MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa does not have data from a fifth of the nearly 11,000 polling stations used in the July 30 election, his spokesman said on Monday, as the opposition group prepares to challenge the results in court.
Chamisa has rejected his 51%-44% defeat by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has seven days, from the result declaration last Friday, to mount his legal challenge.
Addressing a press conference in Harare, Chamisa’s spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda said the opposition leader has assembled a legal team for the Constitutional Court battle, whose details he will present on Tuesday.
Pressed by journalists, Sibanda conceded that Chamisa’s polling agents had not managed to collect all the data on polling day.
“The underlying question is whether or not we were able to collect sufficient data to be able to make the verification. Yes, we were able to do that, save for the 21% that ZEC refused to give us,” Sibanda said.
“ZEC refused to give V11 forms to about 21% of our agents, literally, but even if you put that aside and look at the trajectory, where we are at with the 79%, we clearly won that election. Even if you had given 100% of the 21% of the polling stations to the other side, the trajectory was such that we were going to win.”
Sibanda’s remarks appear to contradict Chamisa’s declaration, made before the results were announced, that his campaign had collected data from all the constituencies across the country.
“We have the proof, you go to the constituency. We have 210 MPs, they all collected results which are part of the national tally. We will show you, once ZEC starts to show you fiction,”Chamisa told reporters on Thursday, hours before ZEC made the official announcement.
Following the declaration of Mnangagwa as winner in the early hours of Friday, Chamisa repeated his claim at another press conference.
“Just yesterday, our offices were invaded, we don’t know for what reason, of course they wanted to take some information. The reason why they want to take information from us is that they want to try and destroy the evidence that we have in terms of our parallel voter tabulation, which we have collected across the whole country,” he said.
“We know the results, we did the tallying, our MPs know the results, our agents know the results. Our collated results indicated that we won significantly. We actually have a majority vote of over 2.3 million ahead of Mnangagwa. It is actually Mnangagwa who did not reach the 2 million mark, as we will then show. Our percentage was actually 56%, by the evidence they have, their tally was almost 44% and we are very clear that if they are challenging the veracity of our report, let’s go to the tallying, let’s go to the v11 forms because these results were announced at constituency level.”
On Sunday, party chair Morgen Komichi told the weekly Standard newspaper that the MDC Alliance had agents at every polling station. He said talk that the MDC Alliance had failed to field agents at many polling stations was “social media speculation written by the CIOs” to confuse voters. “We had polling agents at every polling station, where we did not have local polling agents we hired people from Harare to areas like UMP. Our own people brought those V11 forms,” Komichi said.
But earlier, senior opposition official David Coltart, who is part of Chamisa’s legal fight-back effort, had appealed for help with V11 data.
On Monday, Sibanda said the party had incomplete poll data, but he insisted that the MDC Alliance would still be able to prove Chamisa had won the presidential vote.
“You could do a lot of clever mathematics and have three scenarios, a scenario in which we give Mnangagwa all the 21%, as they intended to, and you get a different number in which we’re winning, a second scenario in which you use the 2013 rates of voting and how people’s attitude towards voting and you get a different number and that still gives you a win for president Chamisa. You then get a smaller but comfortable win in a scenario where you have president Mnangagwa taking 100% of the votes in those polling stations where our agents were not able to collect V11 forms. I think I’ve done justice to that question.”
He, however, said Chamisa would not only rely on the impending legal battle to get his way.
“We have not put all our eggs in one basket. The president has said the legal route is just but one of those things that he’s going to do. So whether that succeeds or not depends on all the other things that he will do,” Sibanda said.
“The courts in this country, president Chamisa has said repeatedly, there is a general understanding that the courts in this country are captured. And as a result of that, it would be naive, to a certain extent, although in this case, the evidence is far too glaring for anybody who wants to live beyond the next few months and be credible, to deny that the election was not won by the president declared.”