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Comment & analysis

Joint Operational Command's strategy for the Presidential run-off poll

Sokwanele

2008-06-25, Issue 384

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/48997

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On the 21st May 2008 the Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT) released a report titled Punishing Dissent, Silencing Citizens: The Zimbabwe Elections 2008. The report made it very clear that ZANU PF had embarked on a systematic programme of retributive violence in response to its electoral defeat on March 29th 2008. The report included an evaluation of the violence up until that point based on interviews with 681 people.

In addition to this, Appendix 3 of the SPT report contained information provided by a key informant who relayed their knowledge about the Joint Operational Command's (JOC) election strategy. Those who have been following events in Zimbabwe closely will see that much of what the source described to SPT has since come to fruition. (Appendix 3 of the report is included at the end of this mailing)

Sokwanele received similar information at the time that confirmed and supported the information that was published in the SPT report.

Our source has recently provided us with more information, this time in relation to JOC's preparations and plans for the Presidential run-off poll. Despite the fact that one of the candidates has withdrawn from the poll, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) states that the Presidential run-off election on June 27 will proceed. We are concerned that JOC's plans and strategies will continue as well.

We are so worried about the information relayed to us that we have decided to make it public in the hope that some of the obvious dangers can be averted. At this point we cannot verify whether what has been outlined to us will happen, all we can say is that our source has provided credible information before now and that much of what has been relayed to us in the past by our source has happened. There is evidence already that some of the strategies outlined below have already been taking place.

On these grounds we believe that this new information presents very real risks to safety and security of the people of Zimbabwe.

We ask that it is read carefully and that people forward the information to all their local media sources to warn of what could possibly happen.

Sokwanele has supplied various other sources with this information too, beyond this mailing

The information, conveying JOC's preparations and plans for the Presidential run-off poll, is as follows:

Zanu PF youths to be in every constituency, working with war vets, CIO, and the police to make sure Tsvangirai does not hold a successful rally. To do everything needed to frustrate his campaign.

Do everything possible to prevent MDC agents being deployed at polling stations. If necessary eliminate MDC polling agents.

All the voters in a ward should surrender their IDs to the village head, and have their names taken down. On the day of voting, the respective village heads should queue outside the polling agent with each member (voter) with a respective number. As much as possible voters shall profess ignorance of the ability to write on his/her own. Agents in the polling stations will be helping voters to mark X where it is necessary and forth with take down the patterns of voting against each individual.

The indoctrination bases are now fully armed, and most are getting logistical support from the army. Weapons held in the Darwendale armouries are to be distributed to the veterans, including bombs and grenades. Some polling stations to be bombed. MDC youths to be implicated and arrested.

War veterans to kill MDC MPs, working together with the Army and the CIO.

In the event that Tsvangirai still wins, the Nigerian scenario to be implemented. Abiola vs Abacha. MPs to be arrested and the electorate silenced. No results to be announced by ZEC in favour of Tsvangirai. All MPs who speak out shall be charged with treason and jailed.

Polling ballot boxes to be stuffed in remote areas by death squads who will be armed. They have been instructed to abduct and kill whoever gets in their way.

The elections to be ward based and the voting pattern of the 18 – 45 age group changed to make sure this group is disturbed. Results from wards to be scrapped, and the only source of information will be the constituency command centre. Life is to be made difficult for those seeking clarification on their names. Every police officer not to attend to names missing from the roll especially using radios.

Governor Gono to finance all the projects, including the buying of weapons.

All strategic points to be heavily guarded.

A lot of rigging to be done especially on postal ballot boxes. All forms of propaganda to be dismantled including the media. No officer shall watch any radio or TV station outside Zimbabwe state news. Each officer to vote in the presence of an intelligence officer.

Zimbabwe Intelligence Corps (ZIC) to provide logistics on the torturing of MDC legislators. All to be silenced. All retired generals to be recalled to national service.

More terror to be unleashed after elections. More people to be claimed, more displacements in the rural areas. Chiweshe to provide the statistics of voting patterns to assist in determining where terror to be unleashed.

MDC agents to be bribed in the rural areas – substantial amounts to be offered.

Information referred to earlier, taken from the Solidarity Peace Trust report 'Punishing Dissent, Silencing Citizens: The Zimbabwe Elections 2008'

Appendix Three: Interview with key informant on election strategy of JOC (see below)

ALL NAMES HAVE BEEN REMOVED IN ORDER TO PROTECT KEY INFORMANTS IN THIS PROVINCE, BUT ARE TO HAND. The interview was conducted on 15 April.

Firstly there was a meeting on XX April at Z Business centre at which the DISPOL (District Police Officer in Charge) B said that there might be a presidential rerun. He told the police to support the government of the day and told them that there would be a full briefing two days later.

APRIL YY MEETING, 10 AM TO NOON.

Attended by the following senior police officers:
Snr Asst Commissioner X
Asst Commissioner Y
Asst Commissioner Z (a war vet)
Asst Commissioner A
All DISPOLs were present, from all the police districts in the province
Attended by Zimbabwe National Army:
Joint Operations Command (JOC) Lt Col B
JOC Lt Col C (on list of 200 officers released last week)
Brig Gen D
Lt Col E
Attended by Prisons Services:
Asst Comm F
Asst Comm G
Attended by CIO:
Cde H - Provincial Intelligence Officer
Cde J - Regional Intelligence Officer
Attended by senior war veterans:
K - Provincial Chair, war vets
All district war vet chairs from the province
Attended by Governor of the province

The meeting was to address the Police Ward Commanders from all wards in the province. The election was ward based, and the run off will be ward based. These officers will be stationed in every ward centre in their own office. The ward commanders will be answerable to a constituency commander.

The constituency commanders are as follows:

All names of police officer commanders and cell phone numbers given for every constituency in the province, with some information on actual schools, offices to which to be deployed

L is the Regulating Authority for the area.

The protocol of command is:

WARD => CONSTITUENCY => PROVINCE => NATIONAL

THE WARD COMMAND CENTRE: STRUCTURE

Stationed in every ward command centre there will be:

Three police officers
One war vet who will be called the Chief Warden: the Chief Warden will be given a police uniform and a temporary force number
The Chief's messenger: he will be chosen from the presiding chief's neighbourhood watch force [this force normally patrols the community and can make citizens' arrests and take people to the chief who will then decide whether the case will be referred up to the police or be dealt with himself under his traditional leadership powers].
THIS INDICATES THAT EVERY WARD WILL FALL UNDER THE CONTROL NOT JUST OF THE POLICE, BUT OF THE WAR VETS ASSOCIATION AND THE TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP STRUCTURES.

There will be small radios in every polling station. At the Ward Command Centre there will be a bigger radio to transmit to the Constituency Centre.

THE BRIEFING: ASST COMMISSIONER M

The elections were completed but they may be rerun because the election was a fraud for the following reasons.

ZEC officials were bribed by the MDC to steal votes from R G Mugabe. ZEC officials have been arrested in several provinces. There will be a recount in 23 constituencies and there may be a recount of all Presidential votes. The presidential votes are now at the provincial centres and would be recounted there if necessary.
[Sec 67A allows for a recount of Parliamentary votes but NOT presidential. Sec 110 which relates to Presidential election does not allow for a recount]
Postal ballots were not counted in some centres
Some ZANU PF agents were chased away from the counting centres and therefore did not observe the count.
Some ZANU PF voters were turned away from the voting
The V11 forms (those posted outside every polling station) were tampered with at the polling stations and figures were changed and falsified outside the polling stations.
MDC paid ZEC to frustrate ZANU PF voters
Illiterate voters were cheated and were forced to vote for MDC T.
There is a need to build TEAMWORK : There should be total cooperation between ZRP, ZNA, war vets and the ZANU PF party members at the ward level to achieve the desired goal in a rerun.

[THIS IMPLIES COMPLETE POLITICISATION OF ZRP AND ZNA, as they are now meant to cooperate fully with ZANU PF structures.]

On run off day, the police should recall all people turned away, including their names, IDs and addresses.

If the country is given away through the ballot, we will not hand over power, but rather go back to the bush and start another war.

BRIGADIER N

He narrated the Traditional Leaders' role. He said democracy is very important but not the way it was introduced into Zimbabwe, where in terms of the Lancaster House Agreement, government could only take land on a willing seller, willing buyer basis until 1989. After 1989, whites started refusing to sell their land and so the problems started. Then in 1999, a political party was started to defend white interests. Do you want to give the farms back to the whites? I know you don't.

If ZANU does not win there will be conflict in the country and that will be black against black. We know the United Nations will send in peace keepers, but people will have died by then and there will be no resurrecting them. So you have to protect the revolution. If we lose through the ballot we will go back to the bush. Democracy is only for the educated.

GOVERNOR O

You have to defend the revolution. If you don't and the revolution is sold through the ballot, we will go back to the bush and fight. Is that what you want to do? I don't think so. There is no day on which this country will be handed over on a silver platter. We can't give power to anyone who has no knowledge of governance and has no support from the local voters but has support from the outside world. More instructions and strategies will be given shortly.

SNR ASST COMMISSIONER P

The role of the Chief Wardens - the war vets in uniform - is to monitor the police officers at ward level. If the vote is lost, it will be the police that have sold out. The exercise is a fast track one to achieve desired goals.

PART OF THE STRATEGY, AS EXPLAINED BY INFORMANT, IS THAT WHEN YOUTHS GO ABOUT BEATING PEOPLE UP, THEY WILL NOT BE ARRESTED. THEY MAY BE REFERRED TO THE CHIEFS VIA THE CHIEF'S MESSENGERS, AND WILL BE DEALT WITH AT WARD LEVEL THUS PREVENTING THE CASES BEING DEALT WITH BY THE POLICE AND OFFICIAL DOCKETS OPENED. THE POLICE WILL BE INTIMIDATED OUT OF MAKING RECORDS AT DISTRICT LEVEL THUS GIVING POLITICAL CRIMES IMPUNITY. THE YOUTHS ARE ALLEGEDLY BEING GEARED UP FOR VIOLENCE.

MEETING WITH THE CHIEFS ONLY:

Addressed by GOVERNOR O, AND ZANU PF MP Q

The chiefs were taken to a side meeting for them only. They were told they had to cooperate with the ruling party and with the team at ward level. They were told further instructions and strategies were to follow. They were told to urge the people to be patient. The results were being delayed so that ZANU PF could prepare and mobilise structures as once the result are released, the run off will have to be within 21 days in terms of the constitutional requirement: ie delaying the result meant delaying the beginning of the 21 day count to the rerun.


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