Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it will release complete election results today for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to verify before the March 29 tabulations are published. But the opposition party has dismissed the commission’s pronouncement. It says the move is a calculated attempt to deflect international pressure brought to bear after the commission withheld results for almost a month since Zimbabweans went to the polls.
The opposition claims it won the presidential election with more than 50 percent of the votes. But President Mugabe’s government rejects the opposition’s claim, saying the ruling ZANU-PF party is preparing for an election run-off since both parties failed to win the presidential vote. From the capital, Harare, opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa tells reporter Peter Clottey that the MDC has no confidence in today’s results.
“Today on a Monday we are certainly looking forward to the statements that have been made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to the effect that they are going to start announcing the results. We hope that they will stick to their word, but what is a bit difficult for us as MDC is that in the past, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has behaved in a very confusing and outrageous manner to the extent that we have no confidence in their behavior. Particularly, when they say certain things they have the habit of indicating left then turning right. So, perhaps what they have done by saying the results are going to be announced today is to try and ward off any international pressure. They will then drag their feet and start pussyfooting until the end of the week or even next week without the results,” Chamisa pointed out.
He said the electoral commission has denied Zimbabweans the right to know the results of the March 29 elections.
“The results have to be known to the people because people know already that Mr. Tsvangirai won because of the local returns at the polling stations. So it is an open secret, but of course they would want official confirmation by ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission),” he said.
Chamisa refused to comment on the call by a United States government official about the opposition leader leading a possible government of national unity.
“We are not in the business of commenting on the views of our international actors. But what we would want is that we want an MDC government that is what the people voted for. They voted for change, they voted for dignity they voted for jobs, they voted for democracy freedom and prosperity. Those things are going to be delivered by the MDC. A new Zimbabwe and a new beginning is only possible under the stewardship and leadership of the MDC,” Chamisa noted.
He described as preposterous calls by agents of the government for a possible election run-off.
“The so-called run-off, run over, run in or run out, whatever run you call it, is not what the Zimbabweans voted for. This regime is so desperate now they are trying to look for tactics, antics and shenanigans to try and subvert the will of the people, and that is not going to be accepted. The will of the people have voted and voted overwhelmingly. They have spoken and spoken eloquently. Their speech is so eloquent and so loud to be heard on the continent and across the whole world that people in Zimbabwe want change,” he said.
Chamisa said it was about time the incumbent president recognizes that the people are no longer supporting his government.
“Mugabe is unpopular, Mugabe has been rejected, and Mugabe is history and should be taken as such. Not for him to try and have a second bite at the cherry by trying to have the so-called run-off when in fact what we know is that they are already beating people, butchering citizens, villagers, grandfathers, the leaders in the rural areas and we want that to be stopped. And the only thing to stop these things is for the international community to come in and tell Mugabe to stake his bags. If he has problems taking them we can help him. So that he is gone so that he sets Zimbabweans free and we become a freer and stable society,” Chamisa noted.