Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Zimbabwe election: International calls for restraint

Zimbabwe election: International calls for restraint

The candidates' competing claims following the first elections since former president Mugabe was ousted in November raise the prospect of fraud allegations and a possible run-off vote on September 8.

European Union observers had earlier said they found an "improved political climate" in the elections but an "un-level playing field and lack of trust in the process".

Zimbabwe's ruling party has won a majority of seats in Parliament, the electoral commission announced Wednesday, as the country braced for the first official results of the presidential election.

"The more the presidential vote is delayed, the more it calls into question the population's confidence in the election process", said former Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the lead observer of a U.S. monitoring mission.

The MDC opposition alliance insist their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, beat the incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has announced 122 seats for Zanu-PF so far, and 53 for MDC Alliance, ZBC state media reported.

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Police fired teargas to disperse the rowdy crowds before the army intervened, with the Justice Minister later justifying the action the "people's army" is there to assist the police.

As expected, Chamisa did well with urban voters, his party winning 27 out of 28 parliamentary seats in the capital Harare and 11 out of 12 in Bulawayo.

Priscilla Chigumba, a judge who heads the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, said she was confident there had been no "cheating" in the first election without Mugabe on the ballot. The results are a gimmick to try and prepare Zimbabwe for a rigged election.

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

"The results show beyond reasonable doubt that we have won the election and that the next president of Zimbabwe is Nelson Chamisa", Biti told a press conference at the party's headquarters in Harare.

MDC-Alliance is led by Mr Nelson Chamisa who on several occasions posted messages on social media saying he would not accept any result in which he was not the victor.

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The clashes followed an announcement that the ZANU PF had obtained the critical two-thirds majority in parliament. The EU EOM also said that Zec should ensure that the votes can be traced back to the polling station.

"What they have done is intimidate people in the rural areas saying, "we will kill you if you vote MDC" and so on and then the worldwide observers say this election was free and fair".

It suggested there was a deliberate effort to delay announcing the results, reflecting deep suspicion about the panel presiding over the election. "We won the popular vote & will defend it!"

This is the first time ever that security forces have shot and killed civilians while election results are still being released by the electoral body.

Chamisa has said he is confident of victory, and has threatened in the lead-up to the polls he will not to accept a Zanu-PF victory.

The EU did not understand why the release of the presidential result was taking so long, he said.

Zimbabwe was once one of Africa's most promising economies but became descended into corruption, mismanagement and diplomatic isolation in the latter stages of Mugabe's administration.

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