Zimbabwe election officials say that President Robert Mugabe won the presidential election with 61 percent of the vote, compared to 34 percent for challenger Morgan Tsvangirai.
The official state election commission announced results Saturday in which Mugabe Mugabe's ZANU-PF party won 158 of the 210 parliament seats, giving it a two-thirds majority in the legislature that enables it to make amendments to the new constitution and existing laws.
Tsvangirai rejected Mugabe's landslide victory, alleging massive voting fraud and calling for fresh elections. Tsvangirai said he will challenge the results in court.
Tsvangirai told a news conference that his Movement for Democratic Change party will not "participate in any government institutions" to protest what he said was voting fraud. Tsvangirai called for a peaceful response, despite the alleged voting fraud.
Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa challenged Tsvangirai to take his complaints to the courts.
"If anyone is dissatisfied, the courts are there. I invite Tsvangirai to go to court if he has any grounds to justify what he has been saying," Chinamasa said on Friday.
Mugabe's loyalist police set up checkpoints in Harare Saturday, apparently in preparation for any outbreak of protest demonstrations.
African election observers have already generally approved Zimbabwe's voting process, saying the voting was peaceful.
Leaders of the continentwide African Union and the regional Southern African Development Community, or SADC, both urged the losing opposition candidates to exercise restraint over early results indicating a Mugabe lead and, however aggrieved they felt, to turn to legal channels to resolve disputes.
The elections received qualified approval from the African Union, though it said it had some "grave" and "serious" concerns over polling on Wednesday. Regional monitors from southern Africa said while the vote was peaceful, it was too early to pronounce it fair.
Olusegun Obasanjo, head of the African Union mission, said his monitors noted some apparent irregularities but that they did not constitute evidence of systematic tampering. Mugabe's supporters have rejected allegations of rigging and claimed victory, raising fears of a fresh uncertainty in a country long afflicted by division and economic turmoil.
The head of the observer mission for the Southern African Development Community described the election Wednesday as "very free" and "very peaceful," but noted that there were some violations and a full analysis was still under way.
"The question of fairness is broad and you cannot answer it within one day," said Bernard Membe, who is also Tanzania's foreign minister. "And so be sure that within 30 days, through our main report, the question of fairness may come."
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said poll returns showed that 3.9 million voters cast their ballots, a turnout of 61 percent, far higher than in an uncontested referendum on a new constitution in March where no disputed voters' lists were used and only national citizens' identity documents were needed.
Independent election monitors have alleged many people were unable to vote because of disorganized voters' lists and a chaotic program to register electors on those lists in the run-up to polling day.
Observers said a significant number of ballot booklets had missing ballot papers and papers without serial numbers.
They also expressed "great concern" over the high numbers of voters turned away. The late publicity on the location of voting stations just 48 hours before stations opened contributed also to voters failing to cast ballots because they were not at correct polling sites.
President Jacob Zuma, the chief regional mediator on Zimbabwe has challenged Tsvangirai to produce evidence of rigging.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's party has won a two-thirds majority in parliament in this week's elections, officials say.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said that Zanu-PF had won 142 seats in the 210-seat chamber.
Analysts say the result is enough for Zanu-PF to change the constitution. Results in the presidential race have yet to be announced.
Mr Mugabe's main rival has already dismissed the election as "a sham".
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and is running for president against Mr Mugabe, said the vote had been a "huge farce".
A local monitoring group has also said that the poll was "seriously compromised".
However, the two main observer groups have broadly endorsed the election, saying it was free and peaceful
African Union (AU) mission head Olusegun Obasanjo dismissed complaints of fraud, saying the election was fair and free "from the campaigning point of view".
Monitors from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) described the elections as "free and peaceful" but said it was too early to call them fair.
"In democracy we not only vote, not only campaign, but accept the hard facts, particularly the outcome," said SADC mission head Bernard Membe.
The AU assessment sharply contrasted to that of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) - the largest group of domestic monitors with some 7,000 people on the ground.
It said on Thursday that the elections were "seriously compromised", with as many as one million people unable to cast their ballots.
The ZESN said potential voters were much more likely to be turned away from polling stations in urban areas, where support for Mr Tsvangirai is strong, than in President Mugabe's rural strongholds.
The group also alleged significant irregularities before the poll. It said that 99.7% of rural voters were registered on the electoral roll in June compared with only 67.9% of urban voters.
Zanu-PF and the MDC have formed an uneasy coalition government since 2009. That deal ended deadly violence that erupted after a disputed presidential poll the previous year.
Mr Mugabe, 89, is running for a seventh term.
His Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Friday that Zanu-PF was "headed for an unprecedented landslide".
"If anyone is dissatisfied, the courts are there. I invite Tsvangirai to go to court if he has any grounds to justify what he has been saying,'' he told journalists.
Under Zimbabwean law, seven days are set aside for legal challenges with another two days for rulings to be made. After that, the swearing in of a new government takes place.
"Long queues have formed at polling stations in Zimbabwe as people vote in fiercely contested elections which have already been hit by fraud allegations.
President Robert Mugabe, 89, has said he will step down after 33 years in power if he and his Zanu-PF party lose. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused Zanu-PF of doctoring the electoral roll, a charge it has denied. Campaigning for the presidential and parliamentary poll was mostly peaceful.
Zanu-PF and the MDC have shared an uneasy coalition government since 2009 under a deal brokered to end the deadly violence that erupted after a disputed presidential poll the previous year.The government has barred Western observers from monitoring Wednesday's elections, but the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), as well as local organisations, have been accredited. Polls opened at 07:00 local time (05:00 GMT) and are due to close at 17:00 GMT.
The turnout is expected to be high among the 6.4 million people registered to vote, with tens of thousands attending rallies in recent weeks. Results are due within five days. Wednesday has been declared a national holiday to ensure people can vote. Despite this, voters queued for several hours outside polling stations before they opened, reports the BBC's Nomsa Maseko in Harare.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the main domestic monitoring agency, said the vote appeared to be taking place without too many problems, Reuters news agency reports."There are some concerns around long queues, but generally, it's smooth," said its spokesman Thabani Nyoni.
Former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo, who heads a group of African Union monitors, said the elections seemed credible. "It's been quiet, it's been orderly. The first place I called in this morning, they opened prompt at seven o'clock and there haven't been any serious incidents that... would not reflect the will of the people." he told Reuters news agency." - BBC
Mr Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for 33 years and wife Grace (middle) voting
Mr Tsvangirai, casting his ballot in Harare with his wife Elizabeth Macheka
Keynote Speech By Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister At The Investment Conference
Rethinking the Imperatives & Meaning of a Successful Zimbabwean Economy
Arthur G.O. Mutambara,
DPM Republic of Zimbabwe
3rd April 2013
Birchwood Hotel, Boxburg, South Africa
There is need to rethink the imperatives & meaning of a successful Zimbabwean economy. It is critical to understand the nature of Zimbabwe’s investment opportunities. Zimbabwe’s investment value proposition is more than a resource boom. The key growth driver, about 50% of GDP, is now coming from consumer facing industries (retail, ICT, banking, services). Mining and agriculture are important but over-rated. Even in these traditional sectors emphasis is on the potential impact of secondary industries driven by processing and value addition. Zimbabwe must move up the global value chains.
There is also a potential demographic dividend, i.e., converting population into economic leverage through skilled human capital. There are many well trained and competent people in Zimbabwe, and in the Diaspora. The categorical imperatives are talent, ICT, advanced science & technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. While infrastructure (water, energy, transportation, ICT, public works) is a key enabler of the entire economy, it also presents major opportunities to the innovative and risk taking investor. The Zimbabwean Diaspora must learn from other African countries (Ghana, Ethiopia, and Senegal), India, China and Israel that they can be effective sources of remittances; trade, tourism and investment advocacy; knowledge, ideas and frameworks about statecraft and economic strategies. However there should be no taxation without representation! We as the government of Zimbabwe must adequately address the concerns of the diaspora such as voting rights, multiple citizenship, and travel & national documents.
Zimbabwe’s MTP has identified FDI as a critical enabler for economic growth, with SA as a unique source of FDI with a hook into the rest of the BRICS economies. We must create access to financial and technical partnerships in SA. We seek to expose local firms interested in joint ventures with South African companies, while availing opportunities for joint venturing into export and import markets in South Africa. We desire to strengthen banking and broader financial relationships with South Africa. We seek to attract regional & international banks keen to facilitate trade and investment in Zimbabwe.
SA is Zimbabwe’s main trading partner, accounting for more than 60% of Zimbabwe’s international trade volumes. However, there is need to balance imports vs. exports. Zimbabwe should not be a supermarket of SA products. To avoid this; we seek SA investment in Zimbabwean productive industries, in particular manufacturing, and beneficiation. We also seek to export more value added products to SA.
In executing all these investment and trade activities SA and its Corporates must not be driven by a charity disposition. We seek a win-win framework, where the two sister economies benefit. In any case, under globalization regional & continental integration presents the only viable basis for survival. African countries will neither be viable nor vibrant as individual entities. They will thrive as SADC, COMESA, EAC, Magreb or the AU. Scale, size of market, critical mass, and the pulling together of resources are now core elements of economic survival. The same philosophy applies to corporates. You will not succeed as a national company. You must have a regional, continental and global footprint. African success stories which have embraced and demonstrated this new paradigm include; Econet, SAB Miller, SBSA, ABSA, Africa Sun, MTN and ABC.
For nations, globalization demands regional and continental competitiveness rooted in regional and continental attractiveness. SA will not flourish with a dysfunctional Zimbabwe. SA will not thrive with an economically crippled Malawi. SADC countries will swim or sink together. SA will only be a meaningful member of the BRICS if it is there representing SADC and Africa. SA’s metrics, of a GDP of US$408 billion and a population of 51 million people, do NOT qualify it as a legitimate member of the BRICS; when you compare with Brazil (US$2 493bn, 195mn), Russia (US$1 850bn, 143mn), India (US$1 676bn, 1 206mn), and China (US$7 298bn, 1 348mn). The SA numbers are chicken change in comparison with each one of the other BRICS. The collective GDPs and populations of SADC, COMESA and the AU will allow SA to have more leverage and clout in the BRICS, thus benefiting SA, the regional bodies and the entire African continent. This should be the new strategic approach.
Yes there are problems and challenges in Zimbabwe (poor infrastructure, low access to financial services, food security matters, governance, low productivity, low beneficiation), but these must be seen as potential opportunities by discerning and creative entrepreneurs, investors and traders. We need possibility thinking as a new framework. Business players must be possibility thinkers who solve human needs and challenges by viewing them as business opportunities. Every challenge presents an opportunity. We just need to be innovative and creative enough to convert adversity into a business value proposition. Risk aversion underpinned and driven by incompetent risk modeling and over-pricing of risk factors must be discouraged.
Of course, foundational to all this, is the role of the Zimbabwean Government. It has a duty and obligation to create a conducive and enabling economic environment and business climate. In particular, there is need for certainty, predictability, respect for the rule of law, and provision of an enabling policy framework that encourages and facilitates; trade, investment, entrepreneurship, technology uptake; all rooted in regional and continental integration within the context of SADC, COMESA, the AU, the BRICS, and the global economy.
These are some of the issues we must discuss and asses as we rethink the imperatives & meaning of a successful Zimbabwean economy. In doing so we must be driven by 21st century Pan-Africanism rooted in entrepreneurship, science & technology, ICTs, and collective economics. Within this context, no African will be respected or deserve any recognition, unless and until the entire African continent is prosperous. The South Africans must understand this. No Zimbabwean will be respected, or warrant any attention unless and until the Zimbabwean economy is thriving. The Zimbabwean Diaspora must come to terms with this.
The struggle continues, but we shall overcome.
Arthur G.O. Mutambara
DPM, Republic of Zimbabwe
Ni hao, Chinese for “hello,” or ting bu dong, meaning “I hear you, but I don’t understand,” are two expressions one often overhears today in Zimbabwe’s capital. It is one of the results of tenacious efforts by governments, private companies and individuals across Africa, but in Zimbabwe particularly, to learn the Chinese language and understand China’s culture.
Learning Chinese as a second or third language has been a global trend in the last few years. In Africa, the rapid increase of Chinese investments and trade (China is currently the continent’s biggest trading partner) has spurred the trend.
Zimbabwe’s government has been very deliberate in enhancing its bilateral relationship with China. It launched the Look East Policyin 2003to give priority to investors from China, Japan, Singapore and other countries from that region.As a result, trade between China and Zimbabwe has been growing exponentially — China is now the biggest buyer of Zimbabwe’s tobacco.
Although learning Chinese dates back to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle in the late 1960s and 1970s when freedom fighters went to China for military training, the trend has now accelerated significantly, and for different reasons.
To spread the Chinese language and culture, the government of China is utilizing a concept called Confucianism. Confucius was a great Chinese philosopher and educator born in 551 BC. The Chinese believe that his thoughts have tremendously influenced Chinese culture and even had an impact other cultures. Chinese people refer to Confucius as “a greater teacher.”
Zimbabwe leads the rest of the continent in the training of local teachers of Chinese, having integrated the Confucius Institute into the University of Zimbabwe’s academic structures in 2007, as part of an expanding network of about 400 Confucius Institutes worldwide. The programme has largely been successful, and the university is poised to export surplus teachers of Chinese to other countries as well.
Professor Pedzisai Mashiri, the inaugural director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe, says that one of the institute’s goals is to promote the Chinese language and culture in Zimbabwe.
Because the government is yet to integrate Chinese into the national curriculum for primary and secondary schools, schools that host Confucius classes offer the Chinese language as an extra-curricular activity. More than a thousand students have received such language training through the institute since 2009. A few others are completing studies in China and will join the university soon.
A skill that pays
Observers say there has been a rising demand from organizations and individuals seeking to learn Chinese. Clarence Makoni, the founder of the Cendel Language Bridge, a private company that provides translations, interpretation and foreign language instruction, told Africa Renewal that there are huge benefits in learning foreign languages. Chinese, he says, is by far the most sought after.
“If you look at the rate at which the Chinese are coming into this country,” says Mr. Makoni, “you do not need to be a prophet to tell who is going to be the most significant employer in a few years to come. . . . All the people we train are snapped up by companies as soon as they finish their courses, and they are paid very handsomely.”
He adds that the ability to speak another major language besides English is a great selling point in the marketplace. A Chinese-speaking interpreter can rake in a monthly salary of Z$5,000, while a bilingual secretary with the same capabilities can claim up to Z$3,000 — earnings deemed at the top range in Zimbabwe.
Laston Mukaro, a language consultant and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s linguistics department, says that although his job grading has not yet changed, he is now earning much more after learning Chinese.
“It makes sense to learn Chinese now other than for the reason necessitated by the government’s Look East Policy,” he says. “Chinese is one of the United Nation’s official languages and if you look at the way China is expanding into the world, you can do better if you speak their language.”
Mr. Mukaro also earns a lot of money from exchange programmes between China and Zimbabwe. In addition, he frequently consults for the local Confucius Institute. Other benefits include his current work on a handbook for translating between Chinese and Shona, one of Zimbabwe’s main indigenous languages. “For those who travel to and do business with China a lot, and are privileged to tap its diverse tourism, then learning Chinese is practically obligatory and has immense benefits,” he says with enthusiasm.
More expansion ahead
Professor Mashiri says there are plans to open at least five more Chinese teaching points in other parts of the country, and to construct a Confucius Institute building at the University of Zimbabwe. The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe has also promised to build a cultural centre to strengthen cultural cooperation between the two countries.
The world is now a global village, requiring people to understand each other’s culture and languages, says Levi Nyagura, the University of Zimbabwe’s vice-chancellor. “We want to see Zimbabwean students get jobs in China. We will continue to work hard to institutionalize the Chinese language, as we have done with the other major world languages.”
There are also suggestions for introducing Chinese into the national curriculum. “The net effect,” argues Professor Mashiri, “is to have the teaching and learning of Chinese cascade from university to secondary and primary schools.”