As the whole nation is still in shock regarding the outcome of the 2018 harmonised elections as well as congratulatory messages starting to pour in from foreign governments wishing the President-elect a successful term, allow me to explain what really transpired.

Guest column; MKHULULI TSHUMA

Zimbabweans have known that elections have always been stolen. It is the how part that has often eluded them. This article will fill that void and hopefully bring closure to many that are hurting regarding last Monday’s charade.

The script is not different from how the 2013 harmonised elections were also stolen. That is why the mood in the streets right now resembles that which prevailed just after 2013 elections. Only this time there is more gloom and doom. There is no celebration at all even by the purported winners.

The ruling Zanu PF party knows that it no longer has the support of most Zimbabweans even in the countryside. It has, however, devised a system to manufacture votes which will make it appear as though it is still widely supported, especially in rural areas.

With all institutions that run elections captured by a section of the military establishment in the country, it has become easy for them to do as they please. Through this modus operandi, they will determine who makes it to Parliament as well as the ultimate presidency.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) created millions of ghost voters and registered them on the voters’ roll as though they were bona fide voters. That is why all efforts to audit the biometric voters’ roll before the polls were seriously rejected by Zec.

Since the voters’ roll is supposed to be biometric in line with Sadc guidelines on democratic elections, which means it has to have faces of the registered voters, it will not be easy to be transparent and cheat at the same time.

As a result, Zec refused all attempts to force it to be transparent. They hid behind the Electoral Act and conveniently accused anyone asking for transparency of interfering with the body’s constitutional mandate.

An audit of the biometric voters’ roll would reveal that there are people who have been duplicated over 150 to 300 times. These people are captured in different names and ID numbers, but with the same biometric details like face and fingerprints.

Another captured institution, the Registry Department, was responsible for producing these identity documents. Allowing for an audit of the biometric voters’ roll would have blown cover on the rigging.

On election day, about 10 000 of these duplicated people were planted in various constituencies throughout the country in groups of 100s. Remember, they are 100, but appear in that constituency’s voters’ rolls 150 times each.

Together with about 4 000 true registered voters of that constituency for example, the voters rolls of that constituency will contain a cumulative figure of 19 000 people. Zec will supply polling stations enough to serve 19 000 people in that constituency yet there are only 4100 people on the actual ground.

This means it became easy for these individuals to spend the whole day moving from one polling station to the other, voting; until each and every one of them had voted 150 times each. Polling stations would not be overcrowded, thereby aiding the rigging plot.

Forget about the weak indelible ink which was deliberately chosen for its weak qualities. It had to be easily washed away using the right chemical. That’s why they refused that it also be audited before the polls.

So when the results were being announced and a Zanu PF parliamentary candidate has 17 000 votes against the MDC Alliance candidate’s 1 800 or so, the actual votes for the Zanu PF candidate were just 2 000. The 15 000 votes were from this rigging method.

This was done in many constituencies around the country. One lady in rural Midlands told me she saw people whom she could not recognise on election day. “They voted and disappeared and I assumed they were coming from the other village,” she said.

This rigging, done by 10 000 people in various constituencies nationwide, gave the Zanu PF presidential candidate an extra 1,5 million votes as well as ensured that the party easily got a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

At the close of polling, counting of results started at polling stations around the country and the presidential votes were counted first and conveyed to the command centre in Harare. They were immediately collated and shockingly, the Zanu PF presidential candidate had performed dismally.

Even with a cushion of 1,5 million votes, he still failed to beat the MDC Alliance candidate who got an overwhelming thumbs up from Zimbabweans. People in many communities had voted for Zanu PF parliamentarians, but not the Zanu PF presidential candidate. This made him get mainly rigged votes and few actual votes, thereby compromising his presidential victory.

The section of the military running the plot immediately stepped in and stopped Zec from announcing the results, leaving the nation in suspense. The V11 forms from 21% of polling stations had to be withheld and not pasted outside polling stations in contravention of the Electoral Act. The re-rigging of the presidential results began.

Someone tipped the MDC Alliance on this and they immediately convened a Press conference addressed by Tendai Biti urging Zec to release the results and that Nelson Chamisa be sworn in.

A decision was made at Zec to start releasing the parliamentary results which had successfully been rigged the first time so as to discredit the MDC Alliance claims that Chamisa had won, while a way around rigging the presidential election results a second time was being sought.

This worked as the international community took MDC Alliance claims as political posturing when they heard the results being published.

While the rigged parliamentary election results were being announced in batches, the presidential election results were being meticulously re-cooked to ensure Emmerson Mnangagwa came out a clear victor. The announcement of already known parliamentary results in batches was meant to buy time to deny Chamisa the presidency.

When people took to the streets to demonstrate against the grand theft taking place, the section of the military running the rigging that panicked and sent out soldiers into the streets to disperse the crowds. Because of the lapse in command, seven people died as a result of gunshot wounds, while dozens others injured.

The most shocking thing is that most of the international community in the country at this moment has refused to give the opposition MDC Alliance an ear. They have categorised them as sore losers, which has been taken by those running the rigging plot as an endorsement of their nefarious activities.

Mnangagwa knows it very well that he lost this election. The lack of celebrations in Zimbabwe’s cities does not mean that the celebration is in the rural areas. I have visited rural areas in the Midlands. The mood is the same as in cities. There is no celebration there despite a landslide victory for Zanu PF.

People are shocked. Of course, there will be a few Zanu PF supporters who will celebrate here and there, but the general atmosphere around the whole country is that of paralysis. Less than 500 000 Zimbabweans around the whole country voted for Mnangagwa. The 1,5 million ghost voters and a section of the military have imposed him on all of us through cooking up the figures.

That is why there are now serious disparities between votes cast in the presidential election against those cast in the parliamentary and council races, though all were being done simultaneously except in a few constituencies. It now appears as though more people voted in the presidential election than in the parliamentary polls, yet all voters in the whole country were given these two ballots each.

It does not matter how far someone has travelled on a wrong route. It is never too late to turn back. I, therefore, plead with the international community to help the people of Zimbabwe at this trying time.

What has just taken place is a coup on their will and wishes. They know what they want and whom they chose to lead them. All they are asking for is that you help them as they seek to apprehend the thief who is running away with the loot, while some outsiders are clapping hands for him.

I, therefore, appeal to men and women who still have a conscience out there. Please help us. Zimbabwe will be eternally grateful for your help. Do not shut your ears from our cry at this hour of need. That is all we are asking for.

 Mkhululi Tshuma is a Bulawayo-based political researcher. He writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted on mkhululigold@gmail.com