

The Commonwealth report listed series of violations by ZANU’s Youth militia and denounced the systematic campaign of "intimidation which created a climate of fear." New Zealand’s Prime Minister declared that the Commonwealth would not be taken seriously if it failed to take firm action against Zimbabwe. Denmark announced that it would cut its aid to Zimbabwe and close its embassy in Harare. The European Union and the USA is considering tougher sanctions on Mugabe’s regime.


As Mugabe’s CI0 police, soldiers and militia are embarking on a nationwide clamp down of dissent, arresting hundreds of election observers, it is of the utmost importance that you mobilise your Church to pray for the long suffering Christians of Zimbabwe. It is also imperative that you mobilise as much political pressure as possible against the illegitimate government of ZANU-PF and its dictatorial president, Robert Mugabe. Contact your elected representatives to urge strong and decisive action against the Marxist regime in Zimbabwe. Lives are at stake and time is running out.

We also need to mobilise more practical support for Zimbabwean pastors who are under tremendous threat at this time. Those who courageously preached on Biblical principles during the election process are at immediate risk. If you would like to forward any support for our Zimbabwe mission, it will enable us to make a big difference at this volatile time and to save lives.

For more reports and updates on Zimbabwe or write to: Frontline Fellowship, P.O. Box 74, Newlands 7725, Cape Town, South Africa, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

"Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man." Psalm 71:4

Dr. Peter Hammond

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