The "BVR" Voters' Roll is now out and has been given to all and sundry.

Surprisingly, it looks like whatever anomalies have been picked up do not amount to even a thousand in number.

It is not enough to swing an election. The anomalies range from a handful of people who are reputed to be above 100 years old. They do not number more than 100 across the country.

The other anomaly has to do with the residential addresses of voters. Too many people living at one address, apparently, is an issue that has been picked up.

Again, this does not amount to even a thousand people across the country. Within opposition circles, we know for a fact that debate around this raged this last week. Senior Alliance members pointed out that the issue of addresses had nothing to do with ZEC.

The MDC-T, during Tsvangirai's twilight years specifically lobbied and cried foul over the requirement for proof of residence in order to register to vote. They claimed this disenfranchised their supporters. Lodgers, for instance, in the high density suburbs of our cities, do not get utility bills in their names. ZEC relented to the demand from the opposition to accept affidavits.

A Commissioner of Oaths only need write on a piece of paper that one stays at such and such an address, stamp that paper, and ZEC is required to accept that as proof that the person stays where the piece of paper says they stay.

That was one can of worms which the opposition itself opened and what they see now that it is open is not pretty.

But the numbers are too insignificant for this to be the method of rigging.

So, what gives?

We have written elsewhere wondering why, after the bust-up in ZANU PF, reaching the heights of lobbing explosive devices at each other in public, has not resulted in those that previously supposedly rigged not busting the whole gig wide open. Spilling the beans. Singing like canaries.

The point we are about to make was raised with Morgan Tsvangirai in previous years. But it would look like lessons are difficult to learn in opposition circles.

Only now have we seen some in the opposition waking up to the real rigging that takes place every election year. But it may be too late.

You see, the very talk of rigging, the loud noises made by the opposition around this alleged rigging, results in their supporters believing that it is pointless to vote.

And let us not get excited by the more than 5 million people who are registered on the BVR. That number has been constant in most elections. Around 5 million people always register to vote. But in every single election, around 3 million people actually turn up to vote on polling day. The rest do not bother.

Basically, when the opposition talks so convincingly, but without evidence, of rigging, their supporters throw their hands in the air and consider it pointless to show up on the day.

Why bother to vote when your vote is going to negated anyway in an avalanche of rigging that your party appears powerless or too clueless to counter.

Better take the holiday (polling day is a public holiday in Zimbabwe), hang out at the shops or the pub and drink and be merry. Or sleep in. Or catch up on some other chores that had been neglected. It surely is better than wasting time in a queue for something your party tells you is a foregone conclusion.

So often and so loudly has the opposition cried foul, dirty, rotten rigging that their supporters take it as a given that this will happen no matter what.

ZANU PF, meantime, remains remains without a doubt the most deep-seated and organised political force in Zimbabwe. Their agitation is relentless.

It is really true that this party, which has wrought so much grief on the nation, is actually a community and any Zimbabwean who lives in the country knows this to be true. Their organisation, which MDC-T tried to copy, starts at the street level: each street in the urban and rural areas is a cell.

Put several severals together and they form a District. The districts are then grouped together to form the Provinces.

Why then did the MDC-T fail to replicate this organisation.

Simple: incumbency.

ZANU PF controls the levers of power ( political and economic) in the country, along the the Chinese model. The cell meetings they hold, the district and provincial ones, are not just talk-shops to jaw-jaw.


These meetings are the primary tools of dispensing patronage. Residential stands, city council jobs, food aid, farms, farming inputs - all these things are distributed throughout the year through these gatherings.

By the time election time comes, street by street, village by village, people know which side their bread is buttered on.

Of course the MDC can not compete with this.

Their main hope is to agitate the dispossessed and the excluded enough to get them out in huge numbers and overwhelm ZANU PF's inbuilt majority.

Which is what happened in 2008.

Resources had shrunk. ZANU PF could not dispense enough patronage to all its people and some of them rebelled. That was because 2007-2008 was the toughest economic year Zimbabwe has ever experienced. Those of us who where in country at the time remember the complete collapse of a country that angered a nation enough to deliver a defeat to Robert Mugabe.

No year since, including this year, 2018, has come close to what people experienced in 2008.

So, the opposition, through their repeated cries of rigging, repeating the same mistake.

They wonder why ZANU PF has not complained at all about the voters roll, or the decidedly partisan manner of reporting by the independent press.

They mistake this for a ZANU PF that is confident of its rigging prowess.

We disagree. ZANU PF is instead implementing one of the laws of power: never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake.

What ZANU PF is confident of is the organisational prowess that they put in place during the liberation war.

Neighbour polices neighbour in the villages and streets of Zimbabwe: they use their cell structure as their "get out the vote" mechanism. Mrs Gutu rounds up Mrs Chitehwe, Sisi Margaret, Ambuya Machokoto and Sisi Tecla on her street and they walk together to the polling station.

Same with the men.

You do not dare refuse to walk to the polling station with everyone else, because society around you will not be kind to you afterwards.

Meantime, MDC supporters click their tongues on the day of voting, dismiss the whole thing as a charade and most just turn over and go back to sleep.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true rigging.

We can say this confidence because after asking and asking and asking again, no former ZANU PF person, G40, National Patriotic Front, nor the CIOs who were terrorised in November last year, has been able to come forward and say this is how it is done, was done or is normally done.

In America, Republicans  have mastered the art of voter suppression - to suppress the minority voters and others who are likely to vote democratic. In Zimbabwe, however, the opposition goes out of its way every election season to suppress its own vote through this talk of rigging. They have convinced their supporters that, no matter what they do, they are bound to be defeated through rigging.\

And apart from around 1.2million of their supporters across the country, the supporters just give up and don't bother.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is really how the vote is rigged in Zimbabwe every election year.

it looks like this year is not going to be any different.


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