Tensions Mount as Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Declared Winner of Parliamentary Election

Casey GreeneAug 02, 2018

Robert Mugabe's old party Zanu PF have claimed victory in the first election held in Zimbabwe since the former dictator was pushed out of office a year ago.

The EU's assessment is critical in determining whether Zimbabwe can fix its image and attract the foreign investors needed for an economic revival.

The Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party is allegedly preparing a court application to force the election commission to release results from Monday's national ballot.

Priscilla Chigumba, who chairs the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, said on Tuesday it was moving more slowly than expected.

The BBC reports that the announcement on the presidential poll was not made because representatives of some of the 23 candidates had failed to turn up to verify the results.

Vote counting is still underway to determine the country's next president, a race many analysts predict 75-year-old Mnangagwa will win.

The commission said it would release vote totals "sometime" on Thursday, even though it said most of the results "are here with us".

Now, almost 48 hours after polls closed, voters still await an official answer about who won the country's presidential election - and suspicion of electoral wrongdoing has gathered intensity in the capital city's streets.

The first parliamentary results trickled in this morning and put Emmerson Mnangagwa in the lead to win the landmark election in Zimbabwe. We have won the popular vote. "We won the popular vote (and) will defend it", Chamisa wrote on Twitter.

A voter in Harare said Zimbabwe was eager to hear the election results as soon as possible.

But the mood quickly descended into anger and chaos as supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition declared they were being cheated in the election count. This development has been necessitated by the fact that the degree of disturbances of law and order have reached a magnitude where our regular police officers, as well as our reserve members, have been unable to cope with this situation.

At this crucial time, I call on everyone to desist from provocative declarations and statements.

Zimbabweans desperately hope the peaceful vote will lift them out of economic and political stagnation after decades of Mr Mugabe's rule, but the country is haunted by a history of electoral violence and manipulation that means trust is scarce.

Its population of 13 million is struggling amid shortages of foreign currency, unemployment above 80% and lack of foreign investment.

ZANU-PF would need 30 more seats to secure a two-thirds majority that would allow it to change the constitution.

The leader of the opposition, Nelson Chamisa, tweeted that he had "won". "They caused massive destruction of property which includes shops and we are now assessing the extent of damage", she said, warning that such acts will be met with the full wrath of the law.

The opposition has alleged irregularities, saying voting results were not posted outside one-fifth of polling stations as required by law.

Several hundred MDC supporters crowded around the party's headquarters Wednesday and started marching toward the electoral commission after Mr. Chamisa declared himself the victor. They vowed not to leave the streets until Zec addressed their issues.

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