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Alleged Poll Fraud: MDC Alliance Confronted By Narrow Options

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By Amos Maseko

THE opposition MDC Alliance is confronted with ever narrowing options in its ambitious bid to seek the overturn of the July 30 elections citing massive poll fraud by the Zanu PF led government.

History does not favour the opposition either if it comes to poll related disputes.

The Nelson Chamisa led opposition front is adamant Zanu PF manipulated the vote to emerge run away winners while also querying the presidential election result which gave then Zanu PF presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa a 50,8 % victory.

Days ahead of the poll, a militant Chamisa vowed the MDC will not accept any poll outcome that did not place him and his coalition as winners of the harmonised elections.

Civil disobedience

The MDC Alliance lost the election with its followers invading the streets of Harare’s CBD to protest alleged poll theft by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on behalf of Zanu PF.

The state responded harshly with the gunning down of six civilians while over a dozen were injured.

The state backlash has also seen a crackdown on some party supporters linked to Wednesday’s violent protests being arrested and charged for public violence.

MDC Alliance co-principal Tendai Biti is also being sought for an offence related to alleged announcement of results against Zimbabwe’s electoral laws.

The option of civil disobedience may not be the best option under a brutal state.

Local courts

Chamisa has vowed to do everything “legal and constitutional” to have his way in the dispute.

But the option appears hollow given the history of poll related petitions in which the opposition has failed to force the reversal of some of them.

“Court is definitely not an option,” says economic and political commentator Geraldine Sibanda.

“In 2002, 2005, and 2013 the opposition tried the court route and it came to nought.”

The MDC-T was forced to withdraw its court challenge 2013 claiming they were being frustrated at every turn to produce evidence linking Zanu PF to poll fraud.

In some of his comments, Chamisa ruled out the possibility of pursuing court action saying it was a "slippery" path for the opposition. Most local judges are often said to be biased against the opposition on political matters.

International community

While this was an option in 2000, this may not yield results for the opposition which has been abandoned by its traditional international allies over the years.

Britain bankrolled MDC from its formation but seems to have withdrawn as London tries to engage government instead.

After what looked like a free and fair election, the opposition needs to do more to convince the international community indeed Zimbabwean polls were rigged.

Inherent prejudices

The international community is often too quick to accept electoral results and the opposition which will be complaining over the result is often viewed as a bitter loser.

In the case of the July 30 elections, the international community has already sent congratulatory messages to President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa while urging the opposition to accept defeat.

Geraldine Sibanda concludes, “The only option for the MDC Alliance is to reveal their results and provide them to the court of public opinion.

"Once their tallies are out there then there will be no justification for anyone to call upon them to accept defeat, they should let their numbers speak.”

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