News / Africa

Partial Results Give Zimbabwe's Mugabe Decisive Lead

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses a media conference at State house in Harare, July 30, 2013.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses a media conference at State house in Harare, July 30, 2013.
Anita Powell
The party of Zimbabwe’s longtime President Robert Mugabe took an early and decisive lead in national elections, according to partial official results. 

Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission announced Friday that the ZANU-PF party has won 137 seats, while the MDC party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has won 48.  One seat was won by an independent.

The figures left Mugabe's party just a few seats short of a two-thirds majority in the 210-seat House of Assembly. Full official results have not yet been released.  The commission has until to Monday to complete the vote counting.

But for many, the large margin and numerous reports of irregularities, intimidation and ballot-tampering cast heavy doubt over this vote.  Tsvangirai has called the election illegitimate, warning it could plunge the nation into a serious crisis. 

Zimbabwe’s opposition has repeatedly asserted that Wednesday’s elections were all but ruined by irregularities that included intimidation of opposition supporters, the busing in of pro-Mugabe voters to opposition districts and government manipulation of the voter roll.  

They also accuse the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of colluding with  Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to rig the vote.
 
On Thursday, Tsvangirai, who is challenging Mugabe for the third time, claimed the poll was “null and void.”  A statement from his Movement for Democratic Change party said they will seek an audit.
 
The opposition’s claims were echoed by the nation’s largest domestic observer mission, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which cited a litany of problems seen by its 7,000 observers.
 
The head of the African Union observer mission said Friday that the vote was "free, honest and credible."
 
The head of the Electoral Commissions Forum of the Southern African Development Community, however, noted some issues.  In recommendations to ZEC, mission leader Notemba Tjipueja indicated the vote was far from perfect.
 
“There is a need to clean up the voters’ roll so as to ensure accuracy and adherence to legal provisions governing elections, i.e. voters’ roll and inspection. Secondly, ZEC should enhance its poll readiness to ensure timely dispatching of election material to polling stations.  ZEC should intensify voter education on the legal changes introduced by the new constitution. The percentage of excess ballot papers printed should be reduced,” said Tjipueja.
 
One fact that has stirred extra suspicion is that ZANU-PF swept three areas that used to be opposition strongholds: Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland South.
 
Opposition politicians were incredulous when ZANU-PF’s win in those areas was reported. Exiled MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett, speaking in Johannesburg, said he believes the vote was “stolen in broad daylight.”
 
“The numbers just don’t add up, it’s absolutely physically impossible to have a swing when the country of Zimbabwe is going through the hardship that it is," added Bennett. "When the people of Zimbabwe and the energy that they showed in going into these elections, showed that there was an energy from suffering and from suffering from the Mugabe regime, there is absolutely no way that there was a genuine swing by the people’s will.”
 
Mugabe’s government banned most Western observers, but U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. is watching from afar.
 
"The people of Zimbabwe deserve the right to elect their leaders through peaceful, transparent, credible elections in an atmosphere that's free from violence, intimidation and fear of retribution," she said. "Now the critical test is whether voting tabulation is conducted in a credible manner and whether the outcome truly reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe. I would say that we commend the people of Zimbabwe for voting peacefully yesterday. ... A peaceful and orderly election day does not by itself guarantee a free and fair outcome. ... We will be watching the situation closely."
 
Over the past decade, Mugabe and his close allies have been slapped with stiff sanctions by the U.S. and other Western nations over allegations they rigged elections and committed major human rights abuses.
 
But Mugabe has remained confident throughout of victory in his fifth run for the presidency.  He has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980.

The 89-year-old president was pushed into a power-sharing government with Tsvangirai after the violent and disputed 2008 elections.

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Comments
     
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
August 03, 2013 6:42 AM
This is a disgrace and moncray to African democracy, Africa is not getting anywhere with that kind of behavior, Robert Mugabe must go, enough is really enough, the voice of the people must be heard. The people of Zimbabwe needs their freedom from Mugabe nonsense. Zimbabwe is not his father farm. Mugabe must go, There are lot of capable Zimbabweans that are able to lead their Country,

by: Steve from: Berkeley
August 02, 2013 1:18 PM
Thuggery and democracy don't mix. Mr Mugabe who was a storied leader turned to the knife, club and corrupt money to take and keep himself in power. Fortunately, old age is catching up with him and it will be surprising if he lasts through this latest farcical election propelled by his goons. There should be no changes made unless this latest election can be proven to be honest without the brutality and vote buying in the past. It is doubtful. Rewarding Mugabe and his coterie is not in the interests of democracy or justice.
He may have bought this election of used intimidation to get voters but it would be best to leave him in the position of he king who insisted on killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Victoria, BC, Canada
August 02, 2013 12:12 PM
It is what free elections are all about -- a wink here, a lost ballot there, and truckloads of cash everywhere to buy advertising, business and industry leaders, entertainers, professionals and laborers, birth citizens and naturalized citizens.
Of course I'm talking about the USA, Britain, the European Union, Russia, India, etc., except in some south American countries where so-called leftist-type leaders actually depended on charisma and culture to win -- and then be attacked by the West as phony elections.
As for Mugabe's landslide, well, he exercised many Western election tactics and bought the election. IT's also the way elections are today won in most AU countries.

by: Gary Jurgens
August 02, 2013 10:32 AM
Not surprised That man BoB can't lose this is Africa he got the power of life and death even it nobody voted for him he would have won! He will be in power till jesus come home !
In Response

by: farai from: south africa
August 02, 2013 2:45 PM
Mugabe was selected by God as he mentioned and the bible testify towards him, "every leader and kingship comes from God"

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