Zimbabwe Election Update! Tension As Opposition Claims Victory
Opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has claimed victory in the country’s historic elections. Meanwhile the ruling government has threatened to jail leaders announcing results as the wait for official tallies dragged on.
A senior veteran of the party, Tendai Biti had earlier said the party would release its own results if the vote did not go in favour of Chamisa.
A threat by a top MDC official that the party would “announce our own results” apparently prompted Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu to warn that anyone doing so would “provoke the wrath of the law and risk being sent to jail”.
The home affairs minister during a media briefing in Harare said: “We have noted with concern the actions and conduct of some political party leaders… who are openly declaring that they will announce results irrespective of provisions of the law.
“It is an offence to announce poll results ahead of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)”, he added.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa remains positive about his prospects of victory in Zimbabwe’s first election since former leader Robert Mugabe was ousted in November after 37 years in power.
According to the ZEC, results of the presidential first round may not be known until Friday or even Saturday and would not be released until tallies were received from all 10,985 polling stations.
“We are nowhere near where we expected to be, so I can quite see us going into the fifth day which is allowed by law — but we are working flat-out,” ZEC chairwoman Priscilla Chigumba told a media briefing in Harare.
Attention will be shifted on Wednesday to the European Union’s electoral monitoring team which will deliver a much-anticipated report on the conduct of the polls and counting process. Their findings will be an important verdict on Mnangagwa, 75, who has staked his reputation on delivering credible polls since he took power last year.
“There are shortcomings that we have to check. We don’t know yet whether it was a pattern,” the EU’s chief observer Elmar Brok told AFP during voting Monday.
Earlier today, observers of the election process said the race between Mr Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF party, and Mr Chamisa’s MDC Alliance, is extremely tight. Both men are contesting for the first time and will need more than 50% of the vote to win outright without which a run-off election will be held on 8 September.