Suspicion fuelled by company closure

An Israeli company accused of helping rig President Robert Mugabe’s re-election hastily shut down its office in Harare as controversy swirls around its role in the tainted poll.

Nikuv’s office in Avondale was closed down and company representatives were nowhere to be found this week. According to media sources, Nikuv was a key player in Mugabe’s successful plan to win the election by stuffing ballot boxes, creating thousands of phony voter IDs and setting up polling places known only to supporters of his Zanu (PF) party.

The company is said to have issued fake voter registration slips that were used by Mugabe supporters to fraudulently vote.

Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party filed a court motion on Friday asking judges to set aside the result and order a new election. Few give the petition any hope of success, as the judiciary is packed with Mugabe supporters who have repeatedly toed his party’s line.

The petition called Nikuv’s involvement in the election “worrying” and quoted government documents saying the Israeli firm has received $10 million in payments from the government.

Independent election observers say up to one million voters may have been turned away from the polls in the MDC’s urban strongholds while ghost voters were allowed to vote multiple times in rural Zanu (PF) fiefdoms.

Pliant soldiers and national service recruits were also bussed into some areas to bolster Zanu (PF)’s support, critics alleged. The election has drawn condemnation from the US and Britain.

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