Zimbabwe: Analysts dismiss chances of free and fair election

source: SW Radio Africa

By Lance Guma
27 March 2008

This Saturday marks a defining moment in Zimbabwe’s history as millions are expected to turn up at the polling stations to cast their votes. But a growing number of analysts have said the chances of a free and fair poll are slim. Many obstacles have been put in front of the opposition and the arrest of a pilot meant to ferry Morgan Tsvangirai to several rural rallies this week served as a good example of the uneven electoral field. The MDC leader had to cancel his rallies, much to the disappointment of waiting supporters. Meanwhile Robert Mugabe’s trips to rural areas using three air force helicopters went ahead as scheduled.

Serious concerns also remain over the use of postal ballots by members of the security forces. Conflicting reports say only 20 000 required their use and yet 75 000 actually voted, not just once but several times. Then information leaked to the opposition suggests the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission ordered Fidelity Printers to print 600 000 postal ballots. Given that Robert Mugabe beat Tsvangirai by about 400 000 votes in the controversial 2002 presidential election, the math is not lost on many analysts. Even worse are accusations that 9 million ballot papers have been printed, when the number of registered voters is officially 5,9 million. Little wonder the MDC say they [continue reading]

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