Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will have a comfortable head-start of at least 130 000 votes through early voting by security officials, sources claim.
They say this is the start of a plan to rig elections by stuffing ballot boxes in areas where the opposition has been violently removed. The Independent Foreign Service spoke to several sources in the armed forces yesterday about their special vote on Friday.
They say the spouses and children of members of the army, air force and police have been forced to cast ballots, and instructed to do so in favour of Mugabe. Armed forces members in Zimbabwe are usually asked to cast their votes ahead of the actual voting day.
For the June 27 run-off they were told to fill out the ballots in front of their station superiors - which the sources say flouts voting procedures.
Armed forces heads, with police chief Augustine Chihuri in the forefront, have publicly declared that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change will not be allowed to rule despite winning the March 29 election.
The MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of voting on March 29 with 48% of the votes, against Mugabe's 43%. The sources estimate that Mugabe could have between 130 000 and 150 000 votes before the June 27 poll.
It is the first step in a comprehensive plan to rig the elections, the sources claim. State-sponsored violence has forced thousands of Tsvangirai's supporters to flee their homes in rural and peri-urban constituencies.
They will not be able to vote elsewhere because of a requirement, being stringently enforced, that voters can cast their ballots only at polling stations where they are registered.
Source: Independent Foreign Service