New messaging service to help monitor presidential poll results

A new project that encourages Zimbabweans to do their bit to ensure that presidential election results are not manipulated on July 31st has been launched.

The purpose of the campaign – named Simukai Protect Your Vote – is “to place the results of the Presidential campaign in the public domain in real time,” according to rights group Sokwanele.

The process involves three steps, with Sokwanele urging voters to check and note the identity number of the polling station at which they intend to cast their vote.

“After you have voted remain at the polling station until voting is complete. Once the results are posted outside the station, as is legally required, you can claim your power by sending an SMS of the results of the presidential election to one of the numbers: +27 713 563 219 or +27 713 562 087.”

The format for the SMS should be the ID number for the polling station, followed by the number of votes won by Morgan Tsvangirai and the number of votes won by Robert Mugabe: ID _ _ _ _ MT _ _ _ _ RM _ _ _ _.

There should be no spaces and there must be 18 characters, the group says. More details are available on the group’s website

In 2008 Zimbabweans waited five weeks before the results of the disputed presidential election were announced, which many believe was won by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Speaking to SW radio Africa about the Simukai campaign, Nixon Nyikadzino of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said: “This is a noble campaign which Zimbabweans should support by going to vote for their chosen candidates.

“Secondly, it is important for every voter to know whether their vote has translated into their aspirations. That can be achieved by waiting to see the total number of ballots cast as well the number of votes cast for each candidate,” Nyikadzino said.

He added: “Waiting at the polling station is also important in terms of building a critical mass that can speak out against any possible manipulation of the results.

“Over the years it has become clear that Zimbabweans cannot trust Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede to announce credible results.”

In June, Crisis in Zimbabwe launched its popular Feya Feya campaign aimed at encouraging Zimbabweans to go and vote, and also to call for free and fair elections.

“Our Feya Feya Defend Your Vote’ campaign complements the ‘Simukai’ project in that we are all calling for people to actually go and vote and be vigilant to possible theft of the election result.

“So already we are mobilising citizens who will not wait for Mudede to announce the result but will demand the release of those results, and reject that result if it is manipulated, and does not reflect the voting patterns,” said Nyikadzino. – SW Radio Africa

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