Zimbabwe vote: what are the fraud claims?

Arturo Kim
August 2, 2018

The commission said it would announce the results of Zimbabwe's presidential race, pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, only after all the votes have come in from across the country.

Demonstrators took to the streets, angry that the victor of Monday's vote still hadn't been announced and convinced that the vote has been rigged to benefit incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Tendai Biti, a candidate for opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has accused the ruling Zanu-PF regime of plotting to assassinate himself and Chamisa.

Today, Harare is quiet, with businesses shut and soldiers and police patrolling the streets while people wait for the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce the final results.

The result of the presidential vote is not yet known.

In his first public appearance since the vote on Monday, Chamisa urged his supporters to be calm and await "massive celebrations" for his victory. The government has said three people were killed.

A credible and peaceful vote was meant to end Zimbabwe's worldwide isolation and draw in foreign investment to revive the shattered economy.

Official results strengthened President Emmerson Mnangagwa's prospects of holding on to power in the key presidential vote, showing that ZANU-PF had easily won the most seats in the parliamentary ballot. Police said six people died when army troops opened fire on protesters the day before.

Police patrol outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices as opposition supporters gather, in Harare, Zimbabwe, on August 1, 2018.

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Anti-riot police stand guard at gate of Rainbow Towers where election results were announced.

Mnangagwa tweeted his condolences to the families of those killed a day earlier and affirmed his commitment to accountability, pledging to bring those responsible to justice through an "independent investigation".

The Commonwealth's observer mission said on Thursday Zimbabwe's security services used excessive force to break up protests in Harare over this week's presidential election.

Also speaking on VOA's Straight Talk Africa program, Den Moyo, chairman of the US branch of the Movement for Democratic Change, said Wednesday's developments and the questionable results that sparked the clashes, have taken Zimbabwe backwards.

It said it had observed several problems, including media bias, voter intimidation and mistrust in the electoral commission, adding that there was an "improved political climate, but un-level playing field and lack of trust".

The presidential vote is expected to be much closer than what we've seen in the one for seats in Parliament.

Mnangagwa's government, meanwhile, accused Chamisa and his supporters of inciting "violence" by already declaring he had won the election, the first after former leader Mugabe stepped down in November.

But the dispute over the conduct of the elections and the subsequent violence has punctured the euphoria over the army's removal of longtime strongman Robert Mugabe last November and the hope that Zimbabwe might be entering a new era of democracy after decades of political repression and economic ruin.

In a late-night press conference on Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu said further protests would not be tolerated. "They have to go, they have to go, the ZANU-PF regime", said a 23-year-old who gave his name only as Elliott.

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