Voter intimidation took its toll

The MDC-T election petition cites voter intimidation as one of the irregularities that characterised the July 31
elections with analysts saying that the tactic greatly enhanced Zanu
(PF)’s chances of winning.

Reports of intimidation of known MDC-T supporters
were rife in rural areas where the electorate was forced to go and
cast their votes with the assistance of Zanu (PF) officials.

The Zanu (PF) threat saw MDC-T supporters presenting themselves as
illiterate at polling stations and being assisted
by Zanu (PF) activists who cast a vote in their party’s favour.
Traditional leaders reportedly facilitated the process.

This led to the number of assisted voters being 207,000, 5,9
percent of the total votes cast, according to figures released by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Last week, sources told The Zimbabwean that MDC-T supporters who
defied the order to vote with the assistance of Zanu (PF) officials
had been threatened with unspecified action.

On voting day, ZEC Deputy Chairperson, Joyce Kazembe, expressed
concern over the number of assisted voters countrywide.

The Director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Pedzisayi Ruhanya,
said the issue of intimidation was one of the ways through which Zanu
(PF) rigged the July 31 election.

“The issue of intimidation, particularly in Mashonaland, was
one of the ways in which the election was rigged. There wasn’t
much violence and Zanu (PF) had to resort to using intimidation using
traditional leaders and the army as well as their activists,”
said Ruhanya.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has published a statement
saying intimidation greatly affected the credibility of the

On the day of the election, the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum alleged that
they were inundated with reports of intimidation.

“In all cases, the perpetrators are either Zanu (PF) or military or
traditional leaders linked to Zanu (PF),” said ZEF.

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