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ZANU-PF wins Kadoma mayoral seat

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front won the Kadoma mayoral seat by a slim margin with its candidate Fani Phiri polling 6 886 votes against the Movement for Democratic Change’s Editor Matamisa who won 6 214 votes.

The MDC said the elections were fraudulent because of widescale irregularities on both polling days, including the alleged bussing of voters from outside the town.

This was the first time the MDC had lost a mayoral election in the six races it had fielded candidates, beginning in May 2001.


Full cable:



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Reference ID






2002-08-01 14:33

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001766









E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/30/2012





Classified by Chief of Pol Section Matt Harrington.

Reasons: 1.5 (B) and (D).


1. (c) Summary: ZANU-PF was declared the winner of the July

27-28 Kadoma mayoral election by a slim margin.   The

pre-election period was marred by incidents of sporadic

violence and the mass arrest of prominent Kadoma MDC members

two days before the vote. On the voting days themselves

independent local observers noted that substantial numbers of

individuals from outside of Kadoma were bused into the area

and that many of them joined the lines of voters at polling

stations. MDC officials suspect that these individuals were

allowed to vote even though their names did not appear on the

official voters roll, and the officials criticized the use of

supplementary rolls which were not made available for public

scrutiny. There were sufficient incidents of irregularities

to cast doubt on whether this outcome genuinely reflected the

will of Kadoma’s residents. The MDC has publicly denounced

the results of the election. End Summary






2. (c) Zanu-PF won the Kadoma mayoral election by a slim

margin. ZANU-PF candidate Fani Phiri polled 6,886 votes

compared to 6,214 votes for MDC candidate Editor Matamisa.MDC

Secretary-General, Welshman Ncube publicly declared the



results fraudulent because of what he described as widescale

irregularities on both polling days. This was the first time

the MDC has lost a mayoral election in the six races it has

fielded candidates, beginning in May 2001.





3. (c) On July 29, poloff spoke separately with

representatives from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network

(ZESN) and Silas Matamisa, Chairman of the MDC,s Mashonaland

West chapter, about the Kadoma election. Matamisa noted that

there was sporadic violence in Kadoma in the run-up to the

election. On June 25, suspected ZANU-PF supporters

firebombed the residence of initial MDC mayoral candidate

Daniel Mugomba. On July 22, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai

was forced to cancel his appearance at a rally for Editor

Matamisa in Kadoma when ZANU-PF supporters took over the

rally site and assaulted several MDC members. In the week

preceding the polling, police arrested Kadoma MP Austin

Mapandawana and ten other MDC members at an election rally

that turned violent when ZANU-PF youth attempted to forcibly

disperse the gathering. Mapandawana and the other MDC

members remained in police custody until the Friday before

the election. Matamisa commented that the detentions and

incidents of pre-election violence were aimed at disrupting

the MDC,s ability to successfully mount an election

campaign, and discouraging potential MDC voters from

participating in the voting.





4. (c) Out of 38,739 registered voters, 13,161 cast ballots

in the election, which represents 33.9% of eligible

voters.This compares to the 45.3% of registered voters who

voted in the 2000 parliamentary election in Kadoma,which the

MDC won by 12,049 votes to 5,666. ZESN National Chairman,

Reginald Matchaba Hove, speculated that the relatively low

turn-out could be attributed to the episodes of pre-election

violence and intimidation. The turn-out in Kadoma was

slightly higher, however, than voter participation in other

mayoral elections in the past two years. In the 2001

Bulawayo mayoral race, for example, only 20% of voters

participated, while in the mayoral elections in Masvingo and

Chegutu,between 27% and 28% of registered voters cast

ballots.The 38,739 voters on the roll in the municipality of

Kadoma is remarkably close to the 40,882 voters on the roll

for the much larger district of Kadoma Central in the 2002

presidential election, raising suspicions about possible

inflation of the numbers.


5. (c) While both Matamisa and the ZESN observers agreed that

the turn-out was heaviest on Saturday, the first day of

polling, there were voting irregularities on both polling

days that might well have inflated the number of registered

voters that took part in the election. ZESN observer Prisca

Mukwengi noted that on both days people from as far away as

Chinhoyi (165km) and Sanyati (80km) were bussed into the

area. When ZESN observers questioned these individuals about

what they were doing in the area, they replied that they

&were going shopping8. The observers later saw many of

these individuals blending into the lines outside of the

polling stations.   Matamisa noted that on the polling days

some ZANU-PF supporters were seen with supplementary voters

roll,that had not been made available to his party or the

general public. He surmised that non-Kadoma residents were

able to successfully cast ballots because their names

appeared on these &unofficial8 rolls.





6. (c) There were reports of individuals being turned away

from polling stations during the elections. The ZESN

observers confirmed that a relatively small number of

individuals were denied the opportunity to vote,but,at

present, they could not give exact figures. Mukwengi and

Chiseya noted that most individuals were turned away because

they either could not produce proper identification or they

were not on the official voters roll.





7. (c) ZANU-PF ran a vintage campaign in Kadoma. While the

relative lack of violence on the polling days was

positive,there are many troubling aspects of the election.

The arrest of Mapandawana and other prominent opposition

members in advance of the election was

a clear attempt by the ruling party to hamper the MDC,s

ability to successfully mobilize the vote. In addition, the

presence of significant numbers of non-residents at polling

stations, and the allegations of supplementary voter rolls,

along with the pre-election incidents of violence, raises

doubts that the election results genuinely reflected the will

of Kadoma’s residents. These irregularities also belie

ZANU-PF’s claims that the Kadoma victory marks a fundamental

shift in its fortunes in urban areas. ZANU-PF may have been

declared the winner, but true to form, they muddied the

waters to the extent that the legitimacy of the outcome

remains in doubt.



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