Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Zimbabwe electoral body says vote was fair; first results due from 3pm

Zimbabwe electoral body says vote was fair; first results due from 3pm

The announcement of the much awaited Zimbabwe elections is expected to start at 3pm local time.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that his ruling Zanu-PF party was receiving "extremely positive" data on the count, while the opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said his MDC party was "winning resoundingly".

The contenders in Zimbabwe's vote must accept the results and "should look at the larger picture of success - a successful election for Zimbabwe", he said.

Under Mugabe, elections were often marred by violence, harassment and irregularities.

"We are however seriously concerned about evidence of interference. there is a deliberate delay in announcing the results".

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, in red tie, shown en route to cast a vote Monday, is a lawyer and pastor who is Mnangagwa's main competitor.

She said she was confident there was no "cheating" and that the commission will respect the will of Zimbabweans: "We will not steal their choice of leaders".

However, both Mr Chamisa and sitting President Mnangagwa have made premature claims of victory today.

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Mugabe, wearing a dark suit and red tie, was greeted with cheers after casting his ballot but did not answer journalists' questions about who he voted for. Some people are quietly discussing unofficial results circulating on social media, while others openly argue that their political parties won Monday's election.

Vote counting at a polling station in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on Monday.

Mugabe, forced out under military pressure, had declared he would not vote for the ruling party he long controlled and called Chamisa the only viable candidate. It says 21 percent of forms were not posted at stations.

Full results are expected later this week.

"While investors remain sceptical over whether Mugabe's former right-hand man has indeed turned over a new leaf, Mnangagwa's charm offensive with Western governments and businesses has at least given him a credible lifeline at the poll", said Verisk Maplecrodt analyst Charles Laurie in a note.

According to reports, after reporting Chamisa to the police while sparing Mnangagwa, Zec came under heavy criticism from a cross-section of Zimbabweans, the worldwide press and the local media, as well as from observers for selectively applying the law.

"It is our view that the high voter turnout is indicative of sound voter education and publicity", said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairwoman Priscilla Chigumba at a media briefing in Harare. Voters at almost 11,000 polling stations cast ballots.

A voter in Harare, the capital, said Zimbabwe is anxious to hear the election results as soon as possible.

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