It’s 47 hours after polling closed in Zimbabwe’s 29 March Harmonised Election, and the phrase on everybody’s lips is: Where are the results?
Of course, the longer it takes them to announce, the more suspicious we’re all getting. But whilst it’s 47 hours of suspense, it’s also 47 hours which the MDC has had to compile its own independent tally of results. The MDC has declared victory, but where is its substantiation of this claim? Election results have been posted outside polling stations and Constituency counting centres around the country, so it’s possible to add them up for yourself, if you have the capacity to track them all down, and the patience to add them all up. This is what, it would seem, the Independent Results Centre has been doing. But scratch the surface of their website, and there is a national percentage tally, but no constituency level results to compare with the 39 constituencies for which results have been announced.
In Harare at least, this would be entirely possible – reveal the figures for Harare’s polling stations. One Kubatana subscriber suggested that maybe the MDC was reluctant to pre-empt the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s results, because they government has been very clear that it would view such an act as verging on coup potential.
But at the very least, the MDC should be comparing the ZEC’s announcements with what it has. Not to sound trite about what is, clearly, a massive undertaking. But the ZEC announced the first 6 results at 7 this morning – 11 hours ago. They announced another 12 at noon – 6 hours ago. Where is the MDC’s confirmation – or disputing – of these initial results? Even if their figures tally exactly with ZEC’s the MDC should announce this – doing so would lend credibility down the track if they do want to dispute other constituencies. Surely it’s not illegal to share your take on what the ZEC has announced?
Moreover, if we’re serious about freeing Zimbabwe from dictatorship, some defiance of unjust – or specious – laws is in order? But the Elections Results link on the MDC website still reads “coming soon.”
In some ways, the MDC could use the ZEC’s delay to their advantage – and contest results in areas where they’ve tallied the votes independently. But if they don’t take advantage of this window, it will get slammed shut on their fingers. In a country where mass media is state controlled, how is the MDC letting Zimbabweans know what it makes of ZEC’s results – and what it plans on doing about it?