HARARE, WASHINGTON DC —
Unofficial results indicate that Zanu PF is leading in all provinces except for Bulawayo and Harare and heading for a landslide win in the general election dismissed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a big farce.
Indications are that the former liberation party has gained massive votes in urban and rural areas which were widely regarded as strongholds of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Mr. Tsvangirai.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not yet started releasing the results but civic society organisations, independent monitors and international observers say President Robert Mugabe’s party will have a clean sweep in Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East.
“We are receiving reports that Zanu PF will almost have a landslide victory in the Midlands and Matabeleland North. The MDC-T appears to be stunned and not sure what to do next,” said one of the monitors.
Zimbabweans at a polling station Wednesday
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is yet to announce the official results.
Mr. Tsvangirai has dismissed the general election as a big farce and an illegitimate poll, accusing President Mugabe's Zanu PF party of massive rigging.
The premier told journalists in Harare that his party will not accept the outcome of the polls but did not indicate what he and his party will do next.
Mr. Tsvangirai warned that the country may slide back into social and economic doldrums following Wednesday's elections that Zanu PF maintains were free and fair.
Long voting queue in Bulawayo
Mr. Mugabe on Monday said those who would have lost and are disgruntled should seek redress in the courts if they are aggrieved.
African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma also called on aggrieved parties not to engage in street protests but to seek legal remedies.
Meanwhile, the Southern African Development Community electoral commission’s forum observer mission has endorsed Wednesday’s elections as free and fair although admitting that the voters’ roll used in the poll was in shambles.
Presenting the group’s preliminary report, head of mission Notemba Tjipueja said Zimbabweans had participated freely in the elections.
Asked why the group is saying the elections were credible given the alleged use of a disputed voters’ roll said to be in a shambolic state, Tjipueja said there was no such thing as a perfect voters’ roll.
He admitted the voters’ list needs attention. Despite endorsing the poll, the group which had 25 members expressed concern about the failure by the Registrar General to avail the voter’s roll on time for parties and candidate to scrutinise.
At the same time, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) says thousands of urban voters were systematically disenfranchised of their right to vote when they found out that their names were appearing in different wards, among other reasons.
Solomon Zwana, ZESN chairman, told a press conference that while the pre-election period was calm and peaceful there are many critical factors which undermined the credibility of the elections.
These include inadequate preparations, flawed voter registration and voters roll and limited voter education among others.
President Robert Mugabe voting in Harare's Highfield suburb Wednesday with his wife, Grace, and daughter Bona
Late Thursday afternoon, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo quickly dismissed Mr. Tsvangirai’s statements telling VOA’s Blessing Zulu his party is tired of the MDC-T leader’s complaints.
And political analyst Trevor Maisiri of the International Crisis Group said many questions remain unanswered over the election.
Commenting, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) director Okay Machisa said the lead-up to the elections was not conducive to a free and fair poll.
Nhlanhla Dube, spokesman of the MDC formation led by Professor Welshman Ncube, also said his party is still analyzing reports from various provinces.
“We are obviously getting flash lights of pictures of what is going on there. We obviously are waiting to get the final ZEC confirmed results before we can speak to the process and outcome of the just-ended polls,” said Dube.