Zimbabwe’s High Court will today (Tuesday) hear a petition filed by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce the results of the March 29 presidential election. But the electoral commission contends that demands by the ruling ZANU-PF party for a total recount as well as verifying the votes are the cause of the delay in releasing the results.
The MDC said its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the election and that the delay is a calculated plot to deny him a victory. Some political analysts say the delay gives incumbent President Robert Mugabe more time to figure out his next line of action ahead of a possible run-off.
Professor John Makumbe is a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are disappointed over the current confusion about the presidential election.
“It is a very clear argument, which is being made here by ZEC that they are not really subject to a High Court ruling because they are an autonomous body, and that people who have complaints should petition the electoral court. And also the fact that this is a procedural matter, it is likely that they will dismiss the case, and insist that if the MDC wants the matter heard, they can appeal to the Supreme Court,” Makumbe pointed out.
He said the delay is all an attempt to frustrate opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai from being declared winner of the presidential election.
“The whole exercise is really premised on causing more delay. They (government) are doing their best to keep Morgan Tsvangirai from assuming power in Zimbabwe. This is a desperate situation, which the Mugabe government is demonstrating,” he said.
Makumbe said the opposition would be able to determine its next line of action only after the electoral commission releases the presidential election results.
“They (opposition) can only wait until ZEC publishes the results. I think most people in Zimbabwe now believe that Morgan Tsvangirai had an outright win in this election that is why ZANU-PF is pulling every trick that they can find to delay the announcement of the results. And in fact we suspect that they are really trying to manipulate the votes so that it comes out as requiring a run-off when in fact it should be a straight win for Morgan Tsvangirai,” Makumbe noted.
He said incumbent President Mugabe would suffer a humiliating defeat if there were a possible election run-off.
“What is actually likely to happen is that he (Mugabe) will lose by a worse margin now because in the first round candidates at the senate who were all campaigning for him and so he got this 43%. Now, those candidates who campaigned for him have no business campaigning for him. They don’t want to alienate themselves from the electorate, they don’t want to alienate themselves from the MDC, and so they will not be campaigning for him so he will be campaigning virtually all by himself and he is going to have a tougher time getting even half of he attained in the first round,” he said.