Mbeki speaks on Zim polls, ‘chaotic’ land reform


FORMER South African president Thabo Mbeki says MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was wrong to prematurely withdraw his presidential election petition, saying the court challenge would have provided the regional bloc, Sadc, with an opportunity to scrutinise the alleged irregularities.

Everson Mushava

Mbeki made the remarks during a Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute presentation at the University of South Africa in Pretoria last Friday, a day after attending President Robert Mugabe’s inauguration in Harare.

He said Tsvangirai withdrew his petition when Sadc was still to make a determination on the way the elections were conducted although the regional bloc had subtly endorsed the polls as “free and peaceful”.
Mbeki said the regional bloc had wanted to use Tsvangirai’s evidence as a case study for future elections in the region.

“The MDC-T decided to go to court to contest the elections and suddenly they withdrew,” Mbeki said.

“Personally, I was pleased that they submitted the petition. I was pleased that it would give us the opportunity to scrutinise the election. I was disappointed when they withdrew the petition because it denied us the opportunity to do so.”

Mugabe won the polls by 61% votes, but Tsvangirai immediately challenged the poll outcome citing several irregularities.

The MDC-T leader later filed a Constitutional Court application challenging Mugabe’s victory, but withdrew the petition arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had denied him access to the poll material which he wanted to support his case.

“But I later understood why they withdrew the petition. They made various allegations and did not provide the court with written evidence,” Mbeki said.

However, the Constitutional Court prosecuted the petition and dismissed it.

Mbeki also took a swipe at Mugabe’s chaotic land reform programme, saying the Zanu PF leader had “set a bad example which we don’t want any country in Africa to follow”.

“The way the land reform was done offended other players in the world. I told them (Mugabe and Zanu PF), they could not listen; they did what they wanted with their own country. They set a bad example which we don’t want any country in Africa to follow. So they must pay a price. I think this is the reason why, apart from diamonds, there is too much attention on Zimbabwe.” he said.

The former South African leader also blasted the West for refusing to endorse the Zimbabwean polls when Africa had done so, claiming such actions were tantamount to undermining the integrity of Africa.

“Yes, indeed there were problems, but we did not need Washington, Brussels and London to say Africans were wrong in endorsing the elections. I know why the special interest in Zimbabwe, a small country by any standards. Zimbabwe has been on the frontline in calling for Africa to determine its future. It’s high time Zimbabwe should be supported in order to put to an end to that African contempt.”


  1. The biggest evidence of rigging available so far is the itenary of the so MOBILE REGISTRATION TEAM that ended on the 09 July 2013.
    Careful analysis will show you that all schools and wards that voted for Mdc in 2008 were totally excluded from the mobile registration nationwide.

  2. MDC did not have a case so they had to withdraw the case to avoid the rotten egg. They made a lot of unsubstantiated allegation spurious allegation based on hearsay. The courts are guided by hard facts not hearsay. I am absolutely shocked by the standards of lwayers in MDC. You would think that some of them did not even go to higher schools of education.

  3. Shut up Mbeki. You blocked an AU and UN hearing on Zimbabwe with your ‘no crisis’ statement that allowed Mugabe a 5 week result delay to alter poll results

  4. @wellys
    get well mbekis message.
    Mbeki is saying Zimbabwe is a case study for the wrong reasons.
    There is nothing to emulate on Mugabe and indeed there is nothing.

  5. The evidence of rigging is there and the ZEC is sitting on the evidence and refusing with it. The major evidence is the Voters Roll. If everything is above board, why refuse with the voting material.

    ZEC is supposed to be an independent institution. So their voting material should be available to all contesting parties and there is no law that says this material is confidential.

    Refusing with the voting material is tantamount to hiding evidence – its that simple!!

    • Mbeki seems all of a sudden to pretend that he does not know why the MDC-T withdrew the electoral court petition.This kind of academic stupidity makes the rest of the world shun Africa when highly learned people like Mbeki hide behind a finger while the rest of the continent suffers. Mbeki knows only too well that the MDC withdrew the petition because the same judicial system had turned down the other petition to have the electronic electoral roll released to them. That roll was the evidence needed in order to proceed with the petition at the Electoral Court. So, how does Mbeki, a well-educated man, all of a sudden become so blinded,ignorant and irresponsible? And the Sadc did not even invite the MDC leaders to Tanzania to hear their side of the story. Then Mbeki, the mediator, was the first to congratulate Mugabe when he knew only too well that the MDC’s were petitioning the electoral court to challenge the results. What kind of mediator is he who is clearly in a hurry not avoid hearing both side of the story. And how do we expect the West to respect us if we do such ridiculous things to ourselves. If you don’t respect yourself, how do you expect other people to respect you? After all, Mbeki is the architect of the GPA which was all a ZPF document crafted for the pleasure of Mugabe and his party. The little respect I had for Mbeki is totally gone.

    • @ Chenjerai, the same judiciary acquitted Tsvangirai against silly arguments made by ZANU PF to have him locked up, the same judiciary threw out other cases against members of the opposition citing lack of evidence. They are rubbish today only because they threw out Tsvangirai’s silly case with references to fictitious constituencies as advised by Bronnert? It cuts both ways!

  6. The Gukurahundis had calculated that with these elections, Zimbabwe would no longer be an international issue, after the painstaking efforts they put at clean and sophisticated rigging through Nikuv.

    Alas, this was not to be hence the pulpable anger at the MDC and the west. Zim remains very much the agenda, sorry Gukurahundis.

    I pity SADC and the AU, its not over until its over – not unless the fat lady sings!!!

  7. The elections were rigged tichiona.Special voters voted twice as they were not removed from the main roll we used as presiding officers on July 31.In Mutasa Zanu youths after voting were ferried by Benza Brothers buses to vote again in Makoni constituencies.We saw this with our eyes.People whose names did not appear in the roll asked for letters to go and show village heads that they did not vote.Many things happened and Nikuv’s work haaaa that’s not elections.

  8. There is this idea that africa needs to isolate itself from the rest of the world by coming up with its own solutions! Y all this isolation idealism as if we stay in a bubble?? Its a brave new world where all economies are intertwinned so an isolation policy does not bear any fruits. We should work together with the rest if the world.

    Zim situation is a head ache especially wen dealing with the old man and sometimes its tedious that the sadc guts just end up giving up all together and countries like zambia, s.a., moza, have benefitted masively from the chaos that is zimbabwe so for them zhanu in power is more beneficial to them because they know no one wants to do business with zimbabwe.

    Mbeki aleast atauta zvine musoroo on the land reform programme.

    • @obama4eva, Mbeki spoke simple English bt he did not have 2explain to smart or intelligent people why we need to stand on own. He didn’t say we should get undressed and be told by outsiders dat we’re naked. We need to condemn any wrong doing by our leaders. So in this case there were no facts gathered by MDC that could have been used to support their claims in the court. The state of Zimbabwe is known, but then what’s the use of going to court unprepared knowing very well that all odds will be against you. So your world can condemn Zimbabwe but even if they were to bring their own legal team, they would have not been able to make sense of the case without evidence. So matters like these do not need us to seek advice or help where it is unnecessary.

  9. Er — Mr Mbeki it was SADC’S mandate to ensure a free and fair election according to their own guidelines – (not the MDC’s duty!).

    It just clearly show the abbysmal failure of SADC and the AU – and the way THEY subverted the will of the Zimbabwean people. This is the most direct and clear admission so far that SADC did not scrutinize the election and merely “rubber stamped” it.

    Or is this a “no crisis again” – please release the judges report which you are still frantically hiding – surely you have nothing to hide ?

  10. Talk of being wise after the event,so why were you quiet anaMbeki busy pouring in congratulatory messages in bucket loads from all regional leaders.We are more like lab rats for these statesmen,just there for their experiments,and I quote “Mbeki said the regional bloc had wanted to use Tsvangirai’s evidence as a case study for future elections in the region.”

  11. Somebody pliz explain how the rigging was done. Seriously, pliz. Im sick of this. It was u and yo friends that voted for Tsvangirai. Where u voted for him in numbers he won. Where u were outnumbered he lost. He lost many times more than the other guy. Thats how it works. Irregularities on the voters roll have always been found on every election day worldwide. Pple voted once and went home. The queues were long. Pple went in the morning and came back in the evening. U wouldnt have voted twice even if u wanted to and besides, ink. U pushed for these elections. U wanted them coz u expected to win. U didnt. Now get over it. If VaMugabe had said election in 2014 what would u have thought about that? U would have said worst things about him than u saying now. So i challenge u to explain how the rigging was done. As for Mbeki, kuruma achifuridzira. He is wrong about us being a bad example for Africa. We the best. We the brave. We up front. Land reform not chaotic. It was done orderly. I know coz i gat land.

    • Just a few examples: 1) In Uzumba, 21000 ppl voting in 12 hours at 15 polling stations = 30 seconds per voter. Zvakamboitika kupi? It only means there are phantom votes. 2) Final list of polling stations announced 24 hours b4 voting = no time for contesting parties to have their observers accredited = polling stations without party reps, one of which was spotted in a forest in Mt Darwin. 3) Members of a contesting party caught distributing voter registration slips long after registration had closed = unregistered voters being sent to certain constituencies to influence the results. All this constitutes rigging. Voters roll irregularities? The rest of the world attempts to minimise them by publishing the roll in both electronic and hard copies for inspection by voters and contesting parties long before the election, not however in a certain banana republic yekwa muswe wenmbudzi.

  12. SADC’s determination on the way the elections were conducted is independent of Tsvangirai’s election petition whether withdrawn or not! SADC is simply supposed to give us the outcome of what they came do during the election and not to premise their endorsement of the election on the withdrawal of the petition. Whether this is mere reporting or it is what Mbeki said then we are in deep trouble in the continent!

  13. @Real change.
    You are correct. Where i was many town ppl ddnt appear in the roll but funny enough many cud com bek after their names were found in the electronic roll at command centres.

    Also many youths brought fraudulent voter slips with wrong constituency names but were eventually allowed to vote.
    I obsrved close to a hundred of these at a Hre polling station that i named.

    We also observed some policemen whose names were already crossed out as special voters.

    The list is endlesss.

  14. Robert ‘withhold’ Mugabe will never release a shred of evidence.
    In 08 he withheld poll results for a good month
    this year he withheld the voters roll
    plus the poll evidence to prove the rigging.
    Saka zvonzwinyi?

  15. winning an election must mean good governance and prosperity coming to people of Zimbabwe by the winners, LETS WAIT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN 100 DAYS FROM NOW.

    the result will tell you whether election were rigged or not , if prosperity comes elections were not rigged if it does not elections were rigged. the economic indicators are factual and can not be rigged.


  16. So Thabo Mbeki told them your land invasions are a disaster, no African country should emulate this – you will starve. They never listened.

    Earlier on, Nelson Mandela had also told them not to get involved militarily in the DRC in support of Laurent Kabila as this would ruin the Zim economy. They refused to listen, to which Mandela responded by saying you will stop your involvement in that war once your economy is gone and he was proven right.


  17. Mbeki Mbeki Mbeki!..they once told me you are the brightest South African ever, but now I see why you should be tried for crimes against humanity after you denied millions of South Africans access to ARVs,telling them that HIV does not cause AIDS. You are a confused thug, who are you now blaming on Zim elections, is it Tsvangirayi, Mugabe, the west, SADC??? Saying Tsvangirai should not have withdrawn the case,so that you could have done something, yet it was you and SADC who were forcing Tsvangirayi to accept defeat, endorsing Mugabe as SADC vice-chair yet he was not yet official the president and even your report on the election was not out. now you wanted the west to endorse the very same elections you said,yu wanted to sucritinise…man, man, dont take us fools!!

  18. Same mugabe of gukurahundi, im same mugabe of esap, im same mugabe of notorious land invasion, im same mugabe of murambatsvina, im same mugabe of chiadzwa killings, im same mugabe of 2008 killings and wait for more coz i hv sumting big 4 u

  19. Which zimbabwe do you come from. Is there another zimbabwe on Mars maybe. Rigging evidence is everywhere. I know of two harare women who were given new ids and bussed to vote in nyanga.

    • @magame
      u know of two harare women who were given new ids and bussed to nyanga. Fine. I know of two million plus Zimbabweans that woke up on election day and voted for zanupf. We even, right? Coz u know and i also know.

  20. @mukanya. Even a toddler doesnt reason like this. No wonder why u vote mdc. U stupid. Unoiswa mujeri iwe for wasting the courts time if u submit in court yo statement as evidence of rigging. Zvakangofanana nekuti Zim ikahwina friendly ne SA inenge yakakunda Zambia last week asi ikadyiwa inenge yakabirira. So lets wait and see.

  21. Ok, these phantom votes, where do they come from? Who puts them there? Dont pple check the ballot boxes first for anything foul? Polling stations without party reps, why? Why would u have a polling station without yo reps? No time for accreditation wouldnt that go both ways? Which polling stations were without party reps? Can counting of votes take place in the absence of a contesting party rep? What about the other observers? Can u just tell me how many pple would be needed to carry out a rigging of two million votes in twelve hours? Would there be a lot of ,movement, chaos and commotion? Would it be quiet and peaceful as it was? This election was rushed, remember, what did u expect? I could have wanted this election in 2017 but would u have let it? U would have said we afraid of defeat. So we had an election, we all wanted this.

  22. In a military dictatorship you can do anything you want, anybody who believes the election was even close to fair needs to rethink their brain.

  23. Thambo Mbeki is a disgrace.As long as we continue to have useless organisations such as the AU and SADC that support and legitimise evil regimes such as ZanuPf democracy will never prevail in Africa.

  24. Evidence…evidence…evidence. So tsvangison didn’t have evidence? Mbeki; i here SA residents need their land too—- focus on that. It might get worse than zim.

  25. Mbeki you are another confused South African, We in Zimbabwe we had a Land Reform. Chaotic according to you. But you, have Nothing, Nothing not even a chaotic one. Your people live in Plastic shacks ZviMukuku your native word for hen huts. Shame on you. You just condemned Zimbabwean new tobacco farmers because you are afraid to chase away your MDC masters hiding in SA. We know your problem, You want to eat too much. When
    you eat your GMOs you see nothing wrong, hear no pain. you will be in history books as the worst cowards of the human race who let the South Africans down and connived with Apartheid to disfranchise the Majority.

  26. This report is a gross misinterpretation of what Mbeki actually said. It lacks context and attempts to distort the truth. Are you that desperate to have us think as you do Mr Writer.

  27. A response from Mbeki about this article. Statement of the Office of Former President Thabo Mbeki on the recently concluded Zimbabwe elections and the land reform process.

    29 August 2013 – The office of Former President Thabo Mbeki has noted a report (https://newsday.wpengine.com/2013/08/28/mbeki-speaks-zim-polls-chaotic-land-reform/) in yesterday’s edition of Zimbabwe’s newspaper, NewsDay, which attributes certain statements about Zimbabwe to the Former President.

    It alleges that when he addressed a seminar at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI) at the University of South Africa in Tshwane last week, Former President Thabo Mbeki expressed disappointment at:
    (a) The MDC-T’s withdrawal of its court challenge to the election results; and,
    (b) The manner in which the land reform process in Zimbabwe was carried out.

    The NewsDay article is nothing but a mischievous cut and paste job of quotations intended to communicate falsehoods to achieve particular political outcomes.

    It is true that Former President Mbeki expressed the view that Zimbabwe and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a whole would have been well served by verification of the MDC-T’s allegations of electoral irregularities through the courts so that the matter can be laid to rest once and for all.

    With regard to Zimbabwe’s land reform process, Former President Mbeki said that though SADC agreed with the Zimbabwean government about the imperative for land reform, it did not agree with the manner in which the process was carried out. He added that this agreement not withstanding, the land reform process in Zimbabwe has proved successful.

    The fact that SADC, of which South Africa is a member, expressed a contrary opinion to the government of Zimbabwe at the time must surely have come as a shocking surprise to NewsDay, but shocking as this revelation might be to NewsDay, it is no justification to twist and manipulate the truth.

    In the interest of truthful reporting based on sound journalistic ethics, below we attach a transcript of the relevant part of Former President Mbeki’s interaction at the seminar. An audio recording will be placed on the Thabo Mbeki Foundation website in the next 24 hours.


    Many years ago, the leadership in the region engaged the Zimbabwean leadership, that is, President Mugabe and others in a very sustained process to discourage them from the manner in which they were handling the issue of land reform.

    We were saying to them that “yes indeed we agree, the land reform is necessary but the way in which you are handling it is wrong.” We tried very hard.
    We said, all these things about the occupation of the farms by war veterans, all of this is wrong. This is what we said.

    But fortunately the Zimbabweans did not listen to us and went ahead. The consequence of it is that I’ve looked at, at least four books that have been written about the land reform in Zimbabwe. All of them say that in fact the process of land reform in Zimbabwe has given land to 300 000 – 400 000 new land owners. The peasants of Zimbabwe at least own the land of Zimbabwe. The programme succeeded. It has this very direct benefit on these huge numbers of Zimbabweans.

    And so I found it very strange that this intellectual friend of mine that I mentioned earlier on, could say that the MDC would win the elections in the rural areas. They couldn’t have, essentially because they were identified by that rural population as having opposed the land reform…rightly or wrongly.

    I think that it is exactly the manner in which they came at that question of land reform that offended other forces in the world that said this is wrong, we don’t like it. Unlike like us who said well, they’re not listening, they’ve done what they want to do about their country, and we have to accept that.
    These others said they have set a bad example, which we don’t want, everybody else in Africa and the rest of the world to follow. So they must pay the price for setting a bad example – a bad example in the instance of the interests of these other people, and not bad in terms of the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.

    So I think this is part of the reason that there is so much attention globally on a country on the continent, which is actually not particularly important. But it is important because it is setting, in the eyes of some, a bad example, which must be defeated.

    All of us know that the African Union and SADC, among others, deployed large numbers of observers for these elections. The African Union even placed its observers in Zimbabwe at least a month ahead of the elections. I know of no deployment of African observers of this size. Between the AU and SADC, just these two, they had at least 1000 observers in Zimbabwe. I know no instance when the continent has deployed that kind of number. This was because of this concern about Zimbabwe in particular.

    Both observer teams have essentially said the elections were peaceful and everybody agrees with that. They have said that the elections were free, that they represented the opinions of the people of Zimbabwe.

    SADC has said that it will need a bit more time to look at the matter of this fairness of the elections. The reason the SADC observers said that they want to look at this in detail was because, for instance, they need to look at the media coverage of the contending parties to determine whether it was fair and balanced. They may make a determination about that. They also want to look into whether the location of the voting stations were done in such a way that it would ensure equal access – relatively easy access between rural and urban areas. They will make a determination about all of these.

    They were not questioning the credibility of the elections but want to look at this matter about what is meant by fair in order to ensure that, as a continent, when we do indeed conduct elections in future, we’ve got some standards to follow in terms of what would constitute this element of fair, so they decided to leave a residual group in Zimbabwe to look at that question and the AU agreed to join them.

    I am saying one of the strange things is that you have the entire continent, in terms of its credible and legitimate institutions, saying yes indeed there were problems and we are going to detail what those problems were, but these elections represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
    Then you have an alternative voice in Washington, London and Brussels, which says no, you Africans are wrong. I mean, how does that happen?
    Why this absolute contempt for the view of the Africans about themselves? Why? Maybe because the Africans are stupid, the Africans can’t count or something.

    The MDC decided to go to court in Zimbabwe to contest the elections, as you know, and then suddenly withdrew the petition. Personally I was very pleased that they submitted the petition because it would give a possibility to actually look in detail at all the allegations that had been made about what went wrong with the elections. I was quite upset when they said they are withdrawing the petition because it denied us the possibility to really look into these things [the allegations].

    But later I understood why they withdrew. This was because even in their petition they made various allegations and did not submit to the court any documents to substantiate any of the allegations.



  28. The truth has since been ignored by many. Today, they find themselves sitting with burning coal on their laps and are now pointing fingers. RG has used all these tactics since the begging of his reign and you salutated him. What makes you think he will STOP now. The rest of Africa will never do anything to change that, since all our African states lacks the truth and corruption is amid our daily business dealings including Government owned. Who will cast the first stone? NO ONE!!!!

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