Presidential inauguration put off as defeated MDC candidate insists he won polls
By Akpo Ometan
Nelson Chamisa, candidate of the leading opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC finally headed to the courts on Friday to formally protest and challenge the declaration of incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa as winner of the July 30 presidential polls. And there have been immediate consequences.
For one, the planned inauguration of Mnangagwa earlier scheduled for today (Sunday) has been put off. At the same time, reports are that a round of frenetic lobbying is presently ongoing to get the 41-year old lawyer to ‘settle out of court,’ with the United Kingdom being fingered as part of that plot in yet unconfirmed reports.
In a tweet however, Chamisa outlined what he had spoken about with the representative of the UK government, with which Zimbabwe shares historic colonial relations, on Friday:
Just had special call from the UK Minister for Africa, @hbaldwin. We had a great conversation regarding political developments in Zimbabwe.I’m encouraged by the UK government’s insistence on standards for human rights, credible elections and rule of law.
— Nelson Chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) August 10, 2018
At the same time, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has slammed the Mnangagwa government, accusing it of perpetrating a post-election crackdown of its political rivals.
“The ZHRC has established that there is hunting down and harassment of polling agents for independent candidates and opposition political parties,” it said.
Indeed, so bad has the clampdown been that several supporters of the MDC are already being tried by the state even as one other rival candidate to President Mnangagwa in the just concluded polls, Tendai Biti, had fled the country in search of asylum before being arrested and detained.
Responding to news of Biti’s harassment, the EU, US, Canadian and Australian missions to Zimbabwe have collectively urged the authorities to guarantee Biti’s safety and human rights.
The Chamisa Challenge
And reinforcing his claim to victory, Chamisa, who says that he secured 2,674 032 votes compared to Mnangagwa’s 2, 008 639 is refusing to budge, insisting that he has ‘a cause and is equally on course.’
His grounds of appeal include:
1. “ZEC’s failure to follow processes relating to the collation and announcement of the results.” The processes in question are mandatory.
2. “The actual results announced by ZEC are themselves afflicted by gross mathematical errors in a manner which affects their validity.”
Examples cited in respect of point number 1 are:
i. Lack of verification of the results through a failure to make the v23b forms (these show constituency totals) available to Chamisa or his agents. ZEC also announced provincial as opposed to Constituency results. This meant that results were announced without Chamisa’s Agents being afforded an opportunity to verify them.
ii. Lack of verification of the relevant data, with no attempt being done to cross check the data on the V23 and V11 forms with that which was inputted on to ZEC;s servers.
iii. No signing off of results – Chamisa’s agents were denied an opportunity to sign off the results prior to the announcement of the results.
iv. Irregular announcement – related to point number i) in that there was a flagrant breach of the requirement to declare Presidential results based on Constituency returns.
v. A failure to adhere to the requirement for the results to be announced by the Chairperson.
Examples cited in respect of number 2 are:
1. Glaring mathematical errors. ED needs 38 000 votes to go above 50 +1 % but even with reference to ZEC’s own figures, he failed to reach that tally. If it’s shown that he has got a shortfall of at least 38 000 votes then a Presidential runoff is required.
2. Wrong results were announced. A closer inspection of the results even going province by province, following the route used by ZEC, the figure that they announced is different to the actual figure that one would arrive at. The total that Chamisa won is then stated, juxtaposed to ED’s tally but this has been redacted on the copy that I have got.
3. The results announced by ZEC do not actually tally with the actual returns they have.
4. There are discrepancies amounting to 700 000 votes between the total registered voters & the votes announced by ZEC as having been returned in the election. There is also a discrepancy between the figures provided by ZEC on a CD that it has made available with the figures that it announced.
5. There is no tally between individual votes returned in relation to both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in breach of the law. This is further amplified by a reference to the fact that all voters were given 3 ballot papers, 1 for Councillor, 1 for an MP & 1 for a President – which should result in all votes being reconciled, yet ZEC’s results fail to achieve these.
6. In the results announced by ZEC, the Presidential tally was higher in all provinces than the Parliamentary one. Evidence relating to this is then annexed.
7. Differences between V11 and V23 Forms which points to inflation and deflation of figures and evidence clearly showing ZEC altered the data on its own results without the involvement of election agents. Evidence marked H1 & H2 is then annexed confirming this. The margin by which this was carried out is also identified but is redacted on the copy that I have been given. This is tendered as annex H3.
8. There is evidence that ZEC gave some of the contestants results that they did not earn – presumably pursuant to the inflation & deflation referred to above. Evidence relating to this is then referred to.
9. Evidence under “I” showing that more people voted than were registered to do so including in some instances more than 1000 voting at polling stations notwithstanding that the maximum allowed was 1000, which created “ghost voters” which were then allocated to ED.
10. In all instances were the above phenomenon occured, only ED benefited. This is worsened by the fact that ZEC failed to post votes outside more than 21% of the polling stations.
11. There are polling stations were ZEC said there was a 90% turnout and in all those instances ED received 352 897 votes. Evidence to this effect is annexed marked “Ii”, including Affidavits from Experts.
12. No tally between the people who voted at polling stations and the announced results. The example that is cited is Mashonaland Central. ZEC announced the total votes while evidence from Annex J Series shows a different figure which is stated but redacted on the copy that I received. The total number of votes that ED unfairly benefited from is then cited.
13. Its also relied upon that ZEC announced on voting day that at 5:30pm 105 000 people had voted by 5:00pm but the announced results show at least 444 000 people voted meaning that 370 000 people voted in two hours. Evidence relating to this is annexed.
14. Civil servants – Teachers amounting to 40 000 were prevented from voting on the day on account of being on duty away from their polling stations, an issue that had been raised prior to the election, with the conclusion reached being reached that they were disenfranchised because they have always been known to vote for the opposition.
15. Postal Vote – video evidence is relied upon showing an irregular voting process which took place without those voting being made aware.
16. Assisted votes – there was a disproportionately high number of these from certain areas in comparison with the 2013 figure which suggests voter intimidation via SMS.
17. Collation of Results Twice – Annex L1 is tendered showing polling stations being counted twice which created 9035 votes with ED getting a share amounting to 7703 of those.
18. Missing Polling Stations – on voting day 21 of these vanished as set out in Annex L2, with the total number of votes being redacted on the version that I have got.
19. No posted tally at 21% of the Polling Stations, which amounts to more than 2000 polling stations as shown in Annexes L2 & 3.
20. Identical Results – Annex L4 – at various Polling Stations candidates would get the same number of votes which is statistically next to impossible.
21. Percentages not adding up – announced results show a total of 98.4% instead of 100% amongst others.
22. Absence of final voters’ roll.
23. After the fact – ZEC embarked on malpractices which were meant to address anomalies. These included forcing Polling Agents to change v11 Forms, with evidence of this being submitted under the “M Series.”
24. Other violations – these are found under “N Series” relate to mathematical errors which if remedied indicates that Chamisa won the elections, with the figure stated on the heading being given.
Chamisa is therefore seeking that the entire process of the elections be declared invalid and set aside, or that he be declared the winner or that a fresh poll be ordered. He also asks for costs.’
We now wait to see if the appeals process would go on to the end and whether the Zimbabwean courts which had long been under the firm grip of the ruling ZANU-PF would be disposed to his pleas and prayers.
And then there is also the other practical irritant that the ruling ZANU-PF has also cornered for itself the vast majority of seats in the accompanying parliament.
MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa