How Mugabe plans to rig election

Millions of ballot papers to be used in this Saturday's combined parliamentary and presidential elections have allegedly been printed in duplicate, to make it almost impossible to detect any rigging reports Tichaona Sibanda for SWRadio, London.

An employee for Fidelity printers, contracted by the Zimbabwe Election Commission to print the ballot papers, leaked the vital information to Newsreel through a third party.

This also confirms allegations by the Tsvangirai MDC that the Zimbabwe Election Commission have printed an extra three million ballots for the country’s 5,9 million registered voters.

We learnt from Michael Musarurwa (not his real name) who has a close contact working for Fidelity Printers, that employees there are being ordered to covertly print extra ballots.

‘The moment employees at Fidelity printers started getting orders to print extra ballots using the same serial numbers, they knew immediately they were meant for rigging. Workers there were unanimous to let the world know this is what is happening,’ Musarurwa said.

There is strong suspicion the duplicate ballot papers are to be sent to rural constituencies and outlying areas in Zanu-PF strongholds, where opposition-polling agents are usually barred from the polling stations.

According to Musarurwa by printing the ballots in duplicate it is easy for the state to destroy the actual ballots used during the voting process and replace them with the other batch, whose serial numbers match the counterfoils that remain with election officials.

‘For example, my contact tells me if you have two batches with 10 000 ballot papers, what they simply do is use one batch for the actual voting. When its clear Zanu-PF has lost they simply destroy 8000 out of the 10 000 ballot papers and stuff the boxes with the exact number of ballots from the other batch. Remember the ballots have the same serial numbers that tally with counterfoils,’ Musarurwa explained.

He added; ‘the issue of extra ballots should be addressed by the opposition because this is what Robert Mugabe had up his sleeve. He has been telling his supporters Zanu-PF was going to crush the MDC at the polls and this is how he was going to do it, through rigging.’

The MDC last week had accused the government of printing millions of surplus ballot papers for the presidential and legislative polls. They say leaked documents show nine million papers have been ordered for the country’s 5.9 million voters.

The head of the electoral commission, Judge George Chiweshe, has rejected suggestions that the extra papers might be misused. In effect he admitted to the existence of the extra ballot papers, but would not elaborate.
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti said the claims of excess ballot papers were based on leaked documents from the government printers.

The MDC also say that 600,000 postal ballots have been ordered for just a few thousand police, soldiers and civil servants. This raised more questions of rigging after the electoral commission confirmed last week that only 8 000 postal ballots had been requested by voters. Officially soldiers and police officers started voting Saturday, but the MDC allege that unofficially the exercise has been ongoing since the beginning of March.

Last week, we reported that over 75 000 postal votes had already been cast by police officers and soldiers. In Mutare soldiers were ordered to write down their force numbers at the back of the ballot paper, while in Bulawayo police officers voted numerous times in contravention of the election rules.


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