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MDC says Tsvangirai won presidential poll

The Movement for Democratic Change announced on 2 April that its leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the presidential elections with 50.3 percent of the vote.

It said President Robert Mugabe had received 43.8 percent of the vote.

The party also said it had won 114 seats in the House of Assembly. 

Party secretary general Tendai Biti said in the absence of credible Zimbabwe Electoral Commission figures, the MDC served as the parallel market for results.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE266, SITUATION REPORT: A WIN OR A RUNOFF? MDC REVEALS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE266

2008-04-02 17:22

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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O 021722Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2669

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1895

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RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000266

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S DESK OFFICER S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND E. LOKEN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2018

TAGS: PHUM PGOV ZI ASEC

SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: A WIN OR A RUNOFF? MDC REVEALS

ITS RESULTS

 

REF: HARARE 254

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JAMES D. MCGEE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B & D)

 

1. (U) SUMMARY: On April 2, the opposition MDC held a press

conference to announce its final internal vote tabulation

from the March 29 national elections. According to the MDC,

Morgan Tsvangirai, with 50.3 percent of the vote and a 2.4

percent margin of error, beat out President Mugabe, who

received 43.8 percent, results which closely matched figures

from a recent NGO projection. While still claiming

Tsvangirai’s victory as an outright win, the MDC allowed that

 

SIPDIS

they would participate in a runoff, though under protest.

The MDC also claimed a majority in the House of Assembly,

announcing that the opposition would control the new

parliament with 114 seats. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) At an April 2 press conference widely covered by the

international media, opposition MDC Secretary General Tendai

Biti, who opened by joking that in the absence of credible

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) figures, the MDC served

as the parallel market for results, announced the party’s

final internal tabulation of presidential and House of

Assembly contests. Careful not to violate the Electoral Act

by announcing results ahead of the ZEC, Biti reiterated that

the MDC’s totals were based entirely on data posted at

polling sites and closely matched a parallel vote tabulation

projection by the Zimbabwean Electoral Support Network

(ZESN), whose methodology Biti commended. According to Biti,

Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidential race with 50.3 percent

of the vote (placing him over the 50 percent plus one

threshold for a win without a runoff); while President Mugabe

received 43.8 percent and Simba Makoni just 7 percent. The

MDC reported that 2,382,243 Zimbabweans went to the polls and

that the results reflected the will of the people. Biti

noted that the MDC’s favorable election results did not

detract from the fact that the elections were neither “free,

fair, nor credible.”

 

3. (U) In the wake of reports in the government newspaper of

a runoff, Biti stated that while the MDC unequivocally

maintained that Tsvangirai had won the presidential race

outright, the party would contest under protest in a runoff

if deemed necessary by ZEC’s official results. (Note: Under

the current law the runoff must be held within 21 days of the

announcement of the official results.) Biti mocked the

current regime, noting that a runoff would likely increase

the MDC’s margin of victory and embarrass Mugabe. He again

emphasized the MDC’s concern that ZEC had yet to announce its

final tabulation a full three and a half days after the

election. Biti called on ZEC to provide the public with

access to the polling site result forms in order to allow for

verification of the count and chastened the commission for

the delay, calling it “a vacuum where mystery fills in and

leaves Harare filled with conspiracies and

counter-conspiracies.”

 

4. (U) Biti went on to announce tabulations from the

parliamentary House of Assembly races. According to Biti, the

MDC (Tsvangirai) won a plurality of 99 seats, ZANU-PF

received 96, the MDC (Mutambara) won 11 and independent (and

former ZANU-PF MP) Jonathan Moyo retained his seat. Biti

noted that the MDC also expected to win three additional

seats in by-elections in party strongholds where elections

did not take place due to the deaths of candidates. This

would bring the opposition total to 114 of 128 seats,

resulting in control of Parliament. Biti said MDC

tabulations were largely consistent with parliamentary

results released so far by the ZEC, although there were some

 

HARARE 00000266 002 OF 002

 

 

discrepancies.

 

5. (U) Responding to questions by reporters, Biti reiterated

the MDC stance that despite the statements of election

observers the election was not free, fair, or credible. This,

according to Biti, only proved that “even under the most

difficult of conditions, the people’s will prevails.” Biti

also noted that while the SADC negotiations had failed to

result in the establishment of conditions for free elections,

the process had resulted in critical amendments to existing

legislation, especially the new provision to the Electoral

Act that required the posting of results outside polling

stations. Without that change, he noted, &we would not be

here and ZANU would have stolen the election.8

 

6. (C) COMMENT: By announcing its internal results, referring

to the ZESN parallel vote tabulation (Reftel) and declaring

that Tsvangirai was the next president of Zimbabwe, the MDC

hoped to preempt the ruling party and the ZEC from announcing

fraudulent results favoring ZANU-PF. While the MDC clearly

believes Tsvangirai won the election outright, Biti’s remarks

indicate the MDC realizes the best possible scenario is a

runoff. If a runoff is held, expedient coordination of donor

resources and assistance to increase the likelihood of a

credible process will be crucial. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

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