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ZDI Report: MDC Parties Caught Napping in July Elections

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute
A report just released by a local think tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), says alleged vote rigging alone cannot explain the results of the July 31 harmonized elections overwhelmingly won by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

The ZDI says opposition parties were not prepared for the polls, adding lack of resources by the Movement for Democratic Change formations and other political parties also contributed to their poor showing.

The report titled ‘How Can the 2013 Harmonized Elections Results Be Explained?’ says the outcome giving Zanu-PF an outright majority in parliament and local authorities can be explained by a number of factors.

It says though the playing field was not level, the MDC formations would have gained 18 more of the contested seats had they participated in the harmonized elections as a united front.

According to the report, other factors that led to the MDC’s defeat include poor performance of some of their ministers in the inclusive government and corruption by some of their councilors.

For instance, the report says Co-Home Affairs Minister in inclusive government, Theresa Makone, should have used her influence to ensure the voters’ roll was clean and released it to political parties on time.

On the other hand, it says apart from vote buying, misuse of voter registrations slips, favorable state media coverage, Zanu-PF immensely benefitted from its populists policies such as land reform, the controversial indigenisation and economic empowerment and community share ownerships schemes, among others.

Director Ernest Mudzengi of the Media Centre agrees with the ZDI report. He says Zanu-PF candidates had resources while their MDC counterparts did not have enough to use during the campaign.

The report says it’s important for political parties to stay alert and mobilized to advance their cause to capture political power. It adds that the fear factor during the run-up to the polls also contributed to Zanu-PF’s victory.

ZDI says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must strictly adhere to the country’s electoral laws so that no political party is disadvantaged.

Zanu-PF won 160 of the 210 contested seats while the MDC-T got 49 seats. The other seat was won by an independent candidate.

Meanwhile, the shadow minister of Health and Child Welfare, Ruth Labode, told the House of Assembly she is concerned by the health crisis in the country and will Thursday introduce a motion calling on parliament to investigate the sector.

Lawmakers grilled Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa on Thursday over a report attributed to an official in his ministry that government has opened 91 centers to distribute contraceptives, including condoms, to children as young as 10.

Parirenyatwa said there was no such thing, adding his ministry is now investigating the issue. He promised to give a full report to the House of Assembly once investigations have been completed.