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.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    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"

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora