Was Mugabe trounced?

I will occasionally update in the comments.

It would appear that, whatever the slow-to-come-in official results say, Mugabe and his party suffered a defeat of major proportions in Saturday’s presidential, legislative, and local elections. From The Independent:

At least nine of Mr Mugabe’s politburo, his inner circle, were out of a job according to official results posted at polling stations in their own constituencies.

As evidence emerged of what appeared to be a landslide for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s electoral commission – Mugabe placemen all – were hiding out in the capital, refusing to release results of the presidential poll.

What nobody could stop were independently verified, lawfully reported parliamentary and senate results as the count finished at each of the 9,000 polling stations nationwide. And the early results were stunning.

Provisional findings, leaked to The Independent last night by a senior source at the electoral commission, indicated that Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change had taken 191 of 210 parliamentary seats, with the remainder split between the ruling Zanu-PF and the smaller MDC faction backing the ruling party defector Simba Makoni.

Were those results to be reflected in the presidential contest, as expected, it would deliver a resounding first round victory to Mr Tsvangirai, ((The presidency is elected by two-round majority, though legislative seats are elected by first past the post.)) a former union leader, and bring down the curtain on the only president Zimbabwe has ever known.

My emphasis. For the moment at least, that there was an election is forgotten, at least if one were to rely on state media.

Throughout the day, state television ignored the most important election since independence in 1980, broadcasting a bizarre mixture of cartoons, church sermons and 1970s football matches.

The entire story is quite worth a read.

See also The Democratic Piece:

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) released a press statement this afternoon with the results of its Sample Based Observation… [that] show opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC in the lead with 49.4% of the vote, coming out ahead of 28-year ruler Robert Mugabe with 41.8%. Simba Makoni, a recent challenger within Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, comes in a distant third with 8.2%.


0 thoughts on “Was Mugabe trounced?

  1. Well, I think his election commissioners are still in the “kitchen.” But their concoction could blow up on the old man.

  2. All Africa has an update on the “cooking” as well as what the opposition parties are claiming was the “real” result:

    President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party are about to announce victory for Mugabe in the parliamentary and presidential elections, according to unofficial results leaked from the ZANU-PF and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, ZEC, command centres.

    It then says that sources within the ZEC say:

    Mugabe clearly lost the election to his opposition rival Morgan Tsvangirai, polling only 20 per cent of the vote. He is also said to trail Simba Makoni who garnered 28 per cent.

    Tsvangirai is said to be leading but just failed to get the requisite 50 per cent plus one vote. According to ZANU-PF sources at the collation centre, ZEC is about to announce that the ruling party won by 111 seats, with some rural constituencies recording huge victories for Mugabe.

  3. Does Mugabe have an escape plan?

    A former New Zealand High Commissioner to Zimbabwe believes Robert Mugabe will have prepared an escape plan if he loses power…

    Chris Laidlaw has been a Commonwealth observer of the previous three elections in Zimbabwe.

    Mr Laidlaw says Mr Mugabe has done everything he can to rig the vote, but there may have been an internal revolt by previously loyal officials.

    He says Mr Mugabe will probably have to leave Zimbabwe.

    Mr Laidlaw says if Mr Mugabe loses, it is not clear who will be in a position to lead Zimbabwe.

    The winner of the election, perhaps?

  4. I would be abandoning the high tradition of pedants everywhere if I did not point out that Mugabe is not the only president Zimbabwe has known. Zimbabwe’s first president was the unfortunate Canaan Banana who was the ceremonial president until 1987 when Mugabe moved from the prime ministership to the presidency.

  5. Latest (early 1 April in Harare) from The Independent:

    Senior figures in Zimbabwe’s opposition were in hiding last night as a tremendous power struggle played out in the wake of weekend elections…

    A cabal of Mr Mugabe’s top aides, including six cabinet ministers, the Vice-President and a former intelligence chief, have lost their “safe” seats already, prompting talk of an opposition landslide…

    Mr Tsvangirai, along with his fellow presidential challenger Simba Makoni, met security chiefs in Harare late on Sunday night, according to unnamed officials close to the meeting. Despite optimism that a deal would be reached involving immunity for Mr Mugabe and a lengthy transition period in which government chiefs would hold on to their jobs, there was no agreement.

    The leaders of the armed forces, police and prison service warned prior to the elections that they would refuse to recognise an opposition victory. With neither Mr Tsvangirai nor Mr Mugabe seen in public since Saturday, the country has been gripped by fear and uncertainty.

    Mr Mugabe had, according to one rumour, left the country, but there has been no independent confirmation of this.

    On the trickle of official results:

    With fewer than 40 of the 210 constituencies announced there were already serious problems emerging. Two constituencies awarded to Zanu-PF contradict results taken from the actual polling stations in those areas and seen by The Independent.

    For the first time this year all results have been published at individual polling stations, so any poll numbers announced centrally that don’t add up will be identifiable. The Mugabe regime insisted on tallying presidential votes at one central location in a bid to circumvent this problem, but photographs of results at individual polling stations have been collected by independent observers and the MDC in case of fraud.

    …The head of the electoral commission is alleged to have attempted to flee the country on Sunday after being given contradictory instructions from the government and generals.

    The article includes a list of the defeated members of Mugabe’s inner circle, including Joyce “Spill Blood” Mujuru.

  6. > ‘six cabinet ministers, the Vice-President… have lost their “safe” seats already’

    I believe Kenya has, or had, a similar system – a “pure” Presidential system except that Ministers (and VP) are required, not forbidden, to hold seats as elected members of the legislature.

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