Zimbabwe elections on 'un-level playing field', say EU observers

Arturo Kim
August 2, 2018

Opposition supporters clogged the streets of Zimbabwe's capital Wednesday as the country awaited the results of the first leadership election since the end of Robert Mugabe's strongman rule previous year.

The government has condemned the opposition for the protesters who threw rocks and set fires after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the ruling ZANU-PF party had won a parliamentary majority in the election Monday.

Three people died from confrontation between the army and MDC Alliance supporters demanding their candidate be declared victor.

Chamisa declared an early victory on Tuesday long before the counting had been completed - including in the rural regions that tend to overwhelmingly support the ruling party.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said of 210 parliamentary seats, 153 had been counted with Zanu-PF winning 110 and the MDC Alliance 41.

Harare was tense as people waited to find out the victor of the presidential election, and about 150 opposition supporters gathered outside the hotel where results are being released.

The observers had been invited by the ZANU-PF's leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa as part of his "guarantee" of a "free, fair and transparent election" and their verdict on the poll was mixed.

Members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party are claiming that the elections have been rigged.

Scores of his supporters who had been burning tyres in the streets attacked riot police near the electoral commission headquarters.

Observers say it could be a tight race, but the opposition has said it will protest if their candidate is defeated.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a live broadcast at State House in Harare, November 19, 2017.

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Mr Mnangagwa's Government has accused Mr Chamisa and his supporters of inciting violence by declaring he had won.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, 40, said the presidential results were fraudulent.

The turmoil started soon after opposition leader Nelson Chamisa claimed he had won the popular vote. We've more votes than ED (Emmerson Dambudzo).

Now, almost 48 hours after polls closed, voters still await an official answer about who won the country's presidential election - and suspicion of electoral wrongdoing has gathered intensity in the capital city's streets.

The electoral commission warned that final results of the presidential first round may not be known until Friday or even Saturday.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the country's largest group of nongovernmental organisations, said the July 30 election "falls short of a credible process".

"For Zimbabwe to embrace democracy and move on from the past, such practices must stop", the team's chief observer, Elmar Brok, said in a statement released Wednesday.

Presidential election results are expected anytime from later on Thursday.

"I believe that the parliamentary results were released first as a psychological ploy to dampen opposition expectations regarding the presidential vote", Prof.

The opposition alleged irregularities, saying results were not posted outside one-fifth of polling stations as required by law. Another opposition party, National Patriot Front (NPF) won 1 and an independent candidate also took one.

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