Harare – Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has condemned the Khampepe report on Zimbabwe’s 2002 presidential elections as a “nullity”.
The report, written by then high court judges Sisi Khampepe and Dikgang Moseneke, was released last week after five years’ pursuit though the courts by the Mail & Guardian.
It tells how South African observers in general, and former president Thabo Mbeki in particular, ignored some of the evidence from the run-up to the elections, as well as illegalities on voting days. Mbeki refused to allow the report to be released, as did President Jacob Zuma.
Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe’s information minister, said yesterday that the report should be treated with the “contempt it deserved.
“Bringing a report that is 12 years old in politics is not very useful because as they say a day in politics can be like 1 000 years,” he said.
“One thing that is certain in politics is that events in politics do overtake a lot of opinions… it will be unreasonable for us to waste our time on a report that was written by two people on a nationwide election with over 8 000 polling stations.”
At the time of the 2002 elections many diplomats and journalists who had covered the struggle against apartheid and South Africa’s elections, were astonished by the ANC government’s response to the 2002 polls in Zimbabwe.
Observer group leader Sam Motsoenyane used words like “legitimate” and “credible” to describe the polls as tens of thousands had been denied the vote, and an unknown number born in Zimbabwe were declared foreigners and ineligible to vote because their parents had been born outside the country.
The elections were mostly organised by Zimbabwe National Army personnel. There was no election commission. Scores of MDC rallies were banned, at least 100 mostly MDC supporters and activists were beaten to death, and thousands were assaulted and their families terrorised.
Patricia de Lille, then with the PAC, worked hard and long and spoke out. So did another South African observer, Bobby Godsell. They were ignored.
The MDC later did a credible job of finding out how cheating at the ballot box was done.
It went to court and achieved a ruling to stop the election authorities from destroying ballot boxes and ballots and then won the right to examine about 100 boxes from different constituencies in rural and urban areas.
The MDC election investigative team discovered that at least 20 percent of votes in those boxes it was investigating, were duplicates. In other words, voters, using the same identity number had voted more then once but in different constituencies.
Using those figures it was reasonably able to extrapolate, according to auditors hired by the MDC to examine its findings, that Robert Mugabe achieved about 400 000 illegal votes.
That indicated that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the presidential election with a narrow majority of about 70 000 votes.
The case was never adjudicated by the court because of many delays and objections. The MDC abandoned its case on the 2002 poll results challenge when the general election was about to take place in 2005. It eventually produced a 106-page report which has never been published.
The double voting in 2002 was apart from many other electoral illegalities or lack of fairness, some of which are covered by the Khampepe report.
When the MDC went to court, it won an extra day’s voting, but even that did not accommodate the queues and some Harare polling stations never reopened on the third day.
But the South African observer team was mostly unconcerned.
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