African business, politics and lifestyle
Zimbabwe: Long wait for the people’s verdict
Certainly votes emerged more quickly after past elections. And in a normal ballot you would expect the emergence of results over time to follow some sort of bell curve — first a few, then a rush that builds to a crescendo before dropping back. From Zimbabwe it has been much more an irregular drip. Could it be that the electoral commission just can’t work any more quickly and the conspiracy theories and rumours flying around are rubbish?
The delay certainly raises questions, but it is less clear why a delay would be needed to rig the vote.
African rulers have not always shied from just declaring the results they want and leaving it at that for another term. Why would President Mugabe need to do it differently? Might it be to encourage Zimbabweans to believe the process was fair? The delay doesn’t seem to be having that effect whether there is rigging or not. If the idea is to let Zimbabweans get tired of the whole process and used to the idea nothing will change? Possibly, but not many pundits had expected the opposition to be declared victors in the first place whereas the trickle of neck-and-neck results may only raise hopes among the opposition. In Kenya, the delayed vote count also fuelled suspicions. As that election showed, when people think they really might have won fairly, it only makes them angrier when they don’t.
Are Zimbabwe’s rulers playing for time? Or what if the electoral commission’s explanation is right — that it’s just more complicated this time with so many elections taking place on the same day? Have your say.