Robert Mugabe wins Zimbabwe election – Again!
Vote: Robert Mugabe casting a a ballot in the election that will decide his fate, watched by his wife and daughter
President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party on Thursday claimed a landslide victory in Zimbabwe’s elections, but its rival, Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said there had been ”monumental fraud”.
Wednesday’s (local time) voting had been peaceful across the southern African nation, but the early claims from the competing parties heralded an acrimonious dispute over the outcome and raised fears of a repeat of violence that marred a 2008 election.
Releasing unofficial results early in Zimbabwe is illegal, and police had said on Wednesday (local time) they would arrest anybody who made premature claims about the result. Election authorities were due to announce results within five days.
But a senior source in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, who asked not to be named, said the outcome was already clear.
”We’ve taken this election. We’ve buried the MDC. We never had any doubt that we were going to win,” the source said.
Riot police took up positions outside the party’s headquarters in central Harare and other key locations in the capital. MDC offices appeared to be almost deserted.
An independent election monitor in Zimbabwe, who also could not be named for fear of arrest, said that early results were looking like a ”disaster” for Tsvangirai, who is making his third bid to unseat the 89-year-old Mugabe.
Responding to the ZANU-PF claim, a high-ranking source in Tsvangirai’s MDC party described the election as ”a monumental fraud”.
”Zimbabweans have been taken for a ride by ZANU-PF and Mugabe, we do not accept it,” the source, who asked not to be identified, said. The MDC was to hold an emergency meeting later on Thursday (local time).
Several political sources said key MDC members had lost their seats, even in the capital, Tsvangirai’s main support base since he burst onto the political scene 15 years ago. The head of an African Union observer mission said late on Wednesday the polls appeared at first glance to be ”peaceful, orderly and free and fair”, although the MDC had said the run-up to the vote was riddled with irregularities.
The nation’s leading domestic election monitoring agency cried foul over the poll, saying the credibility of the vote was ‘‘seriously compromised’’ by irregularities on polling day.
Officials from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said urban voters, who mainly favour Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, had been turned away from polling stations in their thousands. Conversely, only a small number had been prevented from voting in the countryside, where President Robert Mugabe has most support, ZESN officials told a news conference.
The United States had also expressed concern about the credibility of the vote. Many of the concerns centered on the voters’ roll, which was meant by law to be released in electronic form to all parties before the poll, but which has still not been made available.
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