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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Seen Far From Issuing Presidential Results


The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission late Thursday started issuing results of senate elections held five days earlier, but in small batches as it did earlier with house results leaving the presidential decision a seemingly distant prospect.

Following the same pattern as it did in releasing house results this week, the electoral panel announced the results of 10 our of 60 senate races after which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai had five senate seats and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party also had five senate seats.

The commission's announcement of house seats ended with ZANU-PF losing its parliamentary majority to the combined opposition after 28 years in power.

Earlier Thursday, the commission had dismayed poll watchers by issuing a statement saying unspecified logistical problems were holding up senate results.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from Harare.

Though the combined opposition formations of Morgan Tsvangirai and rival MDC chief Arthur Mutambara have claimed a majority in the house, effecting broad change could be difficult if Mr. Mugabe retains his grip on the presidency, according to Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, a civic group.

Madhuku said the MDC win could temper Mr. Mugabe’s authority, but if he continues as president he'll have a veto over legislation and can choose his own cabinet.

He told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Mutambara opposition formation now wields considerable power in the parliament.

From Midlands Province, there were reports of witch-hunts within ZANU-PF and of reprisals against the opposition, as correspondent Taurai Shava reported.

Though the election aftermath has generally been calm, there were violent incidents in eastern Manicaland Province. Less than 48 hours after voting ended the Chimanimani home of the MDC chairman for the area was torched.

Correspondent Loirdham Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...