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Home | ZimCrisis#38 -- Voters' Roll Irregularities

Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 09:30:04 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#38 -- Voters' Roll Irregularities
Cc: "Australian government":;, "British government":;,
"Canadian government":
;, "South African government":;,
"US government":;, Commonwealth:;, "NG organisations":;, Press:;

Hi everyone,

A report from someone in Harare who has checked the Voters' Roll in his area (at the school I used to attend).


HARARE, June 1, 2000

It's the first day the public can check the Voters' Roll ahead of the elections on June 24-25 and after the usual wild-goose chase where we were sent to 3 different places, we eventually got to look at the Voters' Roll for Harare Central. Amazing thing that -- the ****** family en masse have disappeared from the roll, having been there a mere 3 months ago ahead of the referendum to give the president new powers -- the defeat of which resulted in the orchestrated land invasion onto commercial farms by thousands of "war vets". Other friends were missing while friends who had died around 7-10 years ago, are apparently alive and well. On re-registering, we were told that this was for voting in the election in 2005! In disgust, I phoned local representatives of the BBC, Guardian, Reuters, AFP, Economist, etc ... but I have just phoned by other friends who say while we are not on the Harare Central roll at Avondale Primary, we are on the rolls being shown at Strathaven and Alex Sports Club. That the Voters Roll is in a mess and gives the scope for electoral fraud is nothing new -- this has been known about for ages with about 25 pct of the electorate having died due mainly to AIDS.

No one here is really surprised by this. The fear is that even if the people do vote out Zanu PF legitimately, they will rig the result anyway. It is really the biggest unknown as to who will win. For fear of being beaten up, people say they support Zanu (Harare East's Zanu PF candidate is "Stalin Mau Mau") and the belief is the intimidation will backfire on them when they vote MDC at the polls. But the intimidation in the rural areas is hard to monitor and threats the veterans will plunge the country back into war is what most worries the rural folk. Harassment in the city comes in the form of road blocks on every main road where the Police, who have a lot better things to do, stop motorists and search their boots. Rarely do they stop whites and once more this is where the international press have only started to get it right recently. It is not about land, or the whites, but about a dictator who is politically, morally and economically bankrupt, trying to remain in power. The offer of land is nothing more than a cynical vote-winning exercise that has few people conned. The "war vets" are being used to this end, and there is the added unknown as to how they will behave if Mugabe is defeated because he is their "patron". Ahead of the South African elections there was a similar fear: that the elections would be followed by violence -- fortunately the saintly Nelson Mandela won, unfortunately Mugabe has none of his statesmanship. The fear of instability, violence and reprisals could see some vote in favour of Zanu PF. But while everyone might not be convinced by the MDC opposition, one thing is for sure: people want change and hopefully that is the way they will vote. The 0.5 pct whites are a non-entity in this equation. If the unpopular Zanu PF is returned by whatever means, it will be up to the people to remove them.

After that assessment, those familiar with Harare (temp today 25C with not a cloud in the sky) will be pleased to know that life pretty much goes on as usual. Things are a good deal tougher economically and petrol queues have sprung up again over the past 2 days, but you can still walk down the street with the only people hassling you being the vendors trying to palm off some soapstone carving. There is no open hostility. Same places to go out that have gone through the usual evolution of changing their names and the restaurants are still pretty good. A de facto devaluation has already gone through with the black market operating at Z$50 to the US$ instead of the pegged rate of Z$38. It is expected that the currency will be allowed to fall after the elections. Harare is a bit more rundown with more potholes, which is useful for those trying to improve their defensive driving skills. Half finished government buildings as they have run out of money means that building supplies that always used to be hard to get are freely available. The violence has seen mass cancellations at the tourist resorts... but it only seems bad when you are not there -- at least now you get the places to yourself without the dreadful middle class tourists.

People may be aware of the shooting of a 5th white farmer today, but it is broadly understood to have been a break in. Those murdered before is not the first hand work of the "war vets", but the shady CIO taking out opposition members. I personally witnessed a few "war vets" on Monday at a friend's farm in Centenary, right next to the Communal Lands. Most farmers have tried, as hard as it is, to adopt a sense of humour to the situation which is deeply trying as the "war vets" -- this group all under 40 years except for the leader, a woman -- break every taboo possible -- steal maize, fish the dams, wander around the yard, trying to get a reaction. There are few people who do not agree on the need for land reform, but aside from these land invasions being the work of the CIO, state machinery and not "landless blacks hungry for land", the process of resettlement has been poorly managed in past. Resettled people have no tenure over the land, so they cannot borrow against, there is no technical crop assistance so it quickly falls back to subsistence. People need tenure if a land programme is to work.

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk